If you’re staying in the Tokyo area and would like to take a break from the city or just fancy an adventure, then consider adding Hakone to the list of places to visit! Have a look at this Hakone itinerary and the most efficient and cost-effective way to travel around Hakone.
Hakone, located at the Fuji-Hakone-Izu national park is a famous place to visit in Japan for amazing hot springs, scenic views and natural beauty.
Hakone is one of the most popular locations to visit for both Japanese and foreign travellers!
The Hakone Freepass is a money-saving pass that allows for unlimited rides within the Hakone area.
This means you can take all the designated transport options to visit all the sites, without the worry of tallying up a huge cost at the end of the trip!
On top of the coverage of different transportation options, the Hakone freepass comes with varying discounts at shops, attractions and other locations during your trip.
Depending on the pace you want to travel at, it is possible to choose between either a 2-day option and a 3-day pass.
|2 days||3 days|
|From Shinjuku||Adult: 6,100yen, Child: 1,100yen||Adult: 6,500yen, Child: 1,350yen|
|From Odawara||Adult: 5,000yen, Child: 1,000yen||Adult: 5,400yen, Child: 1,250yen|
Here are the things that are included in your Hakone Free Pass:
1. Round trip ticket
- A discounted round-trip ticket on the Odakyu Lines is included. This is between either Shinjuku station to Hakone-yumoto station, or Odawara station to Hakone-yumoto station.
2. Transportation lines that are covered by Hakone freepass:
- Hakone Tozen Train
- Hakone Tozan Cable Car
- Hakone Ropeway
- Hakone Sightseeing Cruise
- Hakone Tozan Bus (designated areas)
- Odakyu Highway Bus (designated areas)
- Tokai Bus (designated areas)
- Hakone Tozan Bus (Tourist Attraction Sightseeing Bus)
3. Special Offers and Discounts
- Hakone Yuryo
- Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun
- The Hakone Open Air Museum
- Hakone-jinja shrine（Treasure Museum）
- Hakone Gora Park
- Owakudani-eki Shokudo
- Mishima Skywalk
For more information about the Hakone Freepass, you can check this link.
So let’s take a look at some of the places you can visit on your trip!
From Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto Station
If you are based in central Tokyo, an easy way to get to Hakone Yumoto station is to depart from Shinjuku station. You can use the Hakone Freepass all the way from Shinjuku.
Shinjuku station gives you easy access to the Odakyu Line. On this line you are able to take the Rapid-express train or the Romance car to Hakone-Yumoto station.
There a few different ways to get to Hakone-Yumoto station from Shinjuku station. Here are a couple of options:
- Romance car (2,460yen) goes directly from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto station and it will take roughly 1.5 hour
- Take Odakyu Line from Shinjuku to Odawara, then change to Hakone-Yumoto station. Depending on the train, it takes roughly 2 hours and costs around 1,260yen
From Odawara station to Hakone-Yumoto Station
Besides getting the Hakone Freepass and departing from Shinjuku, you can also get the pass from Odawara Station.
After reaching Odawara station, you need to take the Hakone Tozan Line to reach the next station Hakone-Yumoto. From this point onwards, your Hakone freepass can be used for all transport during your journey. This will become the starting point for your adventure.
Take Hakone Tozan Train to Gora
The first leg of the journey, from Hakone Yumoto to Gora you are traversing the mountainside on one of Japan’s few mountain railways. On this route, you can enjoy the scenery of the mountain and feel the increased altitude as the train climbs steep slopes.
On this journey, the train uses something called a switchback method, in which the train zigzags up the slopes. A switchback is when the conductor and the driver switch places, this happens 3 times over the route.
You can see gorgeous seasonal beauty on the railway. Hakone Tozan railway is also known as the ‘Hydrangea train’ as in mid-june, the hydrangea bloom and can be seen throughout the journey up the railway!
Optional: The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Here is an optional visit, the Hakone Open-air museum!
Opened in 1969, The Hakone Open Air Museum is Japan’s first open-air sculpture museum. Surrounded by greenery, the museum’s 70,000-square-meter garden exhibits approximately 120 works by famous Japanese and foreign artists, including Henry Moore.
At the far end of the museum is the Picasso Pavilion, where 319 pieces of Picasso’s collection, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, are sequentially on display. Other hands-on artworks, such as the Net Forest, are also available for visitors with young children.
The “Symphony of Happiness Sculpture,” consisting of brightly coloured stained glass and a spiral staircase in the centre. It is very popular as it looks great on social media. There is also a café and restaurant on the premises, which is a great place to stop by between tours. This is a museum that can be enjoyed by anyone, including families and friends.
Definitely worth a visit if you would like to take a relaxed stroll through nature and capture some incredible photos.
Take Hakone Tozan Cable Car to Owakudani
After arriving at Gora, the next point of transport is the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. The cable car connects Gora to Sounzan and climbs an altitude of 209 metres, covering a distance of 1.2 kilometres in around 10 minutes.
It is the most convenient way to travel up from Gora, including 4 stops on the way.
Owakudani was formed about 3,000 years ago at the site of the eruptive crater of Mount Kamiyama, a Hakone volcano. Visitors with respiratory problems or those with heart problems should exercise caution when visiting.
The famous gourmet food is “Kuro-tamago (black eggs),” which is said to “prolong your life for 7 years if you eat one. The black-shelled boiled eggs made from the heat of the hot springs are also famous as souvenirs.
Take Hakone Ropeway to Togendai Lake
One of the most breathtaking moments you will have during this entire journey. The Hakone ropeway is the world’s second-longest cable car, transporting up to 13 people at a time. The Hakone ropeway offers a full view of Owakudani, Hakones most famous spot.
Here you will travel through the mountains passing over sulphur steam produced by the volcano. If you are lucky, on a clear day you will also then enjoy a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji.
Take Hakone Sightseeing cruise across Lake Ashi
Here is something you may recognise. As part of the Hakone Freepass, you now need to cross Lake Ashi. This is done by boarding a pirate ship! Over approximately 25-40 minutes, you will cruise over the lake from Togendai-ko to Hakone-machi-ko.
The sightseeing on this ship is truly spectacular, with views of the laketop torii gate at Hakone-jinja shrine with Mt.Fuji in the background in prime view. For an additional charge, you can also go into the special room on the ship, wich is great if you want to avoid crowds and get a view from the front of the ship.
Now you may have seen it while you were travelling on the lake, but now it’s time to stop by and get a closer look. Visit Hakone-jinja shrine, an incredible landmark that dates back to the year 757.
Hakone-jinja shrine is famous for its history of worshippers visiting to pray for safe travels. Additionally, it is known for military commanders devotedly worshipping the shrine. Many monthly and seasonal festivals are held at this shrine.
Take Hakone Tozan Bus back to Hakone-Yumoto Station
Now comes the final stretch of this incredible journey. Take the Hakone Tozan Bus back to Hakone-Yumoto Station. The Hakone Tozan bus is also named the ‘Sightseeing bus’. This bus operates over a large area of Hakone, and connects to many hotels and ryokans.
If you are feeling like winding down after your journey around Hakone, take a stop off at one of the popular onsens such as Tenzan Onsen or Hakone Yuryo right before you reach Hakone-Yumoto station!
An amazing adventure through the mountainous region of Hakone with plenty to see. From traditional shrines and hot springs, to views of Mount Fuji, Hakone has a lot to offer.
Hakone uses some of the most interesting forms of transport, all with a focus on sightseeing. While using the Hakone freepass, you can take advantage of this journey in the most cost-efficient way!