Hakoni village is a pleasant little place, consisting chiefly of a row of shops and tea-houses built along either side of the Tocaido. It is a favourite halting-place for travellers, so that the owners of the tea-houses seem to do a more thriving trade than any of their neighbours, though among the latter the sellers of rough strong sandals, and straw shoes adapted for horses going down the steep pass, are not without employment.

Hakoni Lake, like every other beautiful or remarkable lake in Niphon, has a certain amount of sanctity attached to it by the Japanese, who, like the Greeks of old, seem to people every striking natural object with some spiritual being. Accordingly this lake is said to be inhabited by the largest dragon in the Empire, and there is a law against catching any fish in it. Ignorant of this law, we spend a forenoon on the water, fly-fishing with a ten-jointed bamboo rod bought at Yokohama for eighteen pence. The rod answers very tolerably, but the fish come not.

Round the World in 1870 (1872)