Surrounded by jungles, towering mountains, and vast blue skies, Lake Ashinoko (or Ashi Lake) really resembles a picture of flawless natural beauty. Often reminded by the bright red torii gate with the majestic Mount Fuji in the background, Ashinoko Lake is in the heart of the Hakone Hot Springs, hence it becomes a spot-on emblem of this land nature.
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It’s easily accessible to the lake on dropping off the bus at Hakone-Yumoto Station, Ashinoko Lake is nestled amidst the tiny beautiful hot spring towns spreading around the large lake.
The cruise departs from the main port of Moto-Hakone or from the nearby town – Hakone-Machi, which takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to walk around the lake with the polyglot guide mastering three languages: English, Chinese, Japanese.
Other ways to discover the sceneries are the speedboats or swan-shaped which is scintillating for ¥ 1,000 rent charge at the harbor.
Hakone-Machi and Moto-Hakone are located on the south side of Lake Ashinoko. Other tours from the northern shore of the lake such as Togendai or Kojiri are also noteworthy.
Each of these small towns is sui generis. Hakone-Machi is famous as one of the oldest checkpoints in Japan. This ancient gate was a milestone on one of the most crucial trade routes of the Edo period. You will also find many traditional handicraft shops here.
The Hakone Shrine adjacent to Ashinoko Bus Station will take you to the breath-taking views of the majestic mountainous landscape of Hakone National Park filled with the wildness of nature.
A small academy connected to this place often have groups rehearsing different martial arts performances which makes us feel like stepping into an ancient film studio.
The famous on-the-water-surface torii gate is about 5 minutes walk away.
Things to know
Hakone Free Pass Ticket
Hakone Free Pass is a circulation card that allows you to use the Hakone Electric Railway, Cable Car and Odakyu Buses, and also includes discounted entrance tickets for several Hakone Tourist Attractions.
How to transfer
If you have too much time, take the Hakone Tozan train towards Gora from Odawara or Hakone-Yumoto to Ashinoko Lake, then transfer to the cable car or take the cable car towards Togendai on the north bank of the lake. From Togendai you can continue to sail to Moto-Hakone or Hakone-Machi. The Hakone Free Pass can be used.
From Odawara, there are many regular bus routes running through Hakone-Yumoto, Moto-Hakone, and Hakone-Machi to the south end. The Hakone Tozan bus also regularly runs from Odawara passing Hakone-Yumoto to Togendai on the north side of the lake.
Buses also run between Atami and Hakone-Machi and from Mishima Station to Hakone-Machi or Moto-Hakone. From Gotemba, there are two hourly bus trips between Gotemba and Togendai. Hakone Free Pass tickets are valid on these flights except those departing from Atami.
Are you looking for more Hakone travel guide and top things to do in Hakone: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Hakone travel blog — The Hakone travel guide & how to spend 2 days in Hakone for the first-timers.