Stay Near Hakone and Play Games?

Stay Near Hakone and Play Games?

Hakone is a stunning area of Japan not far from Tokyo. There are a couple of guest houses stocked with board games that are free to play. Sightsee during the day, and play some of the many games available at Kevin’s Guesthouse and Merry Lue’s Guest House in Minamiashigara City, not far from Hakone Yumoto.

Exploring the Enchanting Wonders of Hakone: A Must-Visit Destination in Japan

Introduction: Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone stands as a mesmerizing oasis for both locals and tourists alike. Boasting stunning natural landscapes, soothing hot springs, rich cultural heritage, and magnificent views of Mount Fuji, Hakone offers a myriad of experiences that captivate the hearts and minds of its visitors. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, adventure, or cultural immersion, Hakone has something to offer for everyone. Let’s delve into the enchanting wonders of Hakone and discover the exciting activities and attractions that await you.

  1. Admire the Majestic Mount Fuji: Hakone’s location on the eastern edge of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park provides an extraordinary vantage point for gazing at Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. Be sure to ride the Hakone Ropeway, a cable car that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Capture awe-inspiring photographs from Owakudani, a volcanic valley famous for its sulfurous fumes and hot springs. Witnessing the silhouette of Mount Fuji against the backdrop of Hakone’s natural beauty is an unforgettable experience.
  2. Soak in the Healing Waters of Onsen: Renowned for its therapeutic hot springs, Hakone is the ideal destination for indulging in a traditional Japanese onsen experience. Choose from a variety of exquisite ryokans (traditional inns) and ryokan resorts that offer private and communal baths. Unwind and rejuvenate your body and soul as you soak in the mineral-rich waters amidst serene surroundings. Popular hot spring areas include Hakone Yumoto, Gora, and Tenzan.
  3. Explore Hakone Open-Air Museum: For art enthusiasts, the Hakone Open-Air Museum is a treasure trove of creativity. This unique museum showcases a stunning collection of contemporary sculptures and artworks by both Japanese and international artists. Stroll through beautifully manicured gardens, immerse yourself in thought-provoking installations, and even bathe in a hot spring foot bath while enjoying art exhibitions. The combination of art and nature creates a harmonious and meditative atmosphere.
  4. Cruise Lake Ashi: Embark on a scenic boat ride across the serene Lake Ashi, an ancient crater lake formed by volcanic activity. Revel in the tranquility as you glide along the azure waters, surrounded by lush green mountains. Enjoy unobstructed views of Mount Fuji, as well as the iconic Hakone Shrine’s torii gate standing tall on the lakeshore. Cruising Lake Ashi is a fantastic way to experience the region’s natural splendor.
  5. Wander Through Hakone Shrine: Immerse yourself in Japanese spirituality and culture by visiting the renowned Hakone Shrine. Nestled in the forested hills near Lake Ashi, this Shinto shrine exudes a serene and mystical ambiance. Take a leisurely stroll through the sacred grounds, admire the striking architecture, and participate in traditional rituals. The vibrant red torii gates and the serene atmosphere create a sense of tranquility and reverence.
  6. Ride the Hakone Tozan Railway: Embark on a scenic train journey aboard the Hakone Tozan Railway, a charming mountain railway that winds its way through lush greenery and picturesque landscapes. Marvel at the engineering feat as the train navigates steep slopes, tunnels, and bridges. The slow pace and the enchanting views along the route make this ride a memorable experience.

Conclusion: Hakone is a destination that captivates travelers with its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and tranquil ambiance. From admiring the majestic Mount Fuji to soaking in soothing hot springs, exploring art amidst nature, and embracing the spiritual side of Japan,

I am Hakone

Japanese Board War Games

Japanese Board War Games

Exploring Japanese Board War Games: A Fusion of Strategy and Tradition


Japan, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and innovative creations, has a vibrant board gaming scene that extends beyond its traditional offerings. While the country is famous for ancient games like shogi and go, it has also embraced modern board gaming, including captivating war games. These Japanese board war games, with their complex strategies and unique themes, provide players with immersive experiences that test their tactical prowess. In this article, we delve into the world of Japanese board war games, examining their origins, gameplay mechanics, and notable titles.

Origins and Influence

The roots of Japanese board war games can be traced back to the post-World War II period when the country underwent a cultural transformation. Influenced by Western board games, Japanese designers began crafting their own titles that combined elements of traditional gaming with innovative mechanics. This led to the birth of a distinctive genre of war games, which quickly gained popularity among enthusiasts seeking intellectually stimulating challenges.

Gameplay Mechanics

Japanese board war games encompass a wide range of themes, from historical battles to futuristic conflicts. While each game offers a unique experience, there are common gameplay mechanics that typify this genre. Generally, players assume the roles of military commanders or strategists, making decisions that impact their armies’ movements, resource management, and combat engagements.

These games often employ a hexagonal grid system, allowing for precise movement and positioning of units. Command and control mechanics play a crucial role, with players facing the challenge of coordinating their forces effectively. Furthermore, Japanese war games frequently emphasize hidden information, simulating the fog of war and requiring players to carefully deduce their opponents’ intentions.

