Attraction 1 Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0521, Japan Published on: 26-02-2016
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Hakone Checkpoint is special ?
Hakone Checkpoint is a historic checkpoint on a main transport route to and from Tokyo. Tokugawa Shogun placed 53 checkpoints on major roads across the nation to defend Tokyo during Edo period (17-19 century). Hakone Checkpoint was one of the largest and important among them. The Hakone Checkpoint was placed on the current location in 1619, during an early Edo period. One of the main roles of the Hakone Checkpoint was to control 'incoming guns and outgoing women', which means to prevent weapons from being brought into Tokyo and wives and children of feudal lords from fleeing from Tokyo. Today, you can experience the history from this well restored facility.
What to explore at Hakone Checkpoint?
There is a small museum called "Hakone Sekisho Shiryokan" where you can see various exhibits of Edo Period. It might be amazed to see a miniature of the parade of "Sankinkotai" which can be translated "a system under which feudal lords in the Edo period were required to spend every other year in residence in Edo.
If you are walking from the cruise ferry HAKONE machi port, back facing the lake Ashi, walk towards the left hand side of the main road. You will see a petrol station, it's just opposite that.
There is a self-service tearoom inside the grounds. They have dumplings, sweet bean azuki soup and rice cakes, ice cream, green tea, plum-flavored green tea, amazake (a sweet alcohol drink made from fermented rice), and so on. These snacks and the Check Point are good examples of what Japan was and is like. Please enjoy the taste of each.
How to get to Hakone Checkpoint?
55 minutes by bus to "Hakonemachi" from Odawara Station, 2 minutes on foot.
40 minutes by car from the Odawara-Nishi Interchange, Odawara-Atsugi Road.
50 minutes from the Tomei-Gotenba Interchange.
40 minutes from Mishima, Route 1
- Discovery of Japan in Samurai period
- Really good restoration and interesting
- Interesting piece of Edo history
- More interesting from the boat
- Good place to learn more Japan history
1 Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0521, Japan
Tips for you
The Hakone Checkpoint was much more informative place than we expected. We didn't know it is there until we saw it from the sightseeing boat on Lake Ashinoko. After getting off the boat at Hankonemachi Pier, we decided to go there. It was just about 5 minutes walk from the pier. We heard a lot about the Hakone Checkpoint when we learned Japanese histories in schools, but I have never thought we could see it at the sightseeing place. In fact, the reconstruction of Hakone Checkpoint was completed in 2007 after 3 years of work. So it seemed to be brand new. Hakone used to be an important checkpoint to control traffic along the Tokaido, the road which linked between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. We could see the gates, fence, housing for officers and foot soldiers, a prison chamber and a lookout tower at this ruin of Hakone Checkpoint. The lookout tower is located on the hillside, so we had to climb a steep stairs to reach there. But it is really worthwhile to be there when the weather is fine, because you can see Lake Ashinoko and Mt. Fuji beautifully. We could also have peek at the simple but regid life in Edo Period. There is a small museum called "Hakone Sekisho Shiryokan" where we could see various exhibits of Edo Period. It might be amazed to see a miniature of the parade of "Sankinkotai" which can be translated "a system under which feudal lords in the Edo period were required to spend every other year in residence in Edo." Due to this Sankinkotai, each feudal lord had to parade from his territory to Edo with his servants. Watching the miniature of the parade, we could make a better image of Samurai period. In this respect, it can be fruitful to visit this small museum. The Hakone Checkpoint in Edo Period played a role of the current Customs. They had guarded and inspected particularly guns (matchlocks) brought into Edo and women trying to leave from Edo. Hakone is very famous for the spa and resort area now, but it was the most important checkpoint historically.