Enjoy Hakone’s Cherry Blossoms! A Recommended Itinerary From Lake Ashi To Gora
The cherry blossoms in Hakone reach their peak from around the end of March until early April. In this article, we’ll be introducing a recommended itinerary for those who wish to fully enjoy the sakura blossoms during the prime viewing period!
1. Hakone-Yumoto Station
First of all, let’s enjoy the cherry blossoms at Yumotobashi.
(Best viewing time: from the last week of March until the first week of April)
9:00 - After arriving at Hakone-Yumoto Station, the first place to visit is Yumotobashi, which is nearby the popular soba shop, Hatsuhana.
Hakone-Yumoto Station → Yumotobashi
On both banks of the river, elegant cherry blossoms come into bloom. The sight of fallen cherry blossom petals gently floating on the surface of the flowing river is a truly special experience.
Yumoto Honpo Chimoto
We recommend buying some snacks at Yumochi Honpo Chimoto, a shop near Yumotobashi specializing in Japanese sweets, then taking them along with you as you enjoy looking at the cherry blossoms.
After an early lunch, let's go to Onshi Hakone Park, whose beauty rivals the scenery and cherry blossoms of Hakone.
11:00 - At Hakone-Yumoto Station we’ll board a Hakone Tozan bus. When we arrive at Hakonemachi-ko, let’s avoid the crowds by having an early lunch at a restaurant called Hotoriya. After filling up on a tasty lunch, head for Onshi Hakone Park, a place that's just as beautiful as the scenery and cherry blossoms in Hakone.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), Hakone flourished as a shukubamachi (*1) where many daimyo (feudal lords who owned large plots of land) came looking for accommodation. The HOTORIYA has adopted both the history of and the present-day essence of Hakone. At cafe KOMON on the second floor, let’s enjoy an early meal while gazing out at the stunning view of Lake Ashi and Mt.Fuji.
The popular menu has items that are guaranteed to satisfy your appetite, including the HOTORIYA special pancake (1,020 yen excluding tax), and the Pasta Plate with Quiche (1,560 yen excluding tax), which is made with sakura shrimp. On the first floor the feeling of a shukubamachi has been recreated by featuring a cluster of long standing souvenir shops.
*1 Shukubamachi (post station): during the Edo period, travelers along the major roads stopped for accommodation and refreshment at the post stations called shukubamachi.
Onshi Hakone Park
At Onshi Hakone Park, spring makes its official appearance in the middle of April when the Mamezakura cherry blossoms start to bloom. The park, which spreads out around the former site of Hakone Rikyu Palace, offers a commanding view of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji. Along with the Mamezakura cherry blossoms, sakura also bloom inside the park near the Kohantembokan building and the Yamagamimon Gate.
During this time of the year, visitors can get a magnificent view that includes both Mount Komagatake and the blooming cherry blossoms. Hakone’s panoramic natural scenery further enhances the beauty of these blossoms. In addition, during the month of May, there are azaleas that bloom along Chuo Enro, a road in the park, fresh green foliage near Kohantembokan, and at Fujidana-Hiroba, wisterias (fuji) in full bloom.
A refreshing boat ride in the spring! Go across Lake Ashi on the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise Ship.
13:00 - After taking a walk around the park, you can go back to Hakonemachi-ko and board the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise ship, which is bound for Togendai.
Hakone Sightseeing Cruise
The view of Lake Ashi’s natural surroundings in the spring from the deck of the ship and the breeze coming off the surface of the lake will add an exhilarating feeling to your trip.
The ship features a first-class cabin (extra charges apply) that will make your travel experience all the more comfortable and refined, as well as a 3D artwork which is worth taking a picture of for sharing on social media. These will both raise the excitement of your trip.
Somewhat different from cherry blossoms. Do not miss the scenery of Owakudani.
14:00 - Though spending all your time admiring the cherry blossoms can be fun, we think that since you’ve come all the way to Hakone, Owakudani is also a place worth visiting. Somewhat different from the colorful blossoms, Owakudani boats the atmosphere of a place with volcanic activity, which has been described as a kind of “hell”.
Togendai → Owakudani
To go from Togendai to Owakudani, we recommend taking the Hakone Ropeway. From mid-air you can enjoy magnificent views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi.
A favorite pastime here is eating the local specialty called kuro tamago (black eggs). HAKONE GEOMUSEUM, where visitors can learn about the volcano history of Hakone and its attractive features, is a facility that is popular with children. If you get hungry, we also recommend tea time at the Owakudani-eki Shokudo.
With the great Owakudani scenery in the background, be sure to take a photo to remember your visit by. Watching the volcanic fumes rising up from the Owakudani crater is a powerful experience.
Owakudani → Sounzan
After thoroughly enjoying Owakudani, take the Hakone Ropeway and head for Sounzan.
5. Hakone Gora Park
Fully enjoy ten varieties of cherry blossoms that blanket the entire park.
15:30 - After enjoying the mid-air adventure aboard the Hakone Ropeway, make your way towards Hakone Gora Park. Within the park you can admire more than ten different varieties of cherry blossoms.
Hakone Gora Park (Best viewing time: approximately the first ten days of April)
This is a park known as a famous flower spot, where a variety of flowers bloom throughout the year. From early April the entire garden gets blanketed with the colors of the steadily blooming cherry blossoms. More than ten different varieties of cherry blossoms adorn the garden, including Somei Yoshino (Yoshino Cherry), Shidarezakura (Weeping Cherry), Kawazuzakura, and Kohiganzakura, not to mention the Yae Yamazakura, a rare variety with only a few trees in the Hakone area.
Hakone Gora Park Craft House
The inside of the park isn’t just all cherry blossoms. There’s also Hakone Gora Park Craft House, which offers many hands-on activities including glass blowing, tombodama glass beads making, and pottery classes.
During springtime, visitors can take part in a workshop of making an original glass decorated with different colors to represent the cherry blossoms. So how about ushering in the new spring season at your dining table with a cherry blossom-colored glass mug?
17:00 - Before boarding the Romance Car for the return trip back, we recommend buying a souvenir at Hakone no Ichi.
Hakone Tozan Meisan-ten Yumoto shop (Hakone-no-ichi Shop)
During this time of the year (February, March), various Japanese sweets modeled after the cherry blossoms line the shop shelves of Hakone no Ichi. With the beautiful sight of the Hakone cherry blossoms still lingering fresh in your mind, how about choosing some of these delectable sweets?
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