Perfect plan for 1 night and 2 days in Hakone! Do it all in this super popular area only 90 minutes away from Shinjuku!
From Shinjuku Station take the Odakyu Limited Express Romance Car for about 90 minutes to Hakone which is conveniently located and has loads of fantastic attractions like famous high quality onsen (hot springs), astounding views of Mt. Fuji, powerful scenes of the hot spring source volcanic area of Owakudani (Great Boiling Valley), and so on. Actually, there are far too many things to see and no way to possibly see it all in just two days! Most Japanese haven’t even seen it all. While most people will say after their visit, “I’ll definitely come back soon” such an endeavor isn’t so easily undertaken. So let’s find the best plan to let us see as much as we can within the short but valuable time we have. For those whom this is the case, the “Hakone Free Pass” will be your best friend.
One of the great secrets about Hakone is that even without a car it’s easy to get around to all the popular sightseeing spots. All of the main spots are connected by bus, boat, and cable car allowing one to go around them all and arrive safely back at the main Hakone Yumoto Station. But these are all highly visited tourist spots and the means of transportation are by no means cheap. Depending on the amount of times you get on and off at the sightseeing spots, it can cost up to 10,000 yen if you’re trying to see a lot. On the other hand, those limiting their sights to only Hakone Yumoto, Owakudani, and the Hakone Open Air Museum in order to save money are surely losing out on seeing some of the best sights in Hakone. That’s why we recommend this pass for those who want to get around and see as much possible for an affordable price. Moreover, you can get on and off of whatever means of transportation as much as you like in two full days. It’s an all-you-can-ride party! You can buy the tickets at Shinjuku for 5,150 yen. (If you’re riding the Odakyu Romance Car, it will cost an additional 890 yen for the express and reserved seat tickets. If you don’t ride the Romance Car then for the price of 5,150 yen, round trip tickets from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto Onsen are included.) For those who want to take a little more time to relax, there is also a three-day plan for 5,640 yen! For more information check out the official website! ⇒ Official Website
When arriving at Hakone Yumoto Station, first head to the entrance of the Hakone tourist information center!
From Hakone Yumoto Station, first take a bus headed for Moto-Hakone on the Hakone-Kyukaido Line for 25 minutes. When you get off at the Amazake-jaya bus stop, you can see an old, traditional, thatched-roof teahouse. As a matter of fact, this amazake-jaya (amazake teahouse) was used in the 1600s to soothe the stress of passing travelers with refreshing drinks.
Amazake is a warm, non-alcoholic drink made from the same ingredients as nihon-shu (more commonly known as sake, or rice wine). Enjoy the charm of this old teahouse that has continued for 13 generations by trying some of its simple amazake (400 yen), iced matcha (powdered green tea), and famous chikaramochi (a treat made from glutinous rice that is steamed, pounded into a paste and charcoal roasted.) Just like travelers of old, enjoy your refreshments outside or around the traditional hearth inside.
Address: 395-1 Hatajuku, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町畑宿395-1）
Phone No.: +81-460-83-6418
Open: 7:00 – 17:30
Open all year round
From the Amazake-jaya bus stop get back on a bus headed for Moto-Hakone for 10 minutes. Get off at Moto-Hakone bus stop and check out the stellar view of Lake Ashi!
Weather permitting you can get fabulous views of magnificent Mt. Fuji rising above the lake. Talk about a place for a picture! The red gate located on the right is the “Peace Gate” of Hakone Shrine. From here, it just takes 10 min towards the shrine.
During low tide, you can walk right up to the base of the gates.
Head down the path lined by towering cedar trees and up the mystical stairway towards the main hall. Looking back, you’ll be spellbound by the red gate protruding from the surface of the lake!
Address: 80-1 Motohakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町元箱根80−1）
Phone No.: +81-460-83-7123
Open: 8:00 – 17:00
When you head back to Moto-Hakone, it’s time to enjoy a scenic lunch. In the 3F restaurant of “Bakery & Table Hakone” with open kitchens, you can get sweeping views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi as well as Hakone Shrine making you feel like you’re right in the middle of a fantastic picture. Get some delicious bread from the bakery that’s managed directly by the restaurant which goes great with the Italian themed dishes such as sandwiches and galette made from fresh high quality ingredients making for a delicious meal!
