I have decided to make a trip to Hakone in my last few days in Tokyo. Hakone is one of the day trips which can be done within a day. If you have time, you can always travel slow and stay a night over in Hakone. The trip to Hakone from Tokyo is not exactly short as it takes approximately 2 hours if you opt for the budget options.
I decided to head over to Hakone for 2 days with the usage of the Hakone Free Pass which covers pretty much your round trip from Shinjuku to Hakone and covers unlimited rides on 8 transportation networks in Hakone. The entire journey is tiring as it is a long journey but the breathtaking view in Hakone is definitely worth the trip.
If you are planning a trip to Hakone or looking for day trip from Tokyo, here’s a guide to Hakone.
Trip to Hakone starting from Shinjuku Station
If you have decided to purchase the Hakone Free Pass which is highly encouraged, you will start your journey from Shinjuku Station using the Odakyu Line. The entire journey will take up to approximately 100 minutes to Odawara Station and another 15 more minutes by the Hakone Tozan Line to Hakone Yumoto where your journey begins.
The entire trip is covered under the Hakone Free Pass. You can, however, opt for the premium option by taking the Romance Car which comes at an additional cost. Under this option, the trip will be 75 minutes which is ideal if you are planning for a one day trip.
I am budget conscious and I love to travel slow. Mainly on the budget conscious part. Hence I took the budget options down to Hakone.
Hakone Yumoto is sort of a starting point of the entire trip. Think of it as a base. Hakone attractions are located around Hakone in a circle. You can choose to opt to start on either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. I chose to do it in a clockwise direction. Here’s a quick map on the place.
Hakone Shrine is located approximately 15 minutes walk from the bus drop off point over in Moto-Hakone. You will easily spot the gate as it is located along the shore of Lake Ashi. Do head over early as there will be a huge crowd over at the shrine queuing to get an Instagram worthy shot.
Entrance Fee: Free
How to get there: Once you arrived at Hakone Yumoto, take the Hakone Tozan Bus to Moto-Hakone Port. There are two busses that will head to the port.
Hakone Checkpoint used to be one of the checkpoints linking Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. The checkpoint plays a huge role. First, to control large quantities of weapons coming in and leaving the city as well as regular inspection. The second is to prevent the escaped of the Feudal Lord wives held as hostages.
If you are not interested in the exhibition, there is actually a viewpoint with an incredible view which is only accessible if you paid for the exhibition.
Entrance Fee: 500 yen (400 yen if you have the Hakone Free Pass)
How to get there: It is located approximately 10 minutes walk from Moto Hakone. The opposite direction from Hakone Jinja Shrine.
Once you are done exploring around Moto Hakone, you may board the cruise across Lake Ashiniko to the Togendai-ko where you can access the ropeway. There are 2 places where you can board but if you are exploring around Moto Hakone, you can easily board the ship there. Note that there is an interval within the cruise. Here is the boat schedule depending on where you are coming from.
Cruise Fee: Free if you have the Hakone Free Pass (1,000 yen if you do not have the pass)
How to get there: You will see the cruise at the port in which you first arrived at.
Ropeway to Owakudani
The final stop would be Owakudani. It will be a short ropeway up to Owakudani which is a volcanic valley with active sulphur activities and hot springs in Hakone. The valley is created around 3000 years ago from the explosion of the Hakone volcano.
You will see tons of people working down at the valley but I am not sure what are they up to though. One of the to-do list over at Owakudani is trying out the Kuro-Tamago which is a local speciality. It is technically hard-boiled egg which is boiled in the sulphuric hot spring giving it a black look. There is a saying that eating one will add 7 years to your life.
Entrance Fee: Free if you have Hakone Free Pass
How to get there: The cruise will arrive at Togendai-ko where you may access the Ropeway up to Owakudani.
Back to Hakone Yumoto and Shinjuku
You may head back down to Sounzan Ropeway Station once you are done with the sightseeing. From that station, you can access the Hakone Tozan Cable Car down to Gora. If you are heading back to Tokyo, take the Hakone Tozan Train to Hakone Yumoto and reverse the entire trip like how you first arrived.
There are many other attractions you can visit if you have time to spare but the route I have just laid out are the common route people take in Hakone. Some of the other attractions you can check out are the Hakone Open Air Museum. Also, Hakone is also famous for their onsen which will be a good place to chill after a long day.
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