Translated by Charis Messier
Hakone: Two Spots to Visit During Fall
Written by Natsumi Endo
Hakone is a popular tourist spot famous for its historic hot spring districts. This article will introduce you to two places worth seeing in the fall.
Have you ever been to Hakone before? Hakone is a popular tourist destination famous for its historic hot spring districts. The area has appealed to Japanese and foreign tourists since long ago. Hakone is a place where you can fully enjoy the beauty of Japan's nature throughout the year. This article will focus on Hakone during the fall and introduce you to the autumn foilage you can see there.
You may like to know that you can generally see the leaves change colors in Hakone from the end of October until the middle of November; although the time frame may vary depending on the year. Please keep this time frame in mind when you visit Hakone for the purpose of seeing the autumn colors.
Related Article: Hakone: Five Spots to Enjoy the Autum Leaves
The Premier Fall Spot at Hakone: Choanji Temple
Among all the great Hakone spots you can see autumn colors in, Choanji Temple (長安寺) is one of the places we particularly recommend.
Not only can you enjoy the fall colors at this incredibly unique location, you can also get to see a plethora of Buddhist stone statues known as Gohyaku-rakan.
You will be greeted by trees dyed fiery red and sunny yellow the moment you step into the temple grounds.
Hiking up the hill behind the premise, you will come across the main temple surround by vivid fall colors giving the impression you have stepped back several hundreds years into the past.
The sudden appearance of the distinctly different Gohyaku-rakan statues amid the fall colors will make you take a second look.
Gohyaku-rakan refers to the over 500 disciples who followed Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
Apparently, Choanji Temple is still creating the Gohyaku-rakan statues.
You can have a lot of fun looking at the distinctly different expressions on each of the Gohyaku-rakan statues.
When you find yourself visiting Hakone, take a trip over to Choanji Temple where you can see the beautiful fall colors and the many expressions of the Gohyaku-rakan.
Sengoku Plateau: Another Premier Spot to Enjoy Hakone in the Fall
Next, we will be introducing you to Sengoku Plateau, a spot you can get to with just a 15 minute bus ride from Choanji Temple.
You can see the Japanese pampas grass stretch into the sky all year long at Sengoku Plateau, but it is said that the most beautiful pampas grass to behold is the golden pampas that can only be found in the fall.
Let's take a look at the kind of scenery that spreads out across Sengoku Plateau in the fall.
The path through Sengoku Plateau has become a promenade where you can enjoy seeing pampas grass spread out as far as the eye can see.
The most picturesque time to come is when the grass is illuminated by the evening sun as it sways in the wind! You can enjoy seeing a type of pampas grass that only grows here.
The pampas grass is dyed golden in the fall, but almost all of the pampas grass fields are burned once every three years in March.
You might be shocked to hear the fields are burned, but controlled burning is one of the things done to help the pampas grass grow and to protect the plateau's scenery.
Many people are involved in the preservation of the pampas grass and keeping this scenery as beautiful as it is.
You can think about that as you gaze on the pampas grass illuminated by the sun.
How to Get to Hakone from Shinjuku
Using Odakyu Electric Railway's "Romancecar" is the most convenient way to travel from Shinjuku to Hakone.
Please look at this article for details on where tickets are sold, how to buy them, and their price:
Related Article: Three Ways to get to Hakone from Shinjuku Without Getting Lost
Address: 82 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Nearest Station: From Hakone-Yumoto Station, take the Hakone Tozan Line bus bound for Kojiri/Togen-dai and get off at Sengoku bus stop. It should take around 20 minutes to get there.
Religious Affliation: Buddhist
Address: Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Nearest Station: From Hakone-Yumoto Station, take the Hakone Tozan Line bus bound for Kojiri/Togen-dai and get off at Sengokuhara-kogen bus stop. It should take around 30 minutes to get there.