Lake Ashinoko 芦ノ湖
A caldera lake with a palace, picture-perfect views and pirate ships
Tucked away in the heart of Hakone is Ashinoko, a lake that formed in the caldera created after Mt. Hakone erupted 3,000 years ago. Famous for its impressive view of Mt. Fuji, which you can see on a clear day, Ashinoko is a must-see when visiting Hakone.
- Views of Mt Fuji — both the real thing and its reflection on the lake
- The magnificent Hakone Shrine
- The forest around the former Imperial summer palace
How to Get There
You can get to Ashinoko by direct train, by bullet train, or by regular train and then bus.
Take the Tokaido Shinkansen/JR line to Odawara Station. Transfer to a bus or take the Odakyu train line to Hakone Yumoto Station. Odakyu line from Shinjuku Station to Hakone Yumoto. A variety of trains run along this line, providing different levels of comfort and speed — Local, Express, and the beautiful Romance Cars. This entire trip is covered by the Hakone Free Pass. Buses connect Hakone-Yumoto with Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi on the southern shore of Ashinoko, and take approximately 35 minutes.
Go for a leisurely boat ride
Spanning eight kilometers and completely surrounded by mountains, Ashinoko is the perfect spot to go on a boat tour. There are half-hour cruises leaving from the ports at Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi and Togendai.
Go for a ride on one of the epic-looking pirate ships run by Hakone Sightseeing Boats, and you'll be treated to some amazing scenery. By stopping at each of the ports, you can also see the various sightseeing destinations available.
If you would rather explore the lake at a more leisurely pace, there are also swan paddle boats available for hire from each of the ports.
See the magnificent Hakone Shrine
One of the biggest destinations around Ashinoko is Hakone Shrine. The iconic red torii gate can be seen from boat tours, standing right on the lakeshore, but the rest of the shrine is hidden by forest. The main buildings of the shrine are painted a striking red.
Explore the former summer palace of the Imperial Family
Located between Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi on the southern shore of Ashinoko is the Hakone Detached Palace, which once served as the summer palace for the Japanese Imperial Family. Although all that remains of the palace itself is a small building with a beautiful park known as Onshi Hakone Park surrounding it, offering many walking trails with scenic views of the lake.