Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum

Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum

Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum
3.5
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
The Hakone Sekisho (Checkpoint) was one of the most important and famous Sekisho throughout Japan. The Sekisho officials carried out severe inspection of travelers especially women between 1619 and 1868. The Hakone Sekisho was perfectly restored in 2007.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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3.5
430 reviews
Excellent
59
Very good
184
Average
153
Poor
28
Terrible
6

dundeetravellermrshc
Dundee, UK2,990 contributions
Oct 2022 • Friends
Visited as part of our bus tour. Free entry, luvly place beautiful views, sadly not the best day weather wise for us. Great shops for gifts etc Worth a visit :)
Written October 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Josh the Travel Guy
Halifax, Canada235 contributions
Sep 2019 • Couples
Hakone checkpoint museum is one of the best ways to experience the history of this section of Japan. Located close to other tourist attractions, this mostly outdoor museum sits along the eastern shore of Lake Ashi.

At 500 JPY or $6.00 CDN, the admission fee is well worth the cost. Within the outdoor section of the museum, you’ll visit the reconstructed buildings that made up the checkpoint - a border control stop between the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. Here you will learn about the importance of this checkpoint, and why this location was chosen to become the most strict and regulated border crossing within the country.

Be sure to climb up the hill at the back (there are stairs) to get to the watch towers. Here you have a view of the museum, the lake, and on a nice day, Mount Fuji in the distance.

As you continue along the path, you’ll come to an indoor section of the museum where you can see models of the long processions of people marched from cities such of Kyoto to Tokyo as a display of power and wealth, and why Tokyo loved this so-called “display of power” as a defence tactic.

I would give yourself 1-2 hours to visit this location. We paired this with the boat tour of lake ashi and still had a lot of time remaining in our day.

The museum has information in Japanese and is self-guided. I recommend picking up an English pamphlet as it contains information about each station as well as a map.

It’s a fantastic stop to learn about some history and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys knowing the background of the area they are visiting.
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Trendonz
New Zealand82 contributions
Jul 2019 • Couples
The buildings are well set out and have figures in them capturing what life way back then was like. The pamphlet gives you some but not enough info about the Checkpoint and it’s purpose. The view from the top of the hill is great, although you can get it at the gardens down the road as well. If spending a day in Motohakone, I’d recommend it as the walk from the village is interesting as well.
Written July 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hpn
Southern California65 contributions
Nov 2011 • Couples
We visited the Hakone Checkpoint (Hakone Sekisho) in November 2011. We understand that this is one of the main attractions in Hakone. However, for reasons explained below, we didn’t enjoy this attraction much.

While in Hakone, we completed the Hakone Loop in a clockwise direction, starting from Hakone-Yumoto. We wanted to relax in a Hakone-Yumoto onsen at the end of the day, before returning to Tokyo. The Hakone Checkpoint was our second stop, after the Hakone Shrine.

Since it gets dark early in November, we didn’t have much daylight time to cover the entire Hakone Loop. In hindsight, we should have skipped the Hakone Checkpoint to make more time for the Hakone Open Air Museum.

When we got off the Hakone Tozan bus, we looked around, but didn’t see any sign pointing toward the Hakone Checkpoint. We asked a taxi driver for directions, by pointing at our map. He tried his best to help us, but we could only make out something about a gas station. We marched forward and indeed found a gas station. The Hakone Checkpoint was not far from it.

We chose the Hakone Checkpoint for its historical significance. The following is what we learned about this place from our research (unfortunately, not from our visit).

During the feudal Edo Period, Tokugawa shogun placed 53 checkpoints on major roads across the nation. One of the largest, the Hakone Checkpoint was placed along the Tokaido highway between Edo (current Tokyo) and Kyoto. It was built in 1619 to keep the feudal lords from rebelling against the shogun. No one could bring weapons into Edo. No woman or child could leave Edo. Thus, the shogun kept the feudal lords in check, since their wives and children were, in effect, hostages inside Edo.

After about 260 years in operation, the Hakone Checkpoint was demolished. Its reconstruction was completed in 2007. Supposedly true to its original form, the checkpoint includes gates, fence, housing for officers and foot soldiers, an outdoor toilet, a shooting range, a prison chamber, and a lookout tower.

As of November 2011, the entrance fee was 500 yen per person. The hours were from 9 to 5.

Here's the link to the official website for the Hakone Checkpoint in English: http://hakonesekisyo.jp/english/. It has a map of the checkpoint, as well as interesting descriptions of what's there. You should check out this website in advance of your visit.

It would have helped if we had a map of the place when we visited the Hakone Checkpoint. Upon paying the entrance fee, we didn’t get any brochure, map, or written information about this attraction. So, we wandered around, not knowing what was where.

For example, while there, we didn’t know that there is a small museum next to the checkpoint with exhibits relating to the checkpoint. The official website refers to it as the Hakone Sekisho Exhibition Hall. It’s not clear if there’s a separate entrance fee for this museum. When we walked behind the checkpoint, we came upon a small building. At the walkway entrance, there were 2 persons dressed in Halloween-like Ninja outfits. To us, they seemed like hawkers for a restaurant business. So, we didn’t enter. Upon looking at the map, we wonder if we had stumbled upon the Exhibition Hall without knowing it.

The brand-new look of the Hakone Checkpoint undermines its historical significance. White mannequins dressed in period outfits, which we saw in various buildings, fail to give the place a lively atmosphere.

