#4189

Only 35 minutes from Tokyo and 15 minutes from Hakone! - Experience historical Japan!

Take a walk around Odawara Castle and its town

Odawara is easy to access from the heart of hakone-town (15 minutes from Hakoneyumoto station) and even from Tokyo station, you can get there in 35 minutes by taking Shinkansen Kodama. I highly recommend to stop by at Odawara and check out the castle when you visit Hakone- you will learn the rich history of the Japanese culture. It’s worth a visit.

Castles are called “shiro” in Japanese, which are one of the best-known traditional architecture forms. Odawara Castle is the closest castle from Tokyo station and visitors can go into its castle tower (tenshukaku). The original castle was said to have been built in 15th century and Hōjō clan improved and expanded on the fortifications of Odawara Castle as the center of their domain for about 100 years. Since the castle was destroyed over the years during the Sengoku (Warring States) period, it was reconstructed in its present form on a considerably reduced scale. It is located within 10 minute walk from Odawara station, East exist. There are two attractions you should not miss at Odawara Castle.

First attraction is Tenshukaku, which you can enter for 410 JP yen. There are exhibits of Japanese old katana, swords and armors of those days in the castle tower and they are inspiring. On the top of the castle, you can go out onto the verandah to enjoy a bird eye view of Odawara city including rich greenery and blue ocean. You can feel quite peaceful and joyful there.

Another attraction is a store renting samurai, ninja and kimono costumes. You can take a lot of photos with Odawara Castle in the background. The store is within the Ninja house in front of the castle, called Odawara Information Center. You can pick one out of three costumes and try them on for 300 yen.

The atmosphere of the castle changes every season. You can enjoy ume (Japanese apricot) tress in February and Japanese national flower, Sakura from late March to early April. You will see white, pink and red sakura surrounding Odawara Castle and it is very gorgeous. From June to early July, it will be a season for colorful hydrangea and the place is lit up in the night. In November, chrysanthemum and red leaves set up the castle. You can enjoy various version of the castle throughout the year!

Enjoy Odawara Local Foods and Experience Local Handicraft within Odawara Station!

Restaurant “Uokuni” is the best place to eat local-sourced fresh seafood near Odawara station. It is located within the underground shopping area “HaRuNe”.

My recomendation is their yummy Kaisen-don! The owner of Uokumi, who has been examining fresh local fish at Odawara fish market for 35 years, chooses best fish for their Kaisen-don every morning himself. I bet you will be impressed with a variety of their delicious and fresh seafood! Don’t miss the opportunity.

Within HaRuNe shopping area, there is a local handicraft shop called “Hikiyose”. Yosegi-Zaiku is a traditional Japanese work of art, a mosaic woodwork usually applied to small handicrafts such as trays, boxes and chests and the Hakone-Odawara region is noted for this special technique. Their wooden tableware products are called Hikiyose. They are light yet robust and you can feel the warmth of the wood.

When you walk around HaRuNe, please note there is a counter where you can check our baggage for 500-800 yen. It is very convenient when you have a big baggage.

Seikantei’s Japanese Garden – Free of charge and open to everyone!

Seikantei is a Japanese traditional house, which is registered as tangible cultural property. (Did you know Tokyo tower and University of Tokyo are also registered tangible cultural properties?)

The construction style is called sukiya-zukuri. Sukiya-zukuri is not too formal, more of a free and playful type of construction like a tea ceremony room. When you sit on their tatami mat and relax, you will feel the calm Japanese house atmosphere.

Seikantei is located very close to Odawara Castle, probably around 8-minute walk or so. Even from Odawara Station, it is within 15 minute walk distance. When you go upstairs, the view from second floor is magnificent. You can get a full view of the ocean and mountains from there. You can also use the cafe part and enjoy Japanese green tea and anmitsu!! Anmitsu is a kind of Japanese confectionery, which is mitsumame dessert (boiled beans, cubes of agar gelatin, and other delicacies with molasses poured on) covered with bean jam. At Seikantei, you can enjoy the gorgeous one covered with green tea ice cream.

The house was build and owned by Marquis Nagashige Kuroda since 1906. You can stay and relax there for about an hour or so including a lovely tea time.

<Day Tour Plan Example>

Here is the day tour plan example in order to fully enjoy 3 spots introduced in this article. I hope this helps.

Plan to stop by at Odawara on your way to Hakone
10:00 Depart Tokyo station
11:30 Arrive at Odawara station
11:40 Leave your baggage, Lunch and take a walk in the underground shopping area, HaRuNe
12:40 Depart Odawara station
12:50 Arrive at Odawara Castle, Enjoy costumes and go up to the Tenshukaku
14:20 Leave Odawara Castle for Seikantei
14:28 Arrive at Seikantei, take a walk and café time with sweets
15:20 Leave Seikantei and move to Odawara station
15:35 Arrive at Odawara station and go to Hakone (Hakone Tozan line 14 minutes)

Plan to stop by at Odawara on your way back from Hakone to Tokyo area
11:00 Check out your hotel in Hakone
11:15 Depart Hakoneyumoto station (Hakone Tozan line 14 minutes)
11:30 Arrive at Odawara station
11:40 Check your baggage, lunch and enjoy HaRuNe shopping area
12:40 Leave Odawara station
12:50 Arrive at Odawara Castle, enjoy historical costumes and tenshukaku
14:20 Leave Odawara Castle for Seikantei
14:28 Arrive at Seikantei and enjoy their historical building/garden, café time
15:20 Leave Seikantei for Odawara station
15:35 Arrive at Odawara station and head toward Tokyo

Transportation between Tokyo station and Odawara station: There are two options, local train or Shinkansen.
Option 1: Use JR Tokaido Honsen local train bound for Odawara, 1 hour 24 minutes, 1,490 yen one-way
Option 2:
Use Shinkansen KODAMA, 35 minutes, 3,220 yen one-way

by ZEROIN -INTERNSHIP

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