SORAKAZE: The Newest Cruise Experience on Lake Ashi, Hakone

SORAKAZE: The Newest Cruise Experience on Lake Ashi, Hakone

sorakaze_hakone21.jpgWhen one thinks of cruising on Lake Ashi in Hakone, pirate ships might spring to mind. However, moored alongside the pier is a strikingly minimalist white vessel, offering an alternative view of the lake's beauty. This ship, recently transformed and rechristened as SORAKAZE, has the world's first floating garden. Its interior design emphasizes spaciousness, not only enhancing visibility but also ensuring accessibility for wheelchair users. Furthermore, SORAKAZE is pet-friendly, welcoming dogs aboard. Let's delve into the unique features that set this ship apart.

Lake Ashi's SORAKAZE Cruise Now Open


The SORAKAZE, Lake Ashi's newest cruise ship, made its maiden voyage on February 23, 2024, a date celebrating Mount Fuji Day in Japan. Designed with environmental sustainability in mind, SORAKAZE harmonizes with the breathtaking backdrop of Mount Fuji. True to its name, which combines the Japanese words for "sky" (sora) and "wind" (kaze), the ship invites passengers to immerse themselves in nature's splendor. Onboard, guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the sky from the rooftop deck and embrace the refreshing natural breeze.

The SORAKAZE offers a route that connects three key locations: Hakone Sekisho Ato, Moto Hakone, and Hakone-En.

Note: Passengers have the flexibility to board or disembark at any of these piers. The ship's schedule may vary with the weather conditions.

Inside the Cabin


The SORAKAZE cruise ship offers a thoughtfully designed interior across four levels. The first and second floors are dedicated cabin spaces, equipped with comfortable seating and tables for passengers to enjoy the scenic views of Lake Ashi. These levels also feature a beverage sales area. The third and fourth floors, known as the KAZE DECK and SORA DECK respectively, are open-air rooftops designed for guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of their surroundings.

1F with Wheelchair Access


Particularly on the first floor, the ship boasts an accessible design, providing an inclusive environment for wheelchair users. This includes a barrier-free layout, a multipurpose restroom, and designated wheelchair parking spaces, ensuring all passengers can comfortably enjoy the views. Special attention is given to seating options, including window seats for an up-close view of the lake and mountains, and bar seating ideal for snacking.


Adding to the charm is a green lawn area on the first floor, inviting passengers to relax and enjoy the space freely. Although synthetic, the green turf complements the ship's floating garden theme, making the cabin interior feel more vibrant.


For added fun and comfort, Mount Fuji-shaped pillows are provided for lounging or sitting, reminding passengers of the iconic scenery outside. This innovative space not only enhances the visual appeal of the interior but also aligns perfectly with the concept of blending indoor comfort with the natural beauty of Lake Ashi.

2F Barrier Free


The second floor of SORAKAZE blends barrier-free design with a mix of traditional Japanese and contemporary seating options, surrounded by large glass windows for an expansive, open feel.


Here, passengers can enjoy the panoramic views of nature while savoring food and drinks at window-facing table seats, suitable for solo or duo dining.


A unique feature on this level is the hanging sofa seat, exclusive to this class, offering a gently swaying experience that mirrors the lake's rhythms. Cushioned for comfort, it provides a distinct vantage point to absorb the serene natural surroundings.


At the forefront, tatami-style seating allows an unobstructed, 360-degree view of the landscape. This area invites passengers to relax more traditionally, with the freedom to lounge or roll around, maintaining the customary practice of removing shoes before entry.

3F Rooftop Garden: KAZE DECK


The third floor of SORAKAZE, dubbed the KAZE DECK, transforms the concept of a cruise into a floating park experience. This deck is equipped with benches, swings, and a quaint grassy garden, offering a unique park-like atmosphere amidst the lake's gentle breezes.


The addition of swings allows guests to sway while taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding area, including a special lawn feature that showcases a miniature Mount Fuji. This garden is distinguished by its use of real grass, embracing the seasonal changes of color for an authentic park experience. Moreover, the KAZE DECK is pet-friendly.

4F Rooftop: SORA DECK


The SORA DECK, the topmost level of the SORAKAZE, offers an unobstructed skyward view, featuring a distinctive red steel frame that echoes the shape of Mount Fuji against the ship's white deck, beautifully marrying modern design with Japanese tradition.


Here, guests enjoy 360-degree views of Lake Ashi and the surrounding landscape, with the added perk of seeing a Mount Fuji replica in the garden below on cloudy days when the real mountain might be hidden. This deck ensures that visitors will experience the essence of Mount Fuji's majesty with every journey.

Seek Blessings


SORAKAZE stands out as Lake Ashi's unique sightseeing vessel that not only showcases the beauty of the lake but also offers a spiritual journey. On the 13th of each month, passengers have the exclusive opportunity to participate in a festival at Kusuryu Shrine, dedicated to the dragon god, Ryujin-sama. This event is believed to bring prosperity, fortune, and enhance one's love life. For those seeking blessings, a voyage on SORAKAZE during this auspicious time is a must-experience, blending natural exploration with a touch of divine favor.

Food and Drinks


The revamped SORAKAZE doesn't just impress with its design but also entices with a new, delectable dessert and drink menu. Among the offerings, the standout is the soft serve ice cream, featuring a delightful Mount Fuji decoration, available in vanilla and green tea flavors.

Additionally, the ship serves a strikingly bright blue drink, mirroring the sky's hue, which promises refreshment at first glance.

Limited-Edition Souvenirs


SORAKAZE elevates the cruise experience with exclusive souvenirs that capture the essence of Hakone and the unique journey aboard the ship. The range includes amulets for spiritual seekers, SORAKAZE-branded beer for enthusiasts of local brews, Mount Fuji-shaped cookies for those who appreciate sweet treats, and vibrant SORAKAZE candies for a colorful memento.

Hakone, a scenic destination near Tokyo, has long been a favorite among international travelers. The city and its surroundings are continuously enhancing their offerings, striving to create more unique experiences and improve services for tourists. On your next visit to Hakone, make sure to embark on a journey aboard SORAKAZE, the newest addition to Lake Ashi's cruising experience. It's an opportunity not only to appreciate the beauty of Hakone but to enjoy an unparalleled maritime adventure.


Capacity: Up to 550 passengers

Business hours: 9:20 AM - 4:00 PM, with 10 daily departures

Route: Stops include Hakone Sekisho Ato, Moto Hakone, and Hakone-En

Duration: Approximately 40 minutes (Note: Duration may vary depending on the chosen course)

For the latest schedule and reservations, please visit the official website.

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