Visiting Japanese national parks is more than an exciting experience. Homes to flourishing wildlife and active volcanoes, breathtaking mountains and crystal-clear lakes in volcano cones, Japanese national parks charm and fascinate many visitors, driven to them from around the globe. Mountainous areas are especially attractive for explorers and hikers, who wish to subdue the highest peaks and get a closer insight into their majestic nature.
Hakone is an ideal destination for the recreational tourism in Japan. The volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, centered on the Lake Ashinoko, is the most popular attraction of Hakone for its numerous hot springs and its views of the Mount Fuji. The Great Boiling Valley is a volcanic hot spot, full of sulphurous springs. Decorated with a cartoon way, "pirate ships" sail across the Lake Ashinoko, which is a home place to the spectacular Hakone Shrine with torii gates in water. There are also open-air museums, volcanic hot springs and cable car rides around the lake. The Lake Ashinoko is considered one of the most photographed views in Japan.
The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park houses the tallest in Japan the Mountain Fuji, rising up to 12, 388 feet and five magnificent lakes, surrounding the Fuji birthplace. The Mount Fuji is officially open to hikers from July 1 to August 31. Lodging is available along the route in log cabins or huts. There are five trails, leading to the summit of the Mount Fuji. Each is a very long day hike with rest stops and huts along the way.
Here you can also see Hakone, the calmest volcano of the Honshu Island of 1438 m height. There were only two eruptions of Hakone in historic times and the last eruption of Hakone occurred in 950 BC. However, some activity is found around the volcano, which produces many hot springs in the area. The eruptions formed a spectacular lake Ashi that today lies between the south-western caldera wall and half a dozen of post-caldera lava domes.
Certainly, the trip to Hakone will not be complete without soaking in a Japanese hot spring and Hakone has many onsen ryokan, traditional Japanese inns with hot springs. Generally, all the area is noted for its wild beauty and extensive network of lakes, waterfalls, forests, ice caves and nearly two thousand species of Alpine plants. It is a great destination for camping, fishing, hiking and swimming in summer and skating and skiing in winter. The park is open year-round.
Hakone is best accessed from Odawara, the terminus of the Odakyu Odawara Line, seventy minutes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. From Odawara the Hakone-Tozan Line continues into various resort towns in Hakone. Nevertheless, your adventure is not to be finished with Hakone. The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is spreading further south to the Izu Hanto peninsula, including the Seven Isles of the Izu and Ogasawara Islands with many seaside resorts.
If you are looking for more adventurous sightseeing and climbing the Japanese volcanoes, take a trip to the resort town of Karuizawa, 140 km north-west from Tokyo. The most active volcano of the Honshu Island, Asama, is situated here. Asama is a complex volcano with a historical record of one hundred and twenty one eruptions, dating back more than one thousand and three hundred years. Climbing the most dangerous volcano in the area is an adventure for the most risky hiker.