Kanagawa

Odawara

The gateway to the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park

About Odawara

Things to do in Odawara

Dining

Suzuhiro Kamaboko in Odawara

Suzuhiro Kamaboko in Odawara

Odawara is a beautiful city located just an hour south of Tokyo. The city is nestled between the Hakone mountains and Sagami Bay. The city is a Shinkansen stop and famous for its well kept castle just a few minutes walk from the station. The town'..

Sawatei Restaurant

Sawatei Restaurant

Sawatei restaurant offers a fusion of French and Japanese cuisine. It would be wrong to say that the food served isn't authentic Japanese or French, but instead the food is authentic in its own way. That is the beauty of this restaurant ..

Sawatei Odawara

Sawatei Odawara

Sawatei is one of the hidden gems of Odawara; just a five minute walk from the station, nestled into the side of a hill, this French Japanese fusion restaurant draws foodies from all over the region, yet somehow remains largely unknown by locals. ..

Places to stay

Hotel Green Odawara

Hotel Green Odawara

When staying in Odawara, Hotel Green is a great place to base yourself. Only a ten-minute walk from the main station, fifteen minutes from the castle, and five minutes from the main shopping and dining area, with a smattering of restaurants, bars ..

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Rensho-ji Temple in Odawara

Rensho-ji Temple in Odawara

In a quiet residential area a few minutes' walk south-eastish of Odawara castle, there's a cluster of six or seven charming, intimate Buddhist temples, all with their own points of interest. Even if you're not a fan of religion or history..

Matsubara Shrine in Odawara

Matsubara Shrine in Odawara

Many visitors to Odawara come to see the historic castle, especially around cherry-blossom time, but there are plenty of other reasons to come here. A little way east of the castle, there are some ancient Buddhist temples and this shinto shrine, nic..

Odawara Castle and Samurai

Odawara Castle and Samurai

Odawara Castle is in a key geographical location and was the home of various lords living in the Sengoku or "warring states" period of Japan. The lords were in charge of the castle for a certain period of time; afterwards, they were allowed..

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About Odawara

Odawara is a town situated on Sagami Bay along the Tokaido Line coast, fairly close to Mt. Fuji. It is best know for the beautiful Odawara Castle, and for being the gateway to the Hakone hot springs resort area, and the Fuji-Hakone National Park. It is the western-most point of Kanagawa Prefecture. Odawara also has its own hot springs area: Yugawara.

The coastal waters here, and especially at Enoura, are beautiful and clean. In fact, the pristine sea is well known for its abundance of kumanomi, fish, which can thrive only in clean, clear waters. Enoura is also a favorite spot for scuba divers who come to see the occasional sea turtle, as well as an abundance of other beautiful undersea life.

Odawara is also know for its kamakoko (a popular processed fish), and its umeboshi (salted pickled plums).

Other things to do and see

But it is to view the castle that most visitors come here. Japan once had more than 1000 castles, but today the number of castles that still exist stands at about 100. Only a few remain in their original form, while most of the others have been rebuilt to varying degrees over the years. This castle was most recently rebuilt in the late 1950s but is well worth a visit.

The Odawara Plum Festival, held during the month of February is also popular and delightful. The area is blessed with some beautiful plum groves that are wonderful to photograph. Throughout the year, there are a number of other enjoyable festivals held in Odawara: The Lantern Summer Festival, the Fireworks Festival along the Sakawa River, and a Noh Performance and Chrysanthemum Flower Exhibition at the castle later in the year.

Odawara History

Archaeological research shows that the Odawara region has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and that there existed a high population density during the Jomon era (14,000 BC-300 BC). Over the centuries, it eventually developed into a castle town under the control of the Hojo clan (mid 1400s-late 1500s). They were defeated however by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590, despite the protection the castle provided. After that, the city became a post station on the Tokaido highway that connected Kyoto with Edo (Tokyo), and prospered. Like most of the Kanto region, the city was completely destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. It was also the last Japanese city to be bombed during WW2. But again, like many cities in Japan, it began to flourish in the early 1960s with the lead up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the birth of Japan’s industry and economy prowess. Odawara’s population now stands at just under 200,000.

Odawara is sister cities with Chula Vista, California (since 1981); Manly, NeSouth Wales, Australia (since 1991); and Shenzhen, Guangdon, China (since 1993)

*For tourist information and free guide services, visit the Odawara-Hakone Systematized Goodwill Guide Service. They have a booth directly in front of the exit at JR Odawara Station. Reservations for free guided tours can be made through their website at http://www.ohsgg.com/

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