Hi Guys! Today I’m going to be chatting about my day trip from Tokyo to Hakone. I went to Japan for two weeks this August and after a few days in the Capitol city (here’s my post on things to do in Ueno), I fancied a change of pace. After some googling and Pinterest searching, I settled on taking a day trip to Hakone – and I’m so glad I did! I’m a huge art lover and I didn’t really do much except for the open-air museum, but there are some other things to get up to if you’re not such an art nerd. Now, onto the guide…
Getting to Hakone from Tokyo
So I had the Green JR Rail Pass* for 14 days (£484), which made it much easier to travel around the country. With all the train travel I did, I saved over £300 by using a JR pass. The easiest way to plan your travel in Japan is via hyperdia.
You can also purchase the Hakone Free Pass for 2 or 3 days for ¥5700/¥6100 (£43/£46) which includes the train from Shinjuku station to Hakone, as well as select trains, cablecars, ropeways, boats and major bus lines in Hakone. For a day trip, I think it’s unnecessary unless you don’t have a JR pass and plan to do the whole ‘round course‘ of Hakone.
Japan Rail Pass:
Take the Tokaido Shinkansen line from Tokyo Station to Odawara. This takes about an hour. From Odawara, you can transfer to the Hakone Tozan Line to get to Hakone–Yumoto in 15 minutes (this costs ¥320/£2.50). You can also take the Romancecar which takes about 10 minutes (this costs ¥520/£4). Another option is to take the bus however it takes almost triple the time and is more expensive!
Hakone Free Pass:
Route One: Take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku to Odawara. From Odawara, you can transfer to the Hakone Tozan Line to get to Hakone–Yumoto in 15 minutes (this costs ¥320/£2.50). You can also take the Romancecar which takes about 10 minutes (this costs ¥520/£4). Another option is to take the bus however it takes almost triple the time and is more expensive!
Route Two: Top up your Hakone Free Pass with ¥1090/£8.30 (one-way – or you can buy a return ticket for ¥2330/£17.50) and take the scenic route on the Romancecar. You start at Shinjuku station and take the direct line to Hakone, it takes around 80 minutes.
What to do in Hakone
The Open Air Museum
Getting There: From Hakone-Yumoto, take the Hakone Tozan line to Chokoku No Mori Station where the museum is a short walk away. It takes 30 minutes and is covered by the Hakone Free Pass. Otherwise, it costs ¥400/£3
Admission: The normal admission is ¥1600/£12. You can show this voucher at the ticket office for a ¥100 (0.76p) discount. Also – if you have the Hakone Free Pass you pay a reduced price of ¥1400/£10.60.
What to do: The museum covers over 70,000 square metres so there is plenty to see! There are several indoor exhibitions as well as many statues and play areas dotted around the park. You can follow a circular route round to make sure you see everything and there are cafes/restaurants in different areas of the park for a quick stop or lunch.
The Highlights: The Picasso Pavillion, The Symphonic Sculpture, The Hotsprings footbath and the amazing views of the mountains whichever way you look.
Getting There: From Hakone-Yumoto, you can take a bus to either Moto-Hakone or Hakone-machi which are on the southern shore of the lake. It takes around 35 minutes and costs ¥960/£7.30 (the journey is covered by the Hakone Free Pass). You can also take a direct line from Odawara that costs ¥1180/£9 one way and takes just under an hour. If you want to get to the northern shore, there are also buses and trains but they are a tad more expensive.
What to do: You can take a boat trip around the lake (about 30 minutes, ¥1000/£8.60), rent swan-themed pedal boats, visit the Hakone shrine and see the Imperial family’s summer palace.
The Highlights: The Pirate Ship lake cruise and seeing Mt. Fuji on a clear day.
Getting There: The shrine is on Lake Ashi, at the bottom of Mt. Hakone. It’s a 5-minute walk from Moto-Hakone which you can get to via a bus from Hakone-Yumoto. This takes 35 minutes and costs ¥960/£7.30 (the journey is covered by the Hakone Free Pass).
What to do: There are several Torii gates to see, including one ‘floating’ on the water.
Getting There: Hakone has lots of Onsens to choose from (you can view a list here). Hakone’s most famous and historical hot spring is in Yumoto, near the train station.
Admission: Onsens can cost between ¥400-2000 (£3-15).
What to do: Onsens/Hot springs are public baths (you can also find private ones at ryokans). Be aware as they have strict rules to follow. I didn’t actually visit an onsen whilst I was in Japan as I have tattoos which are forbidden in lots of Onsens.
Getting There: From Hakone-Yumoto station, you can take the Hakone Tozan Line to Gora where you can change to a cable car which takes you up to the mountain’s Soun station. You can also get there from Lake Ashi.
What to do: Owakudani is a 3000-year-old crater that occurred after a volcanic eruption. You can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day, especially from the ropeway. You can also hike for a few hours. Be aware that sometimes the area is closed due to increased volcanic activity.
Highlights: A tradition in Japan is to boil eggs in the hot springs – they’re called ‘onsen tamago’. At Owakudani, the eggs are special and have a black shell. They’re said to add 7 years to your life for the first egg you eat, 14 years for the second and then bad health for the third. You can get them at the tourist centre!
Getting there: From Odawara, take the Hakone Tozan Line to Kowakidani. This takes about 50 minutes and costs ¥1,030/£7.80. Alternatively, you can take the same line from Hakone-Yumoto for ¥590/£4.50 and this takes half an hour.
What to do: It’s a small waterfall however the surrounding area is great for getting into nature and hiking.
Hakone Glass Forest Museum
Getting There: From Hakone-Yumoto Station, you can take the Hakone Tozan bus for Togendai and then get off at the (Hyoseki) Hakone Glass no Mori-mae. It takes 20 minutes and the ticket costs ¥750/£5.70.
Admission: Standard admission is ¥1500/£11.40, or ¥1400/£10.60 with the Hakone Free Pass.
What to do: The buildings are Italian themed and the museum features Venitian glassware. There is also a large garden and pond with outdoor sculptures, a cafe and a terrace where live musical performances are held.
Website link: https://www.hakone-garasunomori.jp/entrance/english/
I hope that this has given you some inspiration for your trip to Hakone! Let me know any other recommendations you have for Hakone in the comments below. You can view my other travel content here, and my Japan content here. Bye for now.
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