If you’re still not so hungry then we recommend the adjoining cafe. Here you can enjoy a light snack and drink sitting before the majestic views while soaking your feet in a small hot foot bath.
Bakery & Table Hakone（Bakery & Table 箱根）
Address: 9-1 Moto-hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町元箱根字御殿9-1）
Phone No.: +81-460-85-1530
Open: 11:00 – 18:00 (last order 17:00)
From the Moto-Hakone bus stop, ride a bus on the Hakone-machi Line for 4 minutes. Get off at the Onshi-koen-mae stop and after a two minutes’ walk, you’ll enter a time warp to ancient Japan at the “Hakone Sekisho.” It’s only about a 14-minute walk from Moto-Hakone, so if you’re in the mood for a stroll then go ahead and enjoy the fresh air.
The Hakone Sekisho was a station located on the border of the local feudal domain inspecting incoming and outgoing travelers for criminal behavior. You could say it’s like modern day airport immigration. During those times, travel for women was especially strict, and so there was a special pass required of women on which was written the specific details of and items held on their journey which was checked unsparingly. If information didn’t match adequately then passage would be refused. They even made women undo their bound up hair for thorough checks! The authorities also carefully controlled the passage of arms, and incurred investigations to make even innocent travelers tremble on their way through the station. Inside the facilities, you can see just how strenuous travel was for people during these times from elaborate exhibits which shouldn’t be missed by those with an interest in the life of samurai and Japanese history.
（Source：left オーディオ美音倶楽部, right 和田フォトギャラリー）
If you have good timing, you may even get to see a short play. Who would ever want to be so thoroughly investigated on their journey?
Address: 1 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町箱根1）
Phone No.: +81-460-83-6635
Admission: Adults 500 yen (400 yen if you present a Hakone Free Pass) children 250 yen (150 yen if you present a Hakone Free Pass)
Open: 9:00 – 17:00 / From December to February 9:00 – 16:30 *last entry 30 minutes before closing time
Just a short walk away from the Hakone Sekisho is the Hakone-machi Port from which you can sail on a gorgeous pirate ship all you want for free, if you have the Hakone Free Pass! Though the sea journey only takes 10 minutes on this elegant ship to Togendai Port where the ropeway station is located, you can enjoy the picturesque scenes of Hakone Shrine’s red gate and Mt. Fuji if the weather is nice. The timetable changes slightly from season to season, so be sure to check the official website before your trip.
Address: 161 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町箱根161）
Phone No.: +81-460-83-7550
When you get off the ship at Togendai Port, it’s a 1-minute walk to the ropeway platform. From there get on the ropeway and head for Owakudani! The best part of this trip is looking out across the vast scenery from the large windows of the gondola. Weather permitting, you can get huge up close views of Mt. Fuji!
Definitely be sure to check out the views from the windows between Ubako and Owakudani Stations. The scenes of gas rising from the rock beds pack quite a punch. What you see is the work of the volcano creating geothermal steam. This is where the famous hot spring water gushes out from for the heavenly onsen of Hakone!
Hakone Ropeway Togendai Station（箱根ロープウェイ桃源台駅）
Address: Moto-hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町元箱根）
Phone No.: +81-465-32-2205 (9:00 – 17:00) *On weekends and holidays, call +81-460-84-2566 (9:00 – 17:00)
What you find at Owakudani is the remnants of the Kamiyama crater which was created by the last great explosion of the Hakone volcano around 3,000 years ago. Here you can feel the force of volcanic activity form the white gas that rises out from the desolate earth. In the 1600s, the place was said to look just like hell and so was often called “Jigoku-dani” (“Hell Valley”), a unique scene that still continues to draw large numbers of visitors to the area every year.
There is a walking promenade that allows you to get right next to the volcanic fumes. The smell of the hydrogen sulfide white steam billowing out from the craggy rocks is intense!
