Walk up a cedar-lined path dotted with lanterns to see Hakone’s most famous Shinto shrine, standing between the shores of Lake Ashi and the peak of Mount Hakone.
Hakone Shrine (Hakone Jinja) is an enchanting site in the dense forests of Moto-Hakone. Visit the famous Shinto shrine to experience its peaceful atmosphere, magnificent architecture and fascinating traditions. Admire the beautiful symmetrical structure and reflect quietly at the main hall. Explore the shrine’s relaxing forest surroundings.
You might see Hakone Shrine’s bright-red torii gates standing in the shallows of Lake Ashi from a boat or while taking a pleasant walk around the lake’s perimeter. The best view of the remarkable entryway can be seen from Onshihakone Park. On a clear day, this viewpoint aligns the torii gates with the towering peak of Mount Fuji in the distance. Wander up the lake’s eastern side to the breathtaking pathway lined with cedar trees and red-colored lanterns. Climb the stairs a short distance from the water’s edge to reach the path leading toward the shrine, dotted with more torii gates and surrounded by lush Japanese native forest.
The shrine sits amid tall trees and appears especially captivating when looming out of the mist. Admire the traditional architecture of the building, accentuated by red-and-gold detailing. You’ll see the main building’s entrance flanked by “komainu,” the shrine’s guardian stone lions. A rope-like “shimenawa” is strung over the main hall’s doorway, symbolizing the boundary to sacred space. Check out the “ema” plaques hanging either side of the doorway, where visitors have inscribed their wishes or hopes.
You might see some visitors washing their hands at the trough nearby. If you would like to join, fill a ladle with water and use it to rinse both hands before tipping the ladle forward, so that the remaining water rinses the handle. At the offering hall, you can throw a coin into the offering box. Two deep bows, two handclaps, a further bow and a prayer should follow this.
Visit the shrine quietly and respectfully. Be sure to remove your shoes before entering indoor areas. Photography is allowed outside of the shrine but it may be considered impolite to photograph indoor areas.
Hakone Shrine is located near the south shore of Lake Ashi, near Moto-Hakone. It is open daily and has no entry fee.