Here and there, there are small signs in English, explaining the obvious, such as “dining room”, “kitchen”, or “office quarters”. There were no other explanations in English.

We wish there was more information in English, either through posted signs, in English pamphlets, or in audio guides, like those provided in the Imperial Palace tour.

Speakers are placed throughout the checkpoint to explain things in Japanese. While we didn’t enjoy our visit much, maybe the Japanese-speaking visitors did.

The best part of our visit was the Lookout Tower. From the ground, we could see people way up by the tower. We wanted to go up there. However, it took us a bit of wandering around to find the entrance to the path up to the tower. The lookout area gives a spectacular view of Lake Ashi and the entire checkpoint compound below (see attached photos).

If you have your heart set on visiting this place, gather your information from the checkpoint’s official website before you go. Then perhaps you’ll appreciate your visit more than we did.

By the way, there’s a large gift shop in a separate building before the checkpoint that is definitely worth a visit, if you decide to visit the Hakone Checkpoint.

To attract more English-speaking visitors, we suggest the following improvements to the Hakone Checkpoint management:

1. From the bus stop, install large and clear signs to help English-speaking tourists find the Hakone Checkpoint.
2. Provide English pamphlets with the same map from the official website, plus some historical background information.
3. Provide English audio guides with the same detail information from the official website.
4. Within the checkpoint, install clear signs in English to help tourists find the entrance to the walkway to the Lookout Tower.

Until some improvements are in place, we don't recommend this attraction to English-speaking tourists if, like us, you have only one day to visit Hakone and are pressed for time.
Written January 18, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kirkland77
Downingtown, PA153 contributions
Sep 2016 • Couples
This was a must see for me when my wife and I visited Hakone back in September. It is a short stop along the main attraction road long Lake Ashi. I loved the sense of history you got as you entered through the large gate and into the sekisho, recalling when it had been a major hub for travelers between Kyoto and Edo under the direct control of the Shogun. Recommended stop for those that love history. The museum is also very cool and examples the importance of the place.
Written October 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Machy_MSHRHGY
Chiyoda, Japan223 contributions
Mar 2015 • Family
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.
Written March 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nobuko_e
Montreal, Canada41 contributions
Jan 2019 • Family
Like so many touristic sites in Hakone, this place is convenient and interesting if you are staying at one of the Onsen Ryokans in the area, and looking for something to do. It is very touristy and may be busy with a lot of visitors, and may be lack the sense of authenticity, because it is what it is, but you can look around, go up the hill and take a look at the lake and the Sekisho landscape and gain a better understanding of the politics and history for a small admission fee.
Written January 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MadsDK
Odense, Denmark638 contributions
Sep 2018 • Couples
This place tells an interesting history. Build on the original sight it tells a good history of the Edo period. There is a little information available in English in the museum. There is a small entrance fee.

Tokugawa shogun placed 53 sekisho (facility for inspection) on major roads across the nation to defend Edo (current Tokyo).
Hakone Sekisho was one of the largest and was thought to be important among them.
Hakone Sekisho was placed on the current location in 1619, during an early period of Edo Era.
One of the main roles of sekisho was to control 'incoming guns and outgoing women', which means to prevent weapons from being
brought into Edo and wives and children of feudal lords from fleeing from Edo.
However, Hakone Sekisho did not inspect 'incoming guns', and severely inspected 'outgoing women'.
Sekisho, which operated for about 260 years during Edo Era, was dissolved in the next year of 1868, when the government changed.
Written October 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hanny W
Jakarta, Indonesia78 contributions
Nov 2017 • Friends
Definitely a must-see place if you happen to be in the area and love history! If you are hakone passholder, show your pass to the staff and get 10% discount of entry ticket.
The site is small, you have two opposite gates literally, once you pass the first one, you have 2 sides to explore.
What is great from this site is that there are numbered signpost to mark which part to look first. From horse stable, custom checkpoint counter to small prison and well, you won't get lost (if you do I'd be surprised).
I took a picture of me sitting inside the prison, they allow you to as long as you take off your shoes. Then, you can climb up the 69 stairs to check the watch guard post. Be sure you are healthy and fit tho, the stairs itself is well maintained and equipped with hand-rail so it's safe.
The view is amazing from above, you get the lake, the mountain and the surrounding area.
The site is also adjacent with various gift shops and eateries, so don't worry, you have plenty things to do after your visit to this checkpoint or while waiting to board the cruise.
It was a 45min well spent, I was happy that I made the visit.
Written January 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BluePointer
Ontario, Canada4,728 contributions
Apr 2017 • Couples
Coming off the boat from sailing Lake Ashi, it was only a few minutes walk from the Hakone-Machi boat pier to see the gate, checkpoint and higher level guard house that had been used during the feudal Edo Period between Tokyo and Kyoto. The checkpoint, built in 1618 and used until 1868 when the governments changed, has been totally renovated to look like it did in that time period with gates and fences and lookout tower. It was thought to be the largest and most important of the checkpoints of the 50+ that were built along this route. It also has a museum associated with it, but we viewed it from the outside only.

Instead, we walked the tree-lined trail between rows of pines that were hundreds of years old, perhaps the same trees that lords and peasants saw in feudal times. It is peaceful and serene, just awesome to look at those giant trees. It is the only vantage point that we could see the top of Mount Fuji, though it was never completely visible, even on a sunny day.
Written June 17, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Sekisho Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)