Old Hakone Highway

Walking in Hakone

The Old Hakone Hwy is a rare, preserved section of the Tōkaidō, the feudal-era road that connected Tokyo (then called Edo) to Kyoto. It connects Moto-Hakone with the small settlement of Hatajuku (畑宿), a 4km (90-minute) walk over cobbles worn smooth from centuries of foot traffic (the shogun had banned the use of wheels). Unlike most of Hakone, this historic, wooded path is usually uncrowded.

The nearest bus stop is Hakone-jinja-iriguchi (箱根神社入り口), one stop before Moto-Hakone; from the bus stop, head up the small road (past the temple on the right) a few hundred metres to the wooden sign that marks the entrance to the trail. The route, which mostly runs gently downhill, is generally well-marked in English; however, there are some tricky parts where the trail meets up with the road, and you’ll have to keep a keen eye out for signs. One note of caution: the cobbles, which are uneven in places, can get very slippery; it’s good to have shoes with some traction and avoid walking during or the day after rain.

About 30 minutes' in, the path passes behind the teahouse, Amazake-chaya. Hatajuku is known for its marquetry craftsmanship and has a few shops, including Hatajuku Yosegi Kaikan. Hakone Kyū-kaidō line buses return here to Hakone-Yumoto (¥400; 25 minutes; every 30 minutes).