Under 2 hours away by train, this mountainous town is a popular day-trip from Tokyo.

Being in Hakone felt a lot like exploring Disneyland; think pirate ships, old trains that climb mountains and cable ropeways that hover over misty volcanic valleys. The diversity of landscape almost felt as though everything was carefully planned and sectioned out into the different worlds like in Disneyland.

Hakone to many locals is also a favourite weekend getaway; an onsen town with great views of Mount Fuji as well as old hiking paths lined with 400 year old cedar trees.

If that sounds like your kind of getaway — even if it’s just a quick detour from Tokyo — here’s our guide to a fuss-free day trip in Hakone.

Read also: 10 Day JR Pass itinerary from Tokyo to Osaka for under S$1.1k

Hakone Free Pass

Hakone Free Pass from Odakyu Sightseeing centre - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo

This is the only pass you’ll need to cover all the key sights in Hakone. It comes in a 2-day (¥5140) and 3-day (¥5640) option and includes all the different transport needed to reach the main attractions as well as discounts on certain vendors.

You can order a Hakone Free Pass beforehand through Klook for S$62 and $68 for the 2 and 3 day pass respectively. If it’s your first time using Klook, use the promo code <TTIKLOOK> to enjoy $5 off your Hakone Free Pass!

After ordering, collect your pass from the Odakyu Sightseeing centre at Shinjuku station (8am – 6pm). No printouts needed. Just show the QR code from the Klook app.

If you’re wondering whether the pass is worth it’s value (convenience aside), check out our budget breakdown at the end of the post to find out.

Getting from Tokyo to Hakone

Hakone Tozan Railway - Hakone Day Trip From TokyoBudget 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)

Romance Car to Hakone - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo
Photo credit: Odakyu Electric Railway

If you’d like to skip the transfer at Odawara, you can opt for the Romance car with a top up of ¥890 to your Hakone Free Pass. Those travelling with families or kids might prefer this option since it’s a direct train from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto station. The large windows in some of the trains are also better for sightseeing on the journey from Tokyo to Hakone.

March 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

Hakone Yumoto - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo

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; but many places here close near 5pm anyway.

Map drawn by @Jeromememe

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

Hakone Torii Gate - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

One of the most iconic symbols of Hakone is the grand Torii gate that sits on the edge of Lake Ashinoko. In fact, it’s probably more famous than the shrine itself as it takes a bit of climbing to get to.

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

2) Ancient Cedar Avenue

Hakone Cedar Avenue - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

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.

Amazake Chaya - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo
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 has been serving travellers since the Edo period.

How to get there: From Hakone Yumoto, it’s a 3 minutes walk (opposite direction of the Hakone Shrine). At the other end of the Cedar Avenue is the Old Tokaido Checkpoint.

Bakery and Table soft serve - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo
¥350 for Vanilla soft serve on rusk (toasted honey bread) from Bakery & Table cafe

3) Hakone Old Checkpoint Museum

Hakone Old Checkpoint - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)
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, it’s location and style is a pretty accurate replica of the Edo period.

Hakone Old Checkpoint - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo
Photo credit: Gonzague Gay Bouchery

The checkpoint functions a lot like an immigration point so the wives of the lords don’t escape from Tokyo and 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

Hakone Lake Ashinoko Ship - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

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.

View from Lake Ashinoko - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo
Photo credit: Kentagon

A famous sight on the cruise is the floating Torri 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

Hakone Owakudani - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

This was one of our favourite parts of Hakone. Although the weather was apparently one of the worse while we were there, the thick mist and cool air (which was appreciated since it was a hot summer day) 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 because there’s been an increased activity of volcanic gases it was closed when we were there.

Hot spring at Owakudani - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo
Photo credit:そらみみ

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

Owakudani Black Volcanic EggHakone Day Trip From Tokyo-3 Owakudani Kuro Tamago - Hakone Day Trip From TokyoHonestly they don’t taste very different from regular eggs but can buy a set of 5 kuro-tamago (black hard boiled eggs) for ¥500.

