Set against Mt. Fuji, Hakone boasts a stunning countryside dotted with hot springs, and the famously beautiful Ashinoko Lake that Japanese have been visiting for centuries. Dating back to the eighth century when Hakone was mentioned as a place to bathe, to the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1600s when bathers would travel days on foot, to present day vacationers who can use Hakone's intricate transportation system, this town is the spot to come to relax. Almost every hotel throughout the town has its own hot spring, and many are open to non-guests.
If you want to add some history to the mix, visit the spectacular Hakone Open-Air Museum, set on a mountainside. This museum's modern sculptures have the best view in the area, overlooking the valleys that lead to the sea. The Old Hakone Checkpoint will give you a taste of what interrogations previous travelers had to endure in order to get to or from Tokyo. While on the side of the lake, the Hakone Shrine dates back 1,200 years and is marked by a red torii (gate).