Explore

Hakone Guide — The Day Trip You Need in Your Tokyo Itinerary

This Hakone guide will show you the best route to getting around Hakone — especially for those who only have a day to spare.

Hakone felt a lot like exploring Disneyland — think pirate ships, old trains that zig zag up the mountains and cable ropeways that hover over foggy volcanic valleys. After spending a few days in Tokyo, Hakone was truly a whole new world.

Throw in onsens and a view of Mount Fuji across the lake, it’s no wonder why locals from Tokyo love hopping by for the weekend.

Getting Around With A Hakone Free Pass

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

This is the only transport pass you’ll need to cover all the key sights in Hakone. It comes in a 2-day (¥5,700) and 3-day (¥6,100) option and includes all the different transport needed to reach the main attractions as well as discounts on certain vendors.

We got the 2-day Hakone Free Pass through Klook for ~S$62 and collected them at the Odakyu Sightseeing centre (Shinkuju Station). If you’re following this itinerary, we’d recommend collecting it the day before so you can catch the first train. The Odakyu counter only opens at 8AM.

*Jan 2020 Update: The 2-day pass now costs ~S$72 and the 3-day pass costs ~S$77

If you’re wondering whether the pass is worth its value since we’re only using it for a day, find out from our budget breakdown at the end of the post.

Getting from Tokyo to Hakone

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Budget Option via Odawara

Included in the Hakone Free Pass is the ride from Shinjuku to Odawara station (85mins) via the Odakyu Line. At Shinjuku station, show your Hakone Free Pass at the manned gantries to have it stamped.

From Odawara, transfer to the Hakone Yuzan train and get off at Hakone Yumoto Station; where your adventure begins!

Premium/Direct Option (Romance Car)

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Photo credit: Odakyu Electric Railway

A more convenient route is via the Romance car. This requires a ¥890* top up on top of the Hakone Free Pass but you get to ride in the train with large panoramic windows. This train also travels direct from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto station so there’s no need to change trains at Odawara.

*Mar 2018 Update: Top up for the Romance Car now costs ¥1090 one-way (Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto station) instead of ¥890.

Hakone Day-Trip Itinerary (Clockwise Route)

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

From Hakone-Yumoto station, all the main attractions can be covered in a circle around Hakone so there’s 2 ways around it. Most people take the anti-clockwise route starting from taking the Hakone Tozan train to Gora and ending at with a bus ride from Moto-Hakone. This route is ideal because the Hakone Ropeway that brings you to Owakudani closes at 4pm.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

However if you’re looking to beat the crowds, you can try the clockwise route instead starting from the most iconic part of Hakone.

1) Hakone shrine & torii gate

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

One of the most iconic symbols of Hakone is the grand Torii gate. In fact, it’s probably more famous than the shrine itself. Sitting on the edge of Lake Ashinoko, you’ll need to climb down a flight of stairs to get to this spot.

How to get there: From Hakone Yumoto, take the Hakone Tozan Bus to Moto-Hakone Boat Pier (35 minutes).

2) Ancient Cedar Avenue

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

One of the best preserved parts of old Hakone is this 500m path lined with tall cedar trees. It was the original path used during the Edo period where travellers mainly walked on foot between Tokyo and Kyoto.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Photo credit: Cubie

If you love hiking, there’s a longer route (~1.5 hours) between Moto-Hakone and Hakone-Yumoto that passes by a 350 year old teahouse, Amazake-chaya whose family have been serving travellers since the Edo period.

How to get there: From Moto-Hakone Boat Pier, it’s a 3-minute walk. At the other end of the Cedar Avenue is the Old Tokaido Checkpoint.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Ґ350 for Vanilla soft serve on rusk (toasted honey bread) from Bakery & Table cafe

3) Hakone Old Checkpoint Museum

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

View from the Lookout Tower

Hakone used to be an important checkpoint along the Tokaido highway (connecting Kyoto and Tokyo). Although the structure is a reconstruction of the former Hakone Checkpoint, its location and style is a pretty accurate replica of the Edo period.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Photo credit: Gonzague Gay Bouchery

The checkpoint functions like an immigration point to control the access of 1) the wives of the lords from escaping Tokyo and 2) that weapons aren’t brought in from Kyoto.

