As a child, I was fascinated by adventure books with explorers and pirates and I was dreaming of sailing away… I know, it’s unusual for a girl, but I even learned some sailing and navigation terms. So, when I visited Hakone, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the pirate ships from the Lake Ashi.
The pirate ships from Hakone belong to the Odakyu company and are connecting Togendai, the terminal for the Hakone Ropeway, to Motohakone-ko or Hakone-machi. Small travel tip, if you buy a Hakone FreePass, the boat ride is included in the price.
The 4 ships are replicas of real historical ships (but not actual pirate ships). I traveled with The Royal, inspired by a 17th-century French sailing warship named Soleil-Royal, colored in red, with a double-decker promenade and observation deck:
During our sail we also encountered the three other ships:
The Vasa, painted emerald green and decorated with ornately sculpted woodwork, built after a ship from the 17th century that belonged to the Swedish King Gustav Adolph…
The Victory, a replica of a famous 18th century British warship…
The Frontier, built after a 19th century American paddle steamer from the Mississippi River in those days:
It is steered with a stern paddle:
The Lake Ashi is a very good place to admire Mount Fuji. However, even here, the mountain is not visible all the time. I was lucky and I’ve seen it for a few good minutes, then it disappeared in the clouds.
The ship ride is about 20 de minute, and the view is breathtaking. Soon after leaving the docks, you can see Hakone with its big red torii…
… then the ship passes by the well known Hakone Shrine “floating” torii.
After the first torii disappears, a second, smaller floating torii appears, belonging to the Kuzuryu Shrine.
The Royal’s steering room:
Obviously, there are also some pirates…