The organization of Cat Ladies golf tournament relies on the facilities available in Hakone such as parking lots as well as on the help of numerous local volunteers.
If you decide to travel here to watch the tournament, be sure to look around Hakone too. Here are a few sightseeing tips for this charming town.
Visit the following websites to get the latest information about volcanic activity and earthquakes in the Hakone area.
Owakudani is a place where volcanic activity dates back some 3,000 years. The ground spews out hot steam and sulphuric gas while hot springs bubble up through the surface, underlining the mystical essence of nature.
The surrounding area is full of historical sites, including the statue of the Enmei-Jizo bodhisattva, which is believed to have been created by an ancient Buddhist monk named Kobo Daishi. There is also a wide variety of facilities such as the Owakudani Tourist Center (or Kurotamago Center). Be sure to try the famous black eggs (called "kurotamago" in Japanese).
The shells of these boiled eggs are actually black, which is the result of a phenomenon that occurs when iron sulfide, a substance typically found in hot springs, sticks to the shell surface. Some believe that if you eat just one egg, you will live seven years longer, which is why many visitors buy these black eggs as snacks or souvenirs.
There is a line of cedar trees that stretches along the old Hakone road for about 500 meters between Motohakone and Onshi-Hakone Park. According to historical sources, the trees were planted by Masatsuna Matsudaira, the lord of Kawagoe Castle, following an order issued by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1618.
There are more than 400 cedars, and they are almost 400 years old. One of them is known as the "Scratching Cedar." Legend has it that travelers without a traveling permit held on to this tree and scratched it nervously because they were afraid of getting in trouble at the next checkpoint. There used to be even more cedars planted here before they were cut down in the Meiji period. The trees are also mentioned in a classic song titled "Hakone-Hachiri" by Rentaro Taki, a famous Japanese composer, as "a cedar path that is dark even in daylight." In its current state, the road is protected as a national historic site.
Tucked between a mountain and a lake, the Hakone Checkpoint served as an important strategic location on the traffic route. It was one of the biggest among the 53 checkpoints set up by the Tokugawa Shogunate across the country. This was a place of essential importance due to its proximity to Edo, the capital of Japan in that period.
In the Taisho period, the checkpoint was designated as a special national historic site named "Hakone No Sekiato" ("Hakone Checkpoint Remains"). In 1965, the guardhouse building was restored. Furthermore, after the discovery of historical documents in 1983, an excavation examination of the site began, and the restoration project was fully completed in 2007.
At the neighboring Hakone Checkpoint Exhibition Hall, visitors can see lifelike figures depicting inspection officers who used to work at the checkpoint. The Hall also houses an exhibition of about 1,000 historical documents, including checkpoint permits.