Nestled in the foothills of Hakone’s tallest mountains, this town is famous for its museums, beautiful gardens, hot springs and scenic railways.
Gora is a charming town set within the hillside beneath Mount Hakone and Mount Kamiyama. The town’s forested hills are dotted with excellent museums, picturesque gardens and tree-lined parks. Home of the changeover station for the Hakone-Tozan Railway and a breathtaking cable car, Gora has plenty to offer those stopping over or lingering a few days.
Explore Gora on foot and wind your way up the steep slope that rises behind Gora Station. A 5-minute walk will bring you to Gora Park (Gōra Kōen), a beautifully landscaped French-style garden. Wander around the garden to find an ornate fountain, a rose garden and two glasshouses. Visit the park’s Craft House to try glass blowing, ceramics or flower arranging and finish your trip with a cup of tea from the Hakuun-do Chaen teahouse.
A further 5-minute walk uphill will bring you to the Hakone Museum of Art, which displays a fascinating collection of ceramics from prehistory to the Edo Period. Stroll along winding paths in the museum’s lush moss garden, beneath the shade of maple trees. You can also visit the Japanese-style Sekirakuen Garden on weekends and in November, when the meticulously clipped trees turn auburn and red during fall. The garden is an excellent vantage point for looking out across the town.
If you’d prefer not to walk, all of these destinations are accessible via the Hakone-Tozan Cablecar, which begins its 10-minute journey to Sounzan from Gora Station. Within a short distance of Gora, you can also find the Hakone Open Air Museum, the Pola Museum of Art, the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum, the Little Prince Museum and the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands. These destinations are all accessible by bus from Gora Station.
Reach Gora via the Hakone-Tozan Railway, which winds through steep escarpment and lush forests from Hakone-Yumoto. The town can be reached within 3 hours from Tokyo by rail. Visit Gora in winter to see the snow-capped peaks of Mount Hakone and enjoy a steaming bath in a hot spring (onsen) while the snow falls. In spring and summer, you’ll see rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom throughout the mountainside.