If you’re visiting Tokyo and looking for an escape to the countryside, you cannot go past a train trip to Hakone, the hot spring resort town where my parents used to take us to spend a very short summer vacation every year. It takes only one and a half hours by train from Tokyo.
Early every Saturday afternoon we would make our way to the Pola Museum for a walk in the museum or in the forest garden. It was about a 40-minute walk and a great way to enjoy Hakone’s forest along the short path. The museum is also home to a number of works by Monet, Cézanne and Van Gogh. Highlights at the Pola Museum are Japanese artists’ paintings, sculptures and the collection of makeup and cosmetics tools.
Fujiya Hotel has an impressive history which led to it being heritage listed. It has long been a home for aristocrats, artists and writers. Now, it is one of the newest luxury hotels in Hakone. With heritage status comes a lot of responsibility to maintain the history of the property, and this has resulted in a beautiful restoration of the estate.
The Hakone Open-Air Museum
The Hakone Open-Air Museum brings to life all your expectations of what an open-air museum should be. The picturesque garden spreads out across the mountainous terrain and the panoramic views set the scene. If you’re looking for a museum suitable for couples, families or individuals, the Hakone Open-Air Museum is ideal to spend your holiday afternoon.
Ajiro hot spring from Atami
Another perfect hotspring city near Hakone is Ajiro, located three stops from Atami Station, a terminal on the line from Tokyo to Hakone. This city is as pretty as a postcard and is another great place from which to explore the region. While there aren’t as many attractions in comparison to the likes of Hakone and Atami, one of the charms of Ajiro is to take a hot spring while facing the ocean and to feel the breeze from the sea. If you transfer to Hakane at Atami Station from Tokyo, don’t miss the views from Ajiro Beach.