Lake Ashinoko, or Lake Ashi as it is more commonly called, is an ancient crater lake at the bottom of Mount Hakone famous for its spectacular vistas of Mt. Fuji.
Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park in Hakone on the island of Honshu, the area is also known for its hot springs, spa resorts and pleasure cruises plus a number of nearby attractions that make the most of Hakone’s impressive volcanic landscape.
Cruising Lake Ashi in a sightseeing boat is the most popular way to experience the Lake and its surrounds. It takes approximately 30 minutes to cruise from one end of the water to the other and you can embark from the Lake’s southern shore (Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi) or from Togendai and Kojiri in the north. Other popular activities include hiking on the surrounding mountain trails or visiting the Hakone Detached Palace and Garden for the best views of the Lake and Mt. Fuji.
If you have more time you can stay in Hakone and explore some of its other attractions. They include:
Hakone Hot Springs: Hakone has several hot spring areas where you can stay in spa resorts or ryokan and take advantage of the private and/or public onsen.
Open Air Museum: This indoor and outdoor museum has a huge Picasso collection and features sculptures and other artworks spread throughout its expansive grounds.
Owakudani and Hakone Ropeway: The Hakone Ropeway is a cable car ride that runs from the shores of Lake Ashi past the sulphurous region of Owakudani to Sounzan. You can hike the short distance to Owakudani’s volcanic zone from the ropeway station to view its hot springs and bubbling pools.
Other sights in the area include the Hakone Shrine, Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Art Museum, Hakone Botanical Garden and Hakone Checkpoint.
Lake Ashi is just 62 miles (100km) from Tokyo and can be accessed directly via Odakyu Railways or Highway Bus or via JR trains to Odawara.