The area's main claim to fame, however (apart from the Fuji-viewing side of things) lies in the many onsen ryokan, traditional Japanese inns with hot spring baths. 

Facilities vary, prices are relatively high due to proximity to Tokyo, and if your accommodation doesn't have its own onsen, something nearby can be arranged. 

There's even a hot spring theme park (Hakone Kowakien Yunessun) at Hakone-machi, a Mediterranean-style public bath divided into two sections (with or without a bathing suit) with unique baths including a coffee bath, a wine bath and a cypress bath.

Getting around is made easier through the Hakone Free Pass, which delivers unlimited use of most forms of transport for two or three days as well as discounts at many hot springs, museums, restaurants, and other locations.

Free Passes are on sale at a variety of outlets, including Tokyo's Shinjuku Station, the stations at Odawara, Hakone-Yumoto, Gora, Sounzan and Togendai Station, and the ports at Moto-Hakone Port and Hakone-Machi. 

Japan Rail Pass holders are best off travelling to Odawara on a JR service and picking up the Free Pass there.

© Ian Hughes 2017