Tamago soft serve from Owakudani - Hakone Day Trip From TokyoAlso try their tamago flavoured ice cream (¥350) which was absolutely delicious and Oden which is perfect for the chilly days.

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

Odawara Castle - Hakone Day Trip From Tokyo

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)

Odawara Kashiden Chirashi Don - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)While you’re in Odawara, stop for dinner dinner at this Michelin Guide Chirashi place which serves a fresh chirashi don at a great value.

*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?

Hakone Free Pass - Hakone Day Trip From TokyoThe short answer is yes.

The longer answer? Here’s the homework done for you. Despite only using the 2-day Hakone Free Pass for a day trip, we saved a total of ¥1820 (~S$23) on top of saving the hassle of purchasing individual tickets. Definitely recommend getting one of these passes if you’re heading to Hakone from Tokyo.

Mode of Transport Cost
Shinjuku – Odawara Odakyu Line ¥880
Odawara – Hakone Yumoto Hakone Tozan Train ¥310
Hakone-Yumoto – Moto-Hakone Hakone Tozan Bus Line H ¥1180
Moto-Hakone – Togendai-ko Sight seeing cruise ¥1000
Togendai-ko – Owakudani Hakone Ropeway ¥1050
Owakudani – Sounzan Hakone Ropeway ¥840
Sounzan – Gora Hakone Tozan Cable Car ¥420
Gora – Hakone Yumoto Hakone Tozan Train ¥400
Hakone Yumoto – Odawara Hakone Tozan Train ¥310
Odawara – Shinjuku Odakyu Line ¥880
Total: ¥6960

 

Hope you found this Hakone Travel Guide useful! If it’s your first time ordering through Klook, use the promo code <TTIKLOOK> for $5 off your purchase.


This post was brought to you by Klook.

ENFP and Co-founder of The Travel Intern. Fuelled by yoga, the outdoors, and anything that spells adventure, she quit her 4 year marketing job to explore yoga for 3 months in India. Back with a little more flexibility, zest for adventures and stories to tell, follow her adventures on Instagram @cheriesyw :)

55 COMMENTS

  1. Hello! I find your guide really useful! Thank you 🙂
    Can I check if I purchase the free pass from Klook, how do I upgrade it to Romancecar?

  2. Hello, I have a question. Does the Hakone Pass include roundtrip from Tokyo to Hakone and Hakone back to Tokyo or will I need to purchase separate fare?

    Thanks!

  3. We have a 14 day JR pass. We will be starting from Tokyo for 5 nights. We have a place to stay in Hakone for 1 night before we start to go Kanazawa for 2 nights then to Kyoto/Osaka for 5 nights.
    So we are flying in from Los Angeles to Haneda and then flying out from Osaka back to Los Angeles.
    Do we still need to buy a pass for Hakone even if we are only there 1 day/night?
    How do we get from Hakone to Kanazawa?

    • Hi Vicky! The JR Pass doesn’t cover internal transport within Hakone. If you are only visiting 1 or 2 places within Hakone you probably don’t need the pass. But if you are travelling from Tokyo to Hakone and want to see many things within Hakone, getting the pass makes sense. It’ll also help when you are leaving Hakone on Day 2.

    • Hi Cara, yes there’s a bus from Hakone-Yumoto that goes to Sounzan in 20-30minutes but I’m not sure if the Hakone Free Pass covers that bus. Perhaps you could inquire again at the station.

  4. Hi Cherie, thank you for your useful guide! We have a 7-day JR Pass. We’ll be in Tokyo first for 5-days and then we’ll make our way south, first stop being Hakone. We’re thinking of purchasing the Hakone Free Pass to travel from Shinjuku to Hakone and use the Hakone Free Pass during our time in Hakone. Then the following day, we’ll start using our JR Pass for the rest of our trip south. Do you know if it is possible for us to start using the JR Pass from Hakone? Thanks!

