Attraction Moto-Hakone Guest House, Moto-Hakone 103, Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan Published on: 26-02-2016
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Why Hakone Stone‐paved Road is special ?
Hakone Stone‐paved Road is a part of the Old Tokaido (the original road connecting Kyoto and Edo). It is now maintained as a hiking course between Moto-Hakone and Hakone Yumoto. Some of the original stone pavement remains, and the best preserved section leads from Moto-Hakone to Hatajuku (75-100 minutes) via the Amazake Chaya, a tea house serving amazake (hot, sweet rice wine) and various Japanese style snacks.
A few steps past the Amazake Chaya stands the Tokaido Museum, a small museum which features life size reconstructions explaining the purpose of and life along the long road to Tokyo. Between Hatajuku and Hakone-Yumoto (90-120 minutes), the trail follows the road, which is neither particularly scenic nor pleasant to walk due to car traffic and the absence of a side walk for pedestrians.
What to explore at Hakone Stone‐paved Road?
After you walk along the rough stone path for 20 minutes or so (it’s a bit tough), you’ll see a sign for Otama-ga-ike. Although you have to detour away from the course, it is worth visiting. This beautiful pond has a sad story related to the Hakone Check Point. You can go down to the path and stand beside the pond.
If you choose the ascending course from Hatajuku or Hakone Yumoto, you’ll definitely need a break at Amazake-ja-ya. This is an old house with a thatched roof. You can have some tea, amazake (hot, sweet rice wine), and a few different kinds of rice cakes here. The inside of the house is quite dark and smoky from a sunken hearth. It has a high ceiling, and wide-open space. Next to the teahouse is a small museum, displaying items and scenes from Hakone’s old days.
When you see a big pair of heaped-up soil mounds flanking the path, you have reached Hatajuku, a place famous for yosegi (wooden mosaic work). At Yosegi-kaikan (寄木会館) the process for manufacturing wood mosaics is demonstrated. There are some shops along the street, and you can see and buy their beautiful wood products.
How to get to Hakone Stone‐paved Road?
Two Hakone Tozan buses per hour run on the bus line K along the Old Tokaido between Hakone-Yumoto and Moto-Hakone, stopping at Hatajuku (20 minutes, 390 yen from Yumoto) and the Amazake Chaya (25 minutes, 700 yen) along the way. In the early morning and in the evening, buses operate between Hakone-Yumoto and Hatajuku only. The Hakone Free Pass is valid on these buses.
- An atmospheric remnant of Edo period
- Quaint and nice place
- A great hidden gem in Hakone
- Great trekking and spectacular view
- Memorable trip with Old Tokaido
Moto-Hakone Guest House, Moto-Hakone 103, Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Tips for you
After we visited the Hakone Shrine, I wanted to take a walk on the stone paved road, since I read other reviews and sounded great. To find the trail as you are coming from the Shrine towards Moto-Hakone, turn left at the Tourist Office, walk to the petrol station and turn right. You'll see the entrance is sign-posted and starts with some woden stairs. Most of the trail markers are in Japanese only but a few mention the Amazake Chaya team house. We followed the road for a good 40 min and some parts were fairly difficult to negotiate, the stones uneven and slippery, the climb up and then down, but with a bit of care, it's manageable. The forest is great, it was so peaceful, birds singing and just so lovely being in the middle of the nature thinking of the people who built the road around year 630 during Edo era, as well as those who travelled on it. I was dreading having to go back the same way, when just before reaching the tea house we saw the K bus stop and timetable, which would have taken us back to Hakone-Yumoto Station. So, we carried on until we reached the tea house, had some snacks and took the bus back, there was a bus stop right in front of the tea house. It was a very worthwhile adventure, made even more enjoyable by the discovery that we did not have to go back the same route.