Dubbed as Venice of Japan, anyone who has visited Hakone has to utter “how wonderful Hakone is”. As a west mountainous area of Tokyo, part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone town is a wonderful destination with a lot of enchanting landscapes. In addition, Hakone is best known for its numerous Onsen (hot springs), especially the resorts located along the hot streams that have been in existence for a long time. You can spend day trip to explore Hakone or spend a few days staying in Hakone from Tokyo.
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So, is Hakone worth visiting? Yes, definitely! Let’s discover one of the most beautiful destinations of Japan through our Hakone travel blog (Hakone blog) with the fullest Hakone travel guide (Hakone guide) for a great trip on a budget to Hakone for the first time and suggested 2 days in Hakone (Hakone 2 day itinerary) perfectly from how to get there, where to stay, best places to visit and what to do in Hakone below.
Hakone is a suburban town about 100km away from Tokyo, famous for being one of the most beautiful spots to viewing Mount Fuji – the symbolic mountain of Japan, with its majestic natural landscape, rivers and mountains, and one more special things that makes Hakone famous is … onsen baths. Surely, when you learn about Japan, you also have heard about the onsen bath – it is the natural hot spring bath in Japanese style. Natural hot water is usually slightly turbid, smells strange and has many minerals that are good for health, so you will feel relaxed and extremely comfortable after soaking in the warm water though in any season. Onsen bathing will be one of the interesting experiences when visiting the land of the rising sun.
Hakone travel guide: When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Hakone is usually in the autumn or cherry blossom season. However, these are two seasons with a lot of tourists as well as the costs will often be higher, especially on weekends. Therefore, to save money for the Hakone trip. You can still choose autumn as well as cherry blossom season but should go on weekdays instead of weekends!
If you want to climb Mount Fuji, you should go in the summer because Mount Fuji is only open to visit in July and August of the year. Moreover, the cost of traveling to Hakone is often cheaper in the summer.
Hakone travel blog: How to get to Hakone from Tokyo and getting around Hakone?
You can catch Limited Express Romancer Super Hakone train to Hankone from Tokyko, no need to tranfers along the way. The train is very comfortable, offering a cafe corner and spacious bathrooms, you also can buy drