Hakone is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, from right across Lake Ashi. It’s a breathtaking view on clear days. With gorgeous scenery and a plethora of things to do, from bathing in the natural hot springs to visiting open-air museums, you can experience so much here. A trip to Hakone will not only be a treat for your eyes, but also for your tongue, as there are a variety of delectable foods to indulge in while you take in the beauty of this rustic town. Check out our curated list to find out where to eat in Hakone, including those Hakone specialties you can’t miss!
One of the most historic spots in Hakone is Amazake-Chaya, a quaint little tea house that was established during the Edo period. In the olden days, many travelers passing through Hakone would stop at the tea house, and ever since then, Amazake-Chaya continues to serve that same tea. The mochi, though a tad on the pricier side, pairs amazingly with the tea, and is served in hefty portions that will leave you stuffed. When you visit, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to sit and enjoy the scenery of this historic teahouse.
2. Tamago Chaya
Kuro tamago is a Hakone specialty, and your trip would certainly not be complete without trying it. Translating to “black egg,” kuro tamago is made in the natural hot springs of Hakone, where the volcanic gases turn the egg’s shell smooth and inky-black, almost like a stone. The locals believe that eating these eggs can add seven years to your life span, so make sure to grab a bite while you’re there! The best place to get a taste of these eggs is Tamago Chaya, which is surrounded by natural hot springs and is always packed with customers eager to get a taste. Be sure to come early enough to snag one while you are in Hakone.
If you’re not looking for anything too fancy, check out Pannomimi, which serves great meals at affordable prices. Though it may not seem like much compared to other establishments in Hakone, this unassuming restaurant is a gem. Pan no Mimi translates to “bread ears,” referring to the crust of bread, which is not popular in Japan. However at Pannomimi, not only is the crust present, but it’s actually the star of their seafood gratin (seafood covered in creamy sauce, with half a loaf of bread that is smothered with cheese). If you’re in Hakone and are looking for a place to spend some downtime and get amazing food, then try out Pannomimi!
4. Tamura Ginkatsutei
One of the best places to eat in Hakone is Tamura Ginkatsutei, a tonkatsu restaurant that always has a line of customers outside. If you don’t mind the wait, make sure to get their famous tofu katsuni. The dish consists of tofu specially made in Hakone, stuffed with pork, and then deep-fried and simmered in their house broth. While you tuck into this signature dish, you can admire the architectural style of the restaurant. It’ll make you feel like you have been transported into a quaint Japanese household!
Yuba is a dish that is made from “tofu skin,” a byproduct of tofu. At Naokichi, you can order Yuba Donburi with yuba made from the waters of Hakone Ohiradai. These waters are known for their special healing properties. The dish is served in an earthenware pot, which gives the meal a rustic, one-of-a-kind feeling. Once you have finished your meal, you can go to the waiting area and enjoy a free foot bath. Now, that’s the kind of relaxation that Hakone is famous for!
Francisco is a student who is currently studying abroad in Japan. He enjoys walking around the streets of Tokyo and discovering great places to eat.