New Japanese Heritage Area Day Hike 30mins from Tokyo

Hakone Hachiri refers to the section of the Old Tokaido Pedestrian Expressway between Odawara and Mishima, via Hakone which covers about 32 km (20 miles).

Hiking Hakone Hachiri Ltd announced a new guided day hike for small groups, just 30 minutes from Tokyo Station, through the newly accredited Japanese Heritage Area.

Hakone Hachiri refers to the stretch of the Old Tokaido Pedestrian Expressway (which connects Tokyo to Kyoto) between Odawara (post #9) and Mishima (post #11), via Hakone (post #10). “ri” is the ancient Chinese unit of distance, equivalent to about 4 km (2.5 miles), and “hachi” means eight, so Hakone Hachiri covers about 32 km (20 miles). In feudal Japan, this stretch was a two-day trek over mountainous terrain, rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Fuji (weather permitting), Lake Ashinoko, and the Pacific Ocean.

Forester and local historian Tony Everittour guide, says “The Hakone Hachiri guided day hike involves about 12 km of walking in total for the day. Visitors enjoy walking through the wooded parts of the old Tokaido Highway dating back to the 5th century that have been preserved, while using local trains and buses to cross parts of the highway now covered by a modern road..”

Morning tea is at Amazake Chaya, an authentic original Japanese tea house under the management of the 13th generation, which has been serving its specialist Amazake (naturally sweetened non-alcoholic sake) to thirsty Tokaido travelers for centuries. Lunch is at Lake Ashinoko in the famous township of Hakone. The afternoon walk passes by the ruins of Yamanaka Castle, dating from the 16C, which offers a spectacular view of Fuji (weather permitting) and ends with a walk along the heritage area from Genbegawa World Water System to Mishima Station.

Everitt notes “looking to the near future and the post-COVID world, we expect there will be greater demand for healthy outdoor activities such as hiking”. Visitors take the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Odawara in the morning to start the tour and return from Mishima Station in Tokyo at the end of the tour in the evening, or can stay overnight in Mishima to enjoy more of the charms of the prefecture from Shizuoka the next day. A version of the tour involving less walking, 4 km (2.5 miles) in total for the day, is also available.

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