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Hiking the Hakone Hachiri

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Hiking the Hakone Hachiri


Spend a day walking and sightseeing along a preserved section of the old Tokaido highway

Tourism Shizuoka Japan



To gain insight into what it was like to travel on foot between Tokyo and Kyoto during feudal times (between the late twelfth and mid-nineteenth centuries), a guided walking and bus tour along the Hakone Hachiri is recommended. The day tour, which starts in Odawara on the coast of Kanagawa, takes in some of the sights of the resort area of Hakone and finishes up in Mishima in Shizuoka. Mishima featured as a setting in James Clavell’s epic novel Shogun.
In 2018, the Hakone Hachiri was declared a Japan Heritage Area. Hachi means eight and ri is an old Japanese unit of distance equivalent to about 4 km (2.5 miles). The Hakone Hachiri therefore covers a 32-km (20-mile) stretch of the old Tokaido highway between the post stations of Odawara and Mishima. For five centuries, the Tokaido highway linked Japan’s Imperial capital of Kyoto with Edo (now Tokyo), the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. During feudal times, most travelers along the Tokaido were on foot, horses or palanquins being a luxury for the elite only.
The tour starts with transportation by local train, then bus to Amazake Chaya, one of the few remaining of the many traditional teahouses that once lined the Tokaido. Here, you can enjoy a cup of the warm non-alcoholic sweet rice drink amazake before starting the hike along the stone-paved Tokaido to the shores of Lake Ashino, where there is a 1-km-long avenue lined by towering 400-year-old Japanese cedars. Following lunch and another bus ride, there is a hike along a 5-km section of the Tokaido through the forest to the ruins of Yamanaka Castle. Weather permitting, there may be good views of Mt. Fuji along the way. Before finishing the tour at Mishima Station, sightseers have the chance to explore the Genbegawa World Heritage Water Area, a beautiful stream originally fed by springwater from Mt. Fuji.


How to get there

Take the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station (30 minutes). (Shinkansen bullet train fare is not included in the tour price, but can be covered by a valid JR Rail Pass.)


1-1-1 Shiroyama, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa-ken


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