What to do in Moto-Hakone?
This area of Hakone is 40 minutes by bus from Hakone Yumoto. It is a beautiful area of large trees and lakeside. There are some interesting shops and good restaurants with lake views. Gongen (Shrine) is a famous site with it`s red torii gate, which is actually in Lake Ashi. It frequently appears in photographs in books on Japan. This shrine was founded in 757.
Hiking the Old Tokaido Road
You can hike the Old Tokaido road the famous road that stretched from Kyoto to Edo (the old name for Tokyo). You can hike the road from Moto-Hakone to Sukumogawa and it takes about 2 and a half hours.At the end of the hike in Sukumogawa you can catch a bus back to Yumoto. Not the whole road is the original from hundreds of years ago, some of it is asphalt unfortunately.
Other Things to See & Do
Chokoku no Mori Bijutsukan (Open Air Museum)
Even if you are not that interested in art, you should consider seeing this museum. The Picasso exhibit alone is worth the price of admission. I wish I had been the first to think of using a bicycle seat for art! Damn! It exhibits sculptures by Western artists including: Picasso, Arp, Rodin, Noguchi, Moore and Giacometti. There are also displays of Japanese paintings inside.
One Korean reader wrote of seeing UFOs at 3AM. My friend Atsuko and I too, saw a UFO in the afternoon of a bright sunny day near the shore of Lake Ashi. Something is definitely going on in this area, be it natural or alien, I do not know. I am willing to believe in the power of nature. I am also open to visitors from outer space. But suspect the former over the latter. That said, it is interesting to see! Atsuko and I were walking, and we weren`t even drunk! Honestly! What we saw that day, was the strangest thing I have ever seen in my 50 years on this planet! I wrote about it in How to teach English in Japan.com