Entrance Fees: ¥500 (¥400 for Hakone Free Pass Holders)
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Closes at 4:30pm from Dec – Feb)

4) Lake Ashinoko

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Lake Ashinoko is the heart of Hakone and one of the 5 famous lakes in the Fuji-izu region. The best way to cross this is via a sightseeing cruise that leaves Moto-Hakone Boat Pier and arrives at the Togendai-ko station. The boat leaves about 1–2 times an hour so check the boat schedule to plan your trip.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Photo credit: Kentagon

A famous sight on the cruise is the floating Tori gate of the Hakone shrine as well as Mount Fuji on days when the skies are clear.

Cost: ¥1000 (Free for Hakone Free Pass Holders)

5) Owakudani — Valley of Hell

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

This was one of our favourite parts of Hakone. Although the weather was apparently at its worst while we were there, the thick mist and cool air here — despite being 34° in Tokyo —gave the place a serene and dreamy atmosphere.

On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot a scenic view of Mount Fuji.

There is a hiking path that leads to the peak of Mount Kamiyama but tends to close when there’s increased activity of volcanic gases.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Photo credit:そらみみ

On that same path is also where you’ll spot hot spring pools where eggs are dipped in batches to cook. The shells turns black because of the reaction with sulphur in the water but rest assured they’re still safe to consume — in fact, eating the egg is believed to add 7 years to your life!

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary
japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Honestly they don’t taste very different from regular eggs. A set of 5 kuro-tamago (black hard boiled eggs) cost ¥500.

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Tamago flavoured ice cream (¥350)

Opening hours: ~9am – 4pm (determined by the operation hours of the Hakone Ropeway)
How to get there: From Togendai-ko, take the Hakone ropeway up to Owakudani station (16 minutes). If you’re coming the other way around it’d be from Sounzan station (8 minutes).

6) Odawara Castle

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

Before returning to Tokyo, make a quick stop at Odawara to check out the 15th century castle — a famous spot for its cherry blossoms in late March to April.

Odawara Chirashi (小田原鱼河岸でん)

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

While you’re in Odawara, stop for dinner dinner at this Michelin Guide Chirashi place which serves fresh chirashi don bowls at reasonable prices.

*Pro-tip: Add a bowl of Miso soup for ¥100 — comes in a medium sized bowl with a piece of fish in each and a good dose of dashi.

Cost: ¥880 – ¥24800 (Our bowl of “local fish” cost ¥1280)Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Address: Japan, 〒 250 – 0011 Kanagawa Prefecture, Odawara, Sakaecho, 2 Chome – 3 – 4, Miyuki Building

Is the Hakone Free Pass worth a day trip from Tokyo?

japan, tokyo, hakone guide — the day trip you need in your tokyo itinerary

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer? Here’s the homework done for you 🙂

Getting around Japan via single tickets is generally a lot more expensive. Despite only using the 2-day Hakone Free Pass for a day trip, we saved a total of ¥2130 (~S$26.50) on top of saving the hassle of purchasing individual tickets. But if you have more time to spare, give yourself 2–3 days to soak up all the serenity of Hakone before picking up the pace again in Tokyo.

*The prices below have been updated as of Jan 2020

  Mode of Transport Cost
Shinjuku – Odawara Odakyu Line ¥891
Odawara – Hakone Yumoto Hakone Tozan Train ¥320
Hakone-Yumoto – Moto-Hakone Hakone Tozan Bus Line H ¥980
Moto-Hakone – Togendai-ko Sight seeing cruise ¥1,050
Togendai-ko – Owakudani Hakone Ropeway ¥1,140
Owakudani – Sounzan Hakone Ropeway ¥920
Sounzan – Gora Hakone Tozan Cable Car ¥430
Gora – Hakone Yumoto Hakone Tozan Train ¥410
Hakone Yumoto – Odawara Hakone Tozan Train ¥320
Odawara – Shinjuku Odakyu Line ¥900
  Total: ¥7,361

Hope you found this Hakone Travel Guide useful. Let us know if we missed anything out in the comments!


This post was brought to you by Klook.

Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network