    • Yup! You can take the JR train from Odawara station onwards but remember to collect your pass before leaving Tokyo! You can ask for the pass to be activated on a later date when you collect it from the JR office

  5. Hi Cherie,

    Great blog! I hope you don’t mind me asking.
    So I’ve managed to book my family, tickets to Hakone Yumoto. We’ll be arriving at 12:24. Now I have two sets of returning tickets. And this is where my dilemma is! Tickets A: leaves at 16:28 but they are front observation deck seats! Ticket B: leaves at 17:28 but they are rear observation decks. Can I do Hakone ( both trains in the mountains, ropeway, pirate ship and then the bus back( or taxi if it helps) all in 4 hours time? Or will we be scrambling? Of course, the usual me would say, take the safe route and go for the 17:28 return so we’re not stressed. But we managed to book front observation deck seats, which I’m hesitant to let go! My kids both love trains and this would be a once in a life time trip! What do you think?

  6. Hi Cherie!

    Your post save me a hassle from planning from scratch! However i’m confused a little. With the Hakone Free Pass, does it include 2 ways transports back to Shinjuku via Romance car (top up of 890 per way)?

  7. Hi, we just spent our weekend in Hakone and this entry served as our guide. Thank you so much!

    PS. now we add ¥1090/one way if we want to ride the romance car. 🙂

  8. Does the Hokane pass covers departure from Tokyo Station to Hakone Yumoto Station (via Odawara station) or must be from Shinjuku Station? Can I collect Pass in Singapore instead of Odakyu Sightseeing centre ?

    • Hey Mag,

      Yes, you will need to validate your Hakone pass at Shinjuku station.

      Unfortunately, Odakyu is the only place you can collect the pass at the moment (even if you’re buying it direct).

  9. Hi Cherie,

    Did you see many people use the clockwise route instead? Having read on tripadvisor, people seem to get caught up with all the queues for the ropeway. I take it if you end up circling the other way though, would you avoid a lot of the queues?

    Thanks!
    Kevin

    • Do you mean they get caught up if they visited the ropeway early in the morning or towards the end of the day? We did the clockwise route and didn’t face a lot of crowds most of the way but felt it was a bit of a rush trying to reach Owakudani before it closes at 4PM. I guess there’s equal pros and cons to each. Perhaps the best way to avoid this would be aiming to visit Hakone during off peak seasons? 😛

      • Thanks Cherie. Understandable. We are thinking of getting into Hakone early in the morning. What time did you leave Tokyo/Shinjuku?

        We are spending the night in Gora and have hotsprings to enjoy there. We will leave Hakone for Kyoto on the second morning.

        How would you recommend how we best spend our time? Because of the “loop” we’re not sure how we should spend our time! We were thinking of doing the anti-clockwise loop to get access to the ropeway etc. and owakudani (most likely with everyone else!). If the ropeway or owakudani is closed though, we’ll go clockwise. We were thinking of using the second morning to quickly explore the Hakone-Yumoto STN and Odawara before leaving.

        • Cool! Really wished we stayed overnight for the onsens too.

          Perhaps you could cover the sights clockwise until the end of the Lake Ashinoko cruise then take a bus from Togendai-ko station towards Gora to relax at your Ryokan. The next morning from Gora, take the anti-clockwise route towards Owakudani (try to arrive right when it first opens at 9AM). If you take it slow, you can probably spend around 2-3 hours here before returning to Tokyo in the afternoon.

  10. Hi—Are there specific times to get all transportation with the pass or is it an open pass to get rides to Hakone and on the lake cruise and then back to Shinjuku? And even though it’s a 2-day pass, I can do this all in one day?? Thanks!

    • Not too sure if I understand your question but most of the transport in Hakone are quite regular, except for the cruise (every 30mins if I remember right!). And yes! It’s definitely possible to finish them in 1-day if you start early. But definitely more enjoyable if you spend a night to enjoy the onsens! 🙂

    • Hey Asyaraf! Looks like they were out of stock a few days back due to increase interest but Klook has restocked it and the link works fine now 🙂

  11. Hi what time did you guys arrive at hakone station to start the adventure? I plan on taking the route to the shrine first, then to checkpoint. how do I get from the check point to take the cruise near the shrine boat harbor?

