WHAT TO DO IN HAKONE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO A DAY TRIP

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 HakoneYumoto 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 HakoneYumoto 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. 

Website link: https://www.hakone-oam.or.jp/en/

Hakone Open Air Museum
Artwork at Hakone Open Air Museum

Lake Ashi

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.

Pirate Ship on Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi Pirate Ship

Hakone Shrine

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. 

Torii Gate at Hakone Shrine
Torii Gate at Hakone Shrine – Image by Flavio Gasperini

Hot Springs

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. 

Owakudani

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!

Black Egg at Hot Springs
The Famous Black Eggs by Er Guiri

Chisuji Falls

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/

Picasso Pavillion at Hakone Open Air Museum
The Picasso Pavillion at Hakone Open Air Museum

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. 

*This post may include affiliate links which mean I earn a commission on purchases made through them, at no further cost to you.

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25 thoughts on “WHAT TO DO IN HAKONE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO A DAY TRIP

  1. Loved your Ueno post as I’ve said before and this one is no exception – looks like you visited some great spots in Hakone and places I’d personally be interested in too which gives me some ideas on what to put on my list. Thanks for sharing your experience and including some nice photos too!

  2. I love the idea that these museums are so big you can spend a whole day there with a family. It’s a shame they’re not free but for the price I guess a whole day is a good rate. Black eggs! Did you try one!?

    1. Yeah, I didn’t mind so much as I spent a long time there but they are quite pricey for only an hour/if you’re not so into art! I didn’t try one but I wish I had’ve!

  3. Fabulous post! Navigating in a foreign country can be tricky. This would be great to put into an itinerary. Will definitely be referring to this when I make it to Japan.

  4. This just makes me want to go to Japan! It’s never been that high on my travel bucket list buy you’re certainly changing my mind. The Hakone Shrine is iconic and something I’ve marvelled at in photos, but the views of the lake, and the though of seeing Mt. Fuji (!) seems even more breathtaking.

  5. Another amazing post, Jess! All the things you did in Hakone definitely sound like things I’d love too. I’m a bit intimidated by all the rail passes and stuff you mentioned! Although my boyfriend went to Japan with work and had to get around on his own occasionally and said it was quite easy to navigate! xxx

Let me know what you think!