Hakone is a resort area in the mountains south of Tokyo, with views of Mt Fuji - if you're lucky (we were not). We spent two nights at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel, in a family room with tatami and futons. This ryokan also featured shared traditional baths - showers and both indoor and outdoor hot baths. Not co-ed thank God, as these are not "clothing optional" they are "total nudity required." Once you got over that (hey, are you going to see these people again? Other than at breakfast maybe?), and mastered soaping up and rising off while sitting on a low stool with a handheld shower - it was a great way to start or end the day.
Transportation is by bus, mostly, and the Hakone "free pass" is the way to do it. The cost includes all forms of transportation, and those include train, bus, cable car, ropeway and boat. We did the whole loop. Took the cable car (think funicular, really) to the ropeway, which took us to sulphuric vents at Owakudani.
The ropeway usually runs right down to Lake Ashi but that section was undergoing "infrastructure improvement" aka earthquake damage repair, so we were bussed down to the lake cruise. Which is on a pirate ship. With pirates. For no apparent reason.
And amongst the stunning scenery, "for no apparent reason" seems to be a theme here. Up the road are the Gotemba Premium Outlets. For no apparent reason. The Venetian Glass Museum has amazing outdoor glass displays, a gift shop with more Venetian glass than I ever saw in Venice, an imported Italian violinist playing afternoon mini- concerts, and Italian-inspired buildings. No idea why it's here.
There is also the Rene Lalique Museum (1500 piece collection of his art nouveau glass and jewelry); Hakone Open Air Museum featuring outdoor installations of Rodin, Henry Moore, Calder and many others, as well as an entire Picasso building; the Pulo Art Museum dedicated to European masters; and more. It's kind of like finding several high-end art museums in the middle of Pinckney Rec Area.