    • We arrived around 9AM cus that’s when stuff generally opens although I think it wouldn’t hurt to have arrived a little earlier and have the famous torii gate all to ourselves for pictures 😛 There was already a queue when we got there around 9:30AM.

      From the checkpoint, I think there’s a bus you can take for 1-2 stops but we decided to walk instead. It’s only slightly more than 1km to get to the MotoHakone pier and quite refreshing to walk through a portion of the Cedar forest 🙂

  12. Hello! Thank you for this; I’m researching for my trip to Japan in June and found this helpful. May I know if Klook still sells the Hakone pass though? I clicked the link above but it did not direct me to the relevant website.

    • Also, we will be travelling to Hakone when we land at Narita airport in the morning, then staying at Hakone for 2 nights, before travelling to Shinjuku on our third day in Japan. Could you kindly advise if we should get the Hakone free pass from Shinjuku or Odawara? Which is more cost-efficient?
      Thank you (:

      • Sorry, not too sure about this. We travelled to and from Tokyo to Hakone so it definitely made sense for us to get the pass from Shinjuku. Perhaps you could compare the prices on Hyperdia.com?

        If you’re getting the pass from Odawara, you could activate your JR Pass (if you have it) after Hakone since that will cover your ride from Odawara to Shinjuku.

  13. Hi Cherie, i’ve read in the internet that the Odakyu Office in Shinjuku opens at 8 am only. Does this mean that we cannot leave early to Hakone? We plan of purchasing the Hakone free pass. Thank you

  14. Hi Cherie,
    We plan to go to Osaka and stay for 6 days /5 nights, then travel to Tokyo (on the 6th day )for 4 days/3 nights and return to Osaka (on the 9the day )for another 4 days /3 nights (and leave on the 12th day). During the first part of Osaka trip, we plan to travel to Kyoto for 4 days (taking day trips), and during the Tokyo trip, we plan to go on day trips to Hakone, etc. Upon returning to Osaka on the last leg of our trip, we plan to visit Nara and Kobe. I am planning to activate the JR pass from the day we travel from Osaka to Tokyo, use it in Tokyo, and back to Osaka and eventually using it for the airport ride to Osaka KIX. Do you think it’s a good idea? We can use the ICOCA during our first few days in Osaka (to Kyoto), correct? Thanks .

  15. Will Hakone be luggage friendly? Not planning to go back to Tokyo but will proceed west wards after that. I suppose if I choose a hotel near the lake, I should go straight to the hotel first, then start the “loop” from there.

    • Hi Speck, it’s pretty luggage friendly. But if you do not want to carry your bags around, you can consider leaving them at the station lockers?

      • So you mean put main luggage in locker and check into my hotel with just a travel bag containing just essentials?

    • Hi Anon,
      You can take the Hakone Ropeway from Owakudani to Souzan Station, and take a bus from there. It’s easier to ask them about the bus on the spot!

  16. Hi, Where did you eat your lunch in Hakone?
    Any other restaurant recommendation near Odawara aside from Odawara Chirashi?

    • Unfortunately we didn’t get to experience one in Hakone 🙁

      Anyone else with recommendations? Would love to hear of them!

  17. Hi Cherie,

    I am travelling in end Nov to Japan for 10days. My itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1: Osaka
    Day 2: Osaka
    Day 3: USS
    Day 4: Nara day trip
    Day 5: kyoto day trip, then take night bus to lake Kawaguchi
    Day 6: Lake Kawaguchi
    Day 7: Hakone
    Day 8: Tokyo
    Day 9: Tokyo
    Day 10: Disneysea

    How do you think of this? Should I get a JR pass?

    • You must really love theme parks! 😉 Are you planning to catch your flight back in Osaka? If you are then definitely get a JR pass! If not, a single ticket will be much cheaper for this itinerary.

  18. Hi! We are planning to have a day tour from Tokyo to Hakone. Is it advisable to get the 2-day Hakone Pass? or there is also 1 day Hakone Pass?

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