Apart from golf the area has allot to entertain non-golfers and families alike. There are many hiking trails that offer Mt. Fuji views, rope-ways to view points with steaming volcanic rocks, 17 hot springs with many you can use for a daily fee, small Inns to full service 5 star resort properties, some with spa options. There's even a small snowboard park open during the winter months! Lake Ashinoko has boat (Full sized Sailing Ship designed) tours that are constantly leaving; fishing (Mostly Rainbow Trout), 11 museums, glass shops, 3-D movie theatre and more little tourist traps than need be mentioned! More than enough to keep everyone happy and hopefully creating a gap so you can slip away for that priceless round! *Most non-golf related information can be found in English at the Hakone town offices Tourist information site at www.hakone.or.jp/town
Recommended attractions include:
Hot springs (onsen)
Visiting a hot springs (Onsen in Japanese) in Hakone is a must and the area has been famous for its high quality Onsens for centuries. There are 17 (official) different sources of hot springs in the valley offering everything from wooden tubs fragrant with the scent of local Hinoki Japanese cedar, to outdoor baths where you can enjoy the natural landscape and nature. Immersing yourself in the therapeutic warmth and minerals is just the thing to relax your lower back muscles after that invigorating round. Daihakone Country Club offers a natural hot spring bath right in its club house and all the other area courses use heated natural water in their baths producing similar soothing effects.
Ashinoko (Lake Ashi)
Lake Ashi was formed over three thousand years ago by a volcanic activity in the area and is fed by natural spring water. Being a national park its surrounding forests are now protected to ensure the natural beauty of this lake remains unchanged. Ashinoko's most popular activity is the lake cruise where you can enjoy panoramic views of Mount Fuji while sailing on a life sized Pirate ship replicas "Kaizokusen". They travel between Togendai Harbor (in front of Togendai Station) and either Moto-hakone Harbor or Hakonemachi Harbor. If the weather is right you will get to see the image of Mt. Fuji reflected in the waters of the lake creating Hakone's iconic upside down Mt. Fuji. You can also rent various types of row boats, paddle boats or you can even try your luck fishing, as this is a stocked lake! (both rainbow and brown trout). *Note: "fishing license required". Hakone Kohan Golf Course, Hakone-en Golf Course, Hakone Yunohana Golf Course and Hakone Kurakake Golf Course all enjoy good views of the lake allowing you to enjoy golf while you sightsee!
Owakudani Valley (volcanic area)
One of the sightseeing highlights of Hakone that due to its raised altitude, offers great views of Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) and Mt. Fuji in nearby Gotemba (Shizuoka Prefecture). The Owakudani valley is an active volcanic area with steaming sulfurous fumes rising from bubbling pools of mud and rock. You can get there by car, but by far the most enjoyable way is riding the Hakone Ropeway. Don't forget to try some "Kuro-tamago" or Black Eggs; Regular eggs cooked by mother nature's acidic thermal mud. It is said that eating one egg will lengthen your life by 7 years! (not lower your score unfortunately!) You will also enjoy spectacular views of Fujiya Hotel Sengoku Golf Course, Daihakone Country Club, Hakone Country Club and the Hakone Kohan Golf Course next to lake Ashi. (listed from right to left as you look from the parking lot).
Home to many world class Museums this valley is one of the most culturally advanced in the world with a high concentration of fine art displays by many of the worlds most revered artists. During the Japanese bubble years many of the worlds treasures were bought and brought here where they remain for you to come and enjoy. 11 Museums in all including: the Pola Museum of Art, Hakone Open Air Museum, the Lalique Museum and much, much more..
Hakone Imperial Palace Garden
A detached retreat garden on the site of the Hakone Imperial villa is open to the public and has incredible views of both Lake Ashinoko and Mt. Fuji on clear days. Built by the Japanese Emperor in 1886 it was a part of his summer retreat and is officially noted by the Kanagawa Tourist Association as one of Kanagawa's best 50 scenic sights and is very close to Hakone-en Golf Course and Hakone Yunohana Golf Course in Moto-hakone.
Hakone Ropeway - Suspended Cable Car (Sengokuhara)
A must-try while you are here as the views of the area are spectacular from the elevated position. This aerial transportation route uses Gondolas and suspension cables. Hakone has two aerial cable routes: one travelling between the Sounzan Station to the Owakudani Station, and the other travelling between Owakudani Station and the Togendai Station right next to lake Ashi.
Hakone Check Point
This ancient checkpoint was originally built in 1619 and was set up along the Tokaido route between, now Tokyo, and the old capital of Japan Kyoto. Its purpose was to check for weapons and confirm the identity of travelers as well as to make sure the wives and families didn't try to leave the city. During that Edo period (1619 to 1869) the Shogun were the highest authority in Japan and occasionally they saw fit for those caught in violation of their laws to be beheaded. Just a 5-minute walk from Hakone-machi (town) through the many souvenir shops and you will feel the history of the area and see first hand where the beheadings took place. A small entrance fee is required.