Hakone Maruyama Bussan is a traditional craft facility specializing in yosegi-zaiku and karakuri (‘trick’ boxes), two woodcrafts popular in the area since the Edo Period. The facility includes a shop, an interactive museum, and a workshop, and has put continuous efforts into making the space wheelchair accessible, friendly to sign language users, and welcoming to international visitors.
Hakone Maruyama Bussan received the Japan Travel Awards’ Best Accessible Travel and Grand Prix Award in 2023.
Hakone Maruyama Bussan is located in Hakone Sekisho (Hakone Checkpoint), just about 1.5 hours from Shinagawa Station. Hakone Sekisho, a checkpoint along Lake Ashi (Ashiko) during the Edo Period (1603-1867), was used to control traffic along the Tokaido Road, which linked Tokyo with Kyoto at the time. The Hakone Checkpoint, today fully reconstructed, was one of the most important checkpoints due to its proximity to the capital.
Hakone Maruyama Bussan, one of the most popular venues in Hakone Sekisho, specializes in marquetry and has the “Sekisho Karakuri Museum” attached to it. The shop exhibits and sells traditional crafts handed down in the Odawara/Hakone area since the Edo period and also promotes traditional techniques and artisans’ wisdom across generations through hands-on experience and demonstrations at the Karakuri Museum to pass on and sustain the culture. Here you can learn all there is to know about yosegi-zaiku and karakuri, the delicate marquetry traditions unique to the area.
One of the highlights of the Hakone Maruyama Bussan is their karakuri boxes, or “trick boxes.” These fun boxes test your brain as you try to figure out how to open them. The Karakuri Museum specializes in these boxes, with around 100 unique works. The museum feels like a puzzle adventure itself, as even the door is karakuri!
There are also workshops at the museum where you can try your hand at creating your very own karakuri box or decorative coaster, which is of course taught by experienced craftsmen. There are many great pieces in their shop too, so you can take home something created by the experts if you so choose.
Hakone Maruyama Bussan is accessible by taking the shinkansen (bullet train) or express to Odawara Station, followed by another train, bus, or taxi ride.
From Odawara Station, it is about an hour’s bus ride or a 30-minute taxi to the facility. If using the bus, which are accessible, the facility is just a few seconds walk from the Sekisho Ato bus stop (in front of Hakone Sekisho).
From Hakone-Yumoto Station, it’s a 20-minute taxi ride. Or you can enjoy the whole Hakone route by taking trains, gondolas and a pirate boat!
Both Odawara and Hakone Yumoto stations are accessible, with elevators, wheelchair-accessible pathways and accessible restrooms.
Despite Hakone Maruyama Bussan’s long history, one of the great things about the facility is its impressive commitment to making the place accessible to as many people as possible.
The facility has step-free access throughout, and all obstacles have been removed to make for a stress-free visit.
Wheelchairs are available for rent from Hakone Sekisho. For those arriving by car, Hakone Maruyama Bussan’s parking lot is also close for easy access, and several benches are available for resting.
One wheelchair-accessible restroom is available at Hakone Sekisho, just outside Hakone Maruyama Bussan.
To assist visitors with visual and hearing disabilities, Hakone Maruyama Bussan also offers instructional videos and tutorials on how to open the karakuri boxes in sign language. Their website also provides images and text side by side, and the text is displayed in larger font sizes.
Overseas visitors will find multilingual instructions and maps of nearby sightseeing spots in Japanese, English, German, French, Chinese, Korean,and Spanish. Arabic is in preparation.
Hakone Maruyama Bussan is highly recommended for anyone visiting the Hakone/Odawara area. Despite being in the business for centuries, Hakone Maruyama Bussan is a progressive tourism destination where tradition meets accessibility for all. It can be hard to come by progressive mindsets in such traditional settings, so this feels like a breath of fresh air to learn about a centuries-old craft hands-on without worries about accessibility.
Hakone Maruyama Bussan is a great place to visit, learn about unique Japanese traditions in an interactive way, enjoy a fun museum, and get some unique gifts back
- Phone: +81-460-83-6604
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