Notable Japanese Board War Games

  1. Axis & Allies: Designed by Larry Harris Jr. and first published in 1981, Axis & Allies is a globally acclaimed war game set during World War II. While not exclusively Japanese, it exemplifies the influence of Japanese game design on the genre. The game allows players to control the major powers of the war, employing strategic planning and diplomacy to secure victory.
  2. Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel: Created by Uwe Eickert and translated into Japanese by Mabuchi Satoru, Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel is a tactical war game that immerses players in the intense battles of World War II’s Eastern Front. With its innovative firefight system and detailed unit management, this game offers an engaging and authentic experience.
  3. Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan: Designed by Matt Calkins, Sekigahara is a highly regarded war game that captures the dramatic conflict during Japan’s Sengoku period. With its elegant card-driven mechanics and historical accuracy, players must navigate the delicate balance of power to secure victory on the battlefield.
  4. Battle Line: Created by Reiner Knizia, Battle Line is a two-player war game that focuses on tactical maneuvering and bluffing. Known as “Schotten-Totten” in its original version, the Japanese edition incorporates the nation’s distinctive artistic style while maintaining the game’s strategic depth.


Japanese board war games offer a captivating blend of strategy, history, and innovation. From World War II simulations to ancient conflicts, these games provide players with immersive experiences that demand careful planning and critical thinking. Drawing on traditional gaming principles while incorporating modern mechanics, Japanese war games stand as a testament to the nation’s ability to combine tradition with innovation. Whether you’re a seasoned war gamer or a novice seeking an intellectually stimulating challenge, exploring the world of Japanese board war games is sure to offer countless hours of strategic enjoyment.

On the COIN series of games by GMT

Using Boardgames at University

Using Boardgames at University

Incorporating Board Games in the University Classroom: A Guide

Board games have gained significant recognition as effective educational tools in university classrooms due to their ability to promote active learning and engage students. By integrating board games into the curriculum, educators can enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills while providing an enjoyable learning experience. Here, we present practical ways to utilize board games in the university classroom.

  1. Icebreaker Activities: At the beginning of the semester, board games can be employed as icebreaker activities to facilitate a relaxed and enjoyable environment for students to get to know each other. Opt for games that encourage social interaction and teamwork, such as cooperative or party games with group challenges.
  2. Reinforce Learning Concepts: To reinforce learning concepts, select board games that align with the course content. For example, a history professor can use a historically themed board game to help students understand and apply historical events and concepts.
  3. Simulate Real-Life Scenarios: Board games that simulate real-life scenarios related to the subject matter can be highly effective. For business students, engaging in a business strategy board game that requires decision-making, risk analysis, and adaptability to changing market conditions can provide practical insights.
  4. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Choose board games that require strategic thinking and foster problem-solving skills. By working in teams, students can analyze situations, develop strategies, and make informed decisions, thereby honing their critical thinking abilities.
  5. Debates and Discussions: Board games that spark debates and discussions can be invaluable in the classroom. Games featuring moral dilemmas or ethical challenges provide opportunities for students to engage in thoughtful conversations, explore different perspectives, and develop their argumentation skills.
  6. Language Acquisition: In foreign language courses, language-based board games can significantly enhance language acquisition. Incorporate word games, vocabulary-building games, or language trivia to help students practice their language skills in an engaging and interactive manner.
  7. Assessment and Review: Utilize board games as a form of assessment or review. Create game-based quizzes or review sessions where students can compete against each other, reinforcing their knowledge and improving retention.
  8. Research and Design: Encourage students to create their own board games as part of a research or design project. This activity promotes creativity, problem-solving, and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

When incorporating board games in the university classroom, it is important to ensure that the games are age-appropriate, relevant to the learning objectives, and accessible to all students. Provide clear instructions, facilitate discussions, and reflect on the learning outcomes to maximize the educational potential of board games.

By embracing board games as a teaching tool, educators can foster a positive classroom environment, increase student motivation, and create memorable learning experiences that go beyond traditional approaches.

More: (from a friend)

“Just following up on our conversation yesterday. Here is a link to that journal co-run by the meiji prof using boardgames in his class”.

Kevin’s Guesthouse near Hakone

On Using Chat GPT to Develop Board Games

On Using Chat GPT to Develop Board Games

Chat GPT can be used to develop a board game by generating game content, creating dialogue and narrative, and providing inspiration for game mechanics. Here are some ways Chat GPT can be used:

  1. Generate game content: Chat GPT can generate a wide range of game content, such as character descriptions, world-building details, and storylines. By inputting prompts and asking questions, Chat GPT can help develop the game’s overall theme, setting, and narrative.
  2. Create dialogue and narrative: Chat GPT can help create dialogue between players and non-player characters (NPCs) by generating responses and suggestions for NPC dialogue. It can also be used to develop branching storylines, where player choices affect the game’s outcome.
  3. Provide inspiration for game mechanics: Chat GPT can provide inspiration for game mechanics, such as player actions, rules, and challenges. For example, Chat GPT can be asked to generate ideas for how to incorporate a specific theme or mechanic into the game.
  4. Playtesting: Chat GPT can be used to simulate game scenarios and playtest the game mechanics. It can be programmed to respond to player inputs and provide feedback on gameplay, balance, and difficulty.

Overall, Chat GPT can be a useful tool for generating ideas and content for a board game. However, it’s important to note that developing a board game requires a lot of creative and strategic thinking beyond what an AI language model can provide.