|Hakone is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C at the local level of significance. The period of significance for the property is 1917-1941, during which the three main gardens and all contributing buildings and structures were built. Hakone was built during a period of renewed trade and communication between Japan and the United States during the Meiji era that began in the 1870s and peaked during the early years of the twentieth century. The Meiji era influenced both art and architecture in the United States and had a marked and lasting impact on California. Hakone embodies Meiji era values and aesthetics unique to a specific time period in California, before anti-Japanese propaganda campaigns populated cross-cultural discourse, and before World War II changed the relationship between the two countries forever. Hakone was designed and built by talented Japanese designers and craftsmen, and during the late 1930s and early 1940s, a second generation of Japanese talent modified and added to the gardens. Hakone is unique in California and is a significant designed landscape that contains multiple contributing buildings and structures that embody high artistic values. Hakone is unique in that it was built as a private and modest summer retreat, and not part of a large, expansive estate, as was more common at the time. The gardens and buildings were designed and constructed as a fully integrated environment, and that same environment fostered tradition-based activities that had their roots in Japanese culture.