From Owakudani, you can hear the onsen water bubbling forth. If you’re hungry you can get some delicious black eggs, boiled in the sulfurous water! (500 yen for 5 eggs)
Since ancient times, it’s been said that eating one of these eggs adds seven years to your life, so why not go ahead and give it a try.
（Source：Do little & Think a lot）
Address: Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町仙石原）
Phone No.: +81-465-32-2205 (9:00 – 17:00) *On weekends and holidays, call +81-460-84-2566 (9:00 – 17:00)
Next, head on the ropeway to Sounzan. There you will change lines to the Hakone Tozan cable car. Here, you can see up close the incredibly steep slopes of the mountains in Hakone! It’s at times like these you get to appreciate the value of the Hakone Free Pass by getting around Hakone on all the various forms of transportation.
For accommodation, we recommend the ryokan (traditional inn) at Gora Onsen located near Gora Station on the Hakone Tozan Railway! This onsen village is popular due to its close proximity to Owakudani and high quality hot spring water. There are many well-known high class ryokan in the area like the most renowned, “Gora Kadan” which costs 60,000 yen for one person in a two person room for one night including two meals, but there are of course more affordable options available! Go ahead and find which inn works best with your budget.
The “Yamadaya: Shirayu no Yado” is well known for its barrel onsen baths that overflow with Gora’s famous cloudy white hot spring water and offers a free courtesy bus to and from Gora Station and rooms from 13,000 yen per person for one night in a two-person room with two meals.
Address: 1320-907 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町強羅1320-907）
Phone No.: +81-460-82-2641
◆Hakone Gora Onsen Suikokan
The Gora Onsen Suikokan is located next to one of the popular tourist attractions of Hakone, Gora Park, for which entrance is free upon staying in one of the rooms which start from 13,000 yen per person in a two-person room including two meals. There is even a special entrance to Gora Park from the inn which makes you feel like you’re walking through one of its own private gardens!
Hakone Gora Onsen Suikokan（箱根強羅温泉 翠光館）
Address: 1300 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町強羅1300）
Phone No.: +81-460-82-3351
Head to the Hakone Open-air Museum on the Hakone Tozan Railway! This is considered the number one spot foreign travelers are glad they visited on their trip to Hakone according to various websites. And no wonder! One can observe and interact with the many giant, beautiful works of art that are placed throughout the vast outdoor grounds of the museum. It’s really easy to get carried away and spend a lot of time here. 2 or 3 hours will go by in a flash.
The “Symphonic Sculpture” is one space that will suck you into its own world of color!
There are also some spaces for hands on interaction. This is art too! “Soap Bubble Castle” is just like the name suggests, a giant structure to play around in that it makes you feel like you’re in soap bubbles. Don’t they look just like the soap bubbles you used to blow as a kid? Not only kids but adults as well can get carried away exploring this inventive structure.
Hakone Open-air Museum（彫刻の森美術館）
Address: 1121 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町二ノ平1121）
Phone No.: +81-460-82-1161
Open: 9:00 – 17:00
Admission: 1,600 yen
After you’ve played around at the Hakone Open-air Museum, it’s time to get on the Hakone Tozan Railway and head towards Miyanoshita Station. Soon you’ll arrive at the fashionable retro streets built in 1878 around the Fujiya Hotel which was the first resort hotel opened in Japan. This is Japan’s symbolic classic hotel. The hotel was opened to cater to foreign guests and has received famous guests like Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin! For those who think that this may be a little too extravagant to stay the night, just drop by the restaurant for lunch! All of the restaurants around here are extremely popular so be sure to get reservations. On the premises, one can see beautiful gardens and buildings officially registered as important cultural assets like the main building built in 1891 and the Flower Palace built in 1936.
For those who are looking for Japanese cuisine, we recommend having lunch at the Kikka-so which was originally built as a villa for the Imperial household in 1895. Hakone Yosegi-zen lunches are offered in elaborate wooden containers made in the famous style of Yosegi-zaiku craftsmanship for 3,500 yen. For such high level dining in such a beautiful environment, it’s quite a deal!
