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 almost 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 with 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 each attraction and discounts to some certain attractions as well as shopping.

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 <KLOOKTTI> to enjoy $5 off your Hakone Free Pass!

After ordering, don’t forget to 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.

Check out Klook’s latest Year End Promo for $100 off your Japan essentials (Hakone Pass included)!

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, take the Hakone Yuzan train to 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

Top up ¥890 on top of your Hakone Free Pass to ride the Romance car. Those travelling with families or kids might prefer this option since it brings you straight from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto without having to transfer at Odawara. The large windows in some of the trains are also better for sightseeing on the journey from Tokyo to Hakone.

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, here’s how to cover the clockwise route 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 <KLOOKTTI> for $5 off your purchase.

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e.g
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7D Whole Japan JR Pass —$338
7-days of WiFi — $28
Tokyo Skyliner — $27
Total: $457

More info at Klook’s Year End Promo Page.

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 :)

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