Hakone (箱根町, Hakone-machi) is a town in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 April 2021[update], the town had an estimated population of 10,837 and a population density of 3000 persons per km². The total area of the town is 92.82 km2 (35.84 sq mi). The town is a popular tourist destination due to its many hot springs and views of Mount Fuji.
|First official recorded||5th century BC (official)|
|Town settled||October 29, 1892|
|• Mayor||Hiroyuki Katsumata (from November 2020)|
|• Total||92.82 km2 (35.84 sq mi)|
(April 1, 2021)
|• Density||120/km2 (300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|- Tree||Yamazakura (Prunus jamasakura)|
|- Flower||Hakonebara (Rosa microphylla hirtura)|
|Address||256 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 250-0398|
Hakone is located in the mountains in the far west of the prefecture, on the eastern side of Hakone Pass. Most of the town is within the borders of the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, centered on Lake Ashi.
Hakone has a Humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) characterized by warm summers and cool winters with light to no snowfall. The average annual temperature in Hakone is 13.3 °C. The average annual rainfall is 2221 mm with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 24.0 °C, and lowest in January, at around 2.9 °C.
Per Japanese census data, the population of Hakone has grown relatively steadily until the 1970s and is now slightly declining.
Hakone is the location of a noted Shinto shrine, the Hakone Gongen, which is mentioned in Heian period literature. During the Genpei War, Minamoto no Yoritomo prayed at this shrine for victory over his enemies, after his defeat at the Battle of Ishibashiyama, which was fought in neighboring Manazuru. As with the rest of Sagami Province, the area came under the control of the later Hōjō clan of Odawara during the Sengoku period. After the start of the Edo period, Hakone-juku was a post station on the Tōkaidō highway connecting Edo with Kyoto. It was also the site of a major barrier and official checkpoint on the route known as the Hakone Checkpoint (箱根関所, Hakone sekisho), which formed the border of the Kantō region. Under the Tokugawa shogunate, all travellers entering and leaving Edo along the Tōkaidō were stopped here by officials and their travel permits and baggage were examined to enforce Tokugawa laws that restricted the travel of women and weapons.
After the start of the Meiji Restoration, Hakone became a part of the short-lived Ashigara Prefecture before becoming part of Ashigarashimo District in Kanagawa prefecture in August 1876. Hakone attained town status in 1889. The imperial household established the summer Hakone Imperial Villa close to the lake. During the Meiji period, the area developed into a summer resort for the wealthy of Tokyo and the foreign settlement in Yokohama.
After merger with five neighboring towns and villages in September 1956, it reached its present boundaries.
Hakone has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral town council of 14 members. Hakone, together with neighboring Manazuru and Yugawara, contributes one member to the Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, the town is part of Kanagawa 16th district of the lower house of the Diet of Japan.
The economy of Hakone is strongly dominated by the tourist industry. Hakone is noted for its onsen hot spring resorts, which attract both Japanese and international visitors, due to its proximity to the greater Tokyo metropolis and to Mount Fuji. Sights include the volcanically active Ōwakudani geysers and Hakone Shrine on the shore of the lake, as well as the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands. In April the cherry blossoms (sakura) and in autumn the Miscanthus sinensis (susuki) are noted sights.
Major events include the annual JLPGA CAT Ladies Golf tournament and the Hakone Ekiden, a long distance collegiate foot race, held at the New Year, which runs from Tokyo to Hakone and back over two days, partly in commemoration of the couriers who ran the Tōkaidō road.
One famous hotel in Hakone is the historic Fujiya Hotel in Miyanoshita, which was patronized by noted literary figures, politicians and foreign dignitaries in the Meiji and Taishō and early Shōwa periods.
Hakone is also well-known among anime fans for being the main location in the manga and anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, in which it has been renamed Tokyo-3, and there are numerous attractions related to the franchise offered in the town. In 2017, Hakone was included as one of 88 anime pilgrimage sites for 2018 by the Anime Tourism Association. In 2020, new decorations have been introduced to the city in the anticipation of the release of the final film of the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy.
Hakone has three public elementary schools and one public middle schools operated by the town government. The town does not have a public high school. There are also two private elementary schools, one private middle school, and one private high school. (Kanrei Shirayuri Gakuen Junior/Senior High School). The private Seisa University also has a campus in Hakone.
Odawara and Mishima, the terminus of the Odakyū Odawara Line, 70 minutes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. From Odawara, the Hakone Tozan Line continues into various resort towns in Hakone. Odakyu also runs the Romancecar limited express between Shinjuku and Hakone-Yumoto. From Gōra, the terminus of Hakone Tozan Line, the Hakone Tozan Cable Car funicular goes to Sōunzan. Ōwakudani can be reached by Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan and the lake, while the lake is crisscrossed by cartoonishly decorated "pirate" ships for tourists. There is also Hakone Komagatake Ropeway, which goes to the top of Mount Komagatake. A popular "Hakone Free Pass", allowing unlimited use of most forms of transport for several days, is available. Hakone Free Pass can be bought at Shinjuku Station, Odawara Station, any other chief station along Odakyū Odawara Line, Hakone-Yumoto Station, Gōra Station, any other chief station along Hakone Tozan Line, Sōunzan Station, Tōgendai Station, Sengoku-Annaijo Bus Stop, Moto-Hakone Port, Hakone-Machi Port, and JR Gotemba Station Bus Information.
Hakone, hand-colored print 1860–1900
Torii of the shrine in Hakone, at Lake Ashi
Yumoto Onsen, Meiji era
The summer festival in Hakone includes a bonfire in the shape of the kanji 大 (dai) and fireworks
Lake Ashi pirate ship
Hakone Yumoto Spa area
Hakone Yosegi Zaiku can be described as inlaid wood artistry. No dyes or stains are used, rather the artisans choose from the many different types of trees in the area to create different colors and textures in their art. The Hakone Yosegi Zaiku are characterized by their intricate and complex geometric patterns made from bonding and cutting different types of wood.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hakone, Kanagawa.|
Hakone travel guide from Wikivoyage