For Westerners who visited Japan 140 years ago at the Fujiya Hotel’s main dining area, “the Fujiya,” French cuisine was combined with Japanese to make yo-shoku or Western-style food which is nothing less than fantastic here! The intricate and warm, wooden Japanese traditional architecture combined with elements of classical European design here were made to impress VIP visitors from all over the world. This is a place we definitely don’t want you to miss on your trip to Hakone. Even if you don’t go for the extravagant full course, you can still get fabulous dishes a la carte like the Fujiya Hotel’s conventional beef curry (2,290 yen) and beef stew (3,430 yen) to enjoy in this luxurious atmosphere.
Hakone Fujiya Hotel（箱根富士屋ホテル）
Address: 359 Miyanoshita, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町宮ノ下359）
Phone No.: +81-460-82-2211
Lunch Hours: Differs slightly between restaurants. Please check the official website.
Time to get back on the Hakone Tozan Railway bound for Tonosawa Station. Great highlights continue on the train between Miyanoshita and Tonosawa stations. Through the high mountains, the train zigzags performing switchbacks and runs across the oldest railway bridge in Japan over the Haya River which lays in the gorge 45 meters below making for outstanding views that get your heart pumping.
From late June to early July, one can see beautiful views on the nationwide famous Hydrangea Train that runs through the mountains dyed in the beautiful colors of blooming hydrangeas.
Located at only a 3-minute walk from Tonosawa Station is the top class traditional inn, “Hakone Yuryo” onsen where you can enjoy a soak in the hot springs until evening.
Not only do they have large communal and outdoor baths, but also private outdoor baths you can rent and enjoy all to yourself (reservations required, 3,900 yen per hour) relaxing all the way to the very end of your journey.
Even if you don’t stay in the private rooms, you can get your fill of traditional Japanese ambiance in the tatami resting rooms in the onsen facilities. Please go ahead and let yourself sink into the fabulous experience of these famous hot springs in Hakone.
Address: 4 Tonosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町塔之澤４）
Phone No.: +81-460-85-8411
Open: 10:00 – 20:00 last entry (weekends and holidays 10:00 – 21:00 last entry)
Admission: 1,400 yen (additional fee required if purchasing bath towel for 450 yen and face towel for 250 yen). Additional cost for private baths
From Hakone Yuryo head towards Hakone Yumoto Eki-mae on the free shuttle bus. At the shopping arcade, you can find tons of fabulous Hakone souvenirs and goods!
Hakone Castella Cooked Manju
Go ahead and try the gentle taste of these soft-steamed buns made from egg with white sweet bean paste in the center. Come get them hot from the oven!
Address: 706-17 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町湯本706-17）
Phone No.: +81-460-85-5036
Open: 8:00 – 19:00 (Weekends and holidays) 8:00 – 20:00
Closed: Thursdays (and days following national holidays)
Evangelion fans check this out!
Here is a shop dedicated to the world-renowned Neon Genesis Evangelion. Enjoy some Evangelion colored ice cream after your visit to the onsen made from green matcha and purple sweet potato flavors. Go ahead and grab some Hakone limited edition souvenirs for your friends.
Address: 707-1 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町湯本707−1）
Phone No.: +81-460-85-9881
Open: 9:00 – 18:00
No weekly set holidays
Kamoboko (boiled fish paste) is sold all over Japan, but there’s none like that of the fried kamoboko at “Kagoya Seijiro.” You can find all kinds of popular flavors like sardine, shrimp, and vegetable all made from a wide variety of ingredients!
Address: 701 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa（神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町湯本701）
Phone No.: +81-460-83-8411
Open: 9:00 – 18:00 (Weekends and holidays 9:00 – 19:00)
The last Romance Car back to Shinjuku is at 19:00, so let’s not get too carried away shopping and miss the train!
Time: About 34 hours
Budget: About 27,000 yen *not including money used at shops and stores
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IKIDANE NIPPON Editor Senior Travel Writers