An hour train ride west of Tokyo sits the mountainous area known as Hakone, an area known for its views of some of Japan’s most famous natural sites. Domestic and international tourists have been coming here for decades to gaze upon snowcapped Mt Fiji, Lake Ashi and the Great Boiling Valley. On a clear day, the best way to enjoy the sights is on the Hakone Ropeway, the second longest cable car in the world.
The 30-minute journey on the Swiss-made cable cars stops at three stations along the way; for the best photo op of Mt Fiji in the distance, hop of at Owakudani Station. Pack a swim suit for a dip in one of Japan’s famous onsen, volcanic-heated sulfuric hot springs. The entire ropeway extends 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) and hangs 427 feet (130 meters) above a large crater at its highest point.
Besides scenic views and hot springs, Hakone is known for its many forms of transportation. If you plan to ride more than just the Hakone Ropeway, buy yourself a Hakone Free Pass that gives you unlimited access to the ropeway, switchback train, funicular, mountain boat and the oddly decorated pirate ships that ferry passengers across Lake Ashi. Hakone can get very busy on weekends, so plan to come midweek if possible.