VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Hakone, Japan

VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Hakone, Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Guam

Welcome to virtual vacation video series where we can explore destinations from the comfort of our homes.

Join us we take a short virtual journey to Hakone in Japan.

The great thing about this destination is that you don’t have to drive long to reach there if you’re stationed in the Kanto-area bases. From Camp Zama and NAF Atsugi, it’s a short one-hour ride. Head there along the Hakone Turnpike for some fresh mountain air, seasonal flowers and crystal blue waters. The Mt. Daikanzan parking area on the top of turnpike is a great stop to make for a splendid view of majestic Mt. Fuji and the impressive Hakone Mountain Range.

Hakone is an onsen haven with great views, great art and many cultural points-of-interest, which makes the area a short, great getaway.

Some of the must-see spots in Hakone include:

•              Hakone Sekisho (checkpoint) - Hakone Sekisho checkpoint, close to Lake Ashinoko, is an elaborate collection of restored wooden gates and buildings built by the Edo Shogunate Government 400 years ago. Wax figures of samurai warriors demonstrate the inspections travelers were subjected to during the ruling of the Edo Shogunate. While there, be sure to climb up to the watchhouse on the hill, to appreciate the grounds and surrounding landscape of this picturesque area.

•              Hakone Jinja (Shinto Shrine) - As large red torii gates on Lake Ashinoko and a stone-paved stairway surrounded by numerous cedars lead up the hill to the shrine, Hakone Jinja is widely considered a Power Spot for luck and success in battles, business and competitions. Since its foundation in 757, samurai warriors repeatedly visited the shrine to wish for their luck on the battlefield throughout the feudal era.

Photo courtesy of 1-2-3RF

•              Owakudani (Great Boiling Valley) - At Owakudani Valley, you can enjoy a panoramic view of reddish volcanos with smoke billowing from the sulfur valleys. The recently re-opened observation path in the valley lets you take a close look at intense volcanic activity in the area. Head to the valley by a ropeway, as it will offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and Mt. Fuji.

While you're there, don't forget to sample “Kurotamago” black eggs steamed with volcanic gas at the Owakudai, as sampling one is believed to extend your life by 7 years.

I hope you enjoyed a look at Hakone through my travel photos and that it's inspired your next trip. Stay safe and get ready to travel with us in our next video. Thanks for watching!

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