Escape the sky scrapers and crush of people in Tokyo and enjoy the tranquil lake views of Mt. Fuji and quiet Museums in Hakone. Just 2 hours out of Tokyo the area offers history, culture, and beautiful nature throughout the year. Hakone is one of Japan’s best know travel destinations so visit on a weekday when the crowds are thinner.
GETTING TO HAKONE FROM TOKYO
The trip is made easy with the Hakone Free Pass (valid for 2 days or add 500 yen for 3 days)
For 51,400 yen (4,000 from Odawara) this pass offers travellers a return trip from Shinjuku Tokyo in addition to unlimited travel with Hakone and discounted admission to selected museums and attractions. Buying the pass can save visitors 1,350 yen if they plan on seeing multiple attractions in Hakone. Add (1,190 without the HFP) each way for the limited express ‘Romance Car’ travelling directly from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto without the need to transfer at Odawara.
The pass can be purchased online at www.odakyu.jp/english or in person at Shinjuku Station. Look for the ‘Odakyu Sightseeing Service Centre’ on the 1st floor near the West Exit and Odakyu Department Store.
HAKONE ITINERARY SUGGESTION
*All of the following transportation is free/included with the Hakone free pass.
Shinjuku > Odawara > Hakone-Yumoto Train > Hakone Tozan Bus (Red/H line) to OH66 ‘Hotoriya’> walk along Lake Ashi to the Hokone Checkpoint/Sekshiko exhibition hall > catch the bus back the way you came (or walk) through the Ancient Cedar Avenue en route to the Hakone-jinja Shrine.
In Spring walk along a little further past the shrine to enjoy the 3,000 azalea bushes on the banks for Lake Ashi (early to late May). After the Hakone-Jinja Shrine board the Hakone sightseeing cruise (free with Hakone Free Pass) and enjoy views of Mt Fuji on Lake Ashi. *Views only last for the first 10mins so head to the top deck for the best view.
Transfer to the Ubako ropeway from Togendai-ko pier (OH65) and enjoy more views of Mt Fuji. Disembark at Ubako (OH64) to enjoy the onsen/view of Mt Fuji or remain in the cable car all the way to Owakudani (OH63) ‘Hell Valley’. Try the famous black eggs cooked on the sulphur ponds of Owakudani (5 for 500 yen). Each egg is said to prolong your life for 7 years. The car park at Hell Valley offers more spectacular views of Mt Fuji on a clear day.
After your visit to Owakudani board the ropeway to Sounzan (OH62). Transfer again to the Hakone Tozan cable car. In Spring or Fall disembark the cable car at (OH58) to enjoy Hakone Gora Park (free admission with Hakone Free pass). Reboard the cable car or walk 5mins downhill to Gora station and the Hakone Tozan Cable car. There are several souvenir shops/cafes/eateries serving sweets, cake, ramen, sushi, and curry around both Chokoku-no-mori and Gora Station. In Spring transfer to either the orange (M) or sky blue (G) bus to see the cherry blossoms at Miyagino.
At Chokoku-no-mori visitors with the Hakone Free Pass can receive a discounted entry to the Hakone Open Air Museum (1,400 yeah after discount or 1,600).
HAKONE OPEN AIR MUSEUM
Visitors with the Hakone pass can purchase a discounted entry ticket for 1400 yen (200 off regular ticket price). The sizeable museums features a series of outdoor installations and exhibitions. A major feature of the museum is the Picasso exhibit, a two floor exhibition hall showcasing his paintings, sketches, and pottery. If you’re feeling worn out, enjoy the free foot spa a short walk from the Picasso Exhibition.
From Chokoku-no-mori board the Hakone Tozan line once again, if visiting in June or July enjoy the ten thousand hydrangeas that line the track.
At the end of the day some guests opt to refresh themselves at one of Hakone’s famed hot springs.