Hakone is a popular destination for Tokyoites because it is close to Tokyo and you can enjoy some unique natural areas. You can enjoy healing hot springs, seeing an active volcano, beautiful grasslands, autumn foliage, a wonderful open-air modern art museum, and more. But if you are an anime fan, there is another reason to go because Hakone is Tokyo-3 in the popular anime series Neon Genesis EVANGELION. Let’s find out which spots to include on your anime pilgrimage to Hakone!
Hakone in EVANGELION
In the story of EVANGELION, Earth is damaged badly by the Second Impact, a meteor hit that happened in the year 2000. After first making Matsumoto Japan’s temporary capital as Tokyo was destroyed, Japan decided on Hakone to become the country’s new capital, Tokyo-3. When visiting Hakone, you will recognize some of the scenes from the anime if you know where to look!
Lake Ashi is one of the symbols of Hakone. It is located in the middle of the area and surrounded by mountains. It was created by an eruption of the volcano about 3,000 years ago. You may see Mt Fuji behind the lake on a sunny day. The anime sometimes shows the whole image of the lake from the sky.
Hakone Ropeway connects Lake Ashi and Owakudani, or ‘boiling valley’, with hydrogen sulfide fumes billowing from the ground. The line of gondolas that regularly pass by appears in the anime.
This is the terminal station in Hakone. The station appears in the anime, but it looks a little different from the real station. That is because they renovated the station building after the anime was made.
If you want to visit Hakone from Tokyo, there is a direct limited express train called ‘Romance Car’ from Shinjuku. It takes about 2 hours. From this station, you can take the mountain train or bus to visit beautiful areas. Hakone Yumoto is the biggest town in Hakone. There are many hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants around the station. The most popular shop among anime fans is EVA-Ya.
EVA-Ya is a specialty store for EVANGELION products that was opened in 2013. The store is a part of Hakone Yumoto Station. Rei Ayanami, the pilot of EVANGELION Unit-00, welcomes you at the entrance of the shop. She sometimes changes the clothes from a high-school uniform to a yukata, a light cotton summer kimono. You can buy T-shirts, aprons, bags, postcards, stationery, sweets and so on. They also sell ice cream and soft drinks.
EVANGELION Vending Machines
In 2011, 14 vending machines with an EVANGELION design were installed in Hakone. You can buy drinks from UCC company from the vending machines. The coffee cans each boast one of the characters of the anime. The number of machines and their locations sometimes change. The design of the can also changes. It is a lot of fun to look for them!
2020 MEET EVANGELION IN HAKONE
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of EVANGELION and the release of the newly made anime for the movie theater in 2021, they hold special exhibitions all over the town. Because of the postponement of the release and due to COVID-19, they are extending the period of the exhibition.
Togendai Station (ropeway and cruise ship station): the inside of the station is decorated like the headquarter of NERV, the secret organization of the series. They exhibit EVANGELION Unit-01 which is 2 meters tall.
Hakone Tozan Bus: 5 of the buses are decorated with illustrations of EVANGELION Unit-00, 01,02, 06, and 08. The bus stops also bear the characters of the anime.
Shuttle bus between Hakone and Gotenba: Some of the buses are decorated with a NERV design.
Hakone Free Pass: This convenient and reasonable two-days or three-days pass allows you to take all the transportation in the area. You can use it on trains, buses, the cruise ship, the cable car, and on the ropeway. You can buy the pass at the major stations of Odakyu Line. They sell the special design passes until March 31, 2021.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour. We can include guides who can tell you all about EVANGELION and other anime. The guide can take you on an anime pilgrimage to Hakone. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!
Hakone Access Information
Access: There is a direct limited express train “Romance Car” from Shinjuku. It takes about 2 hours to Hakone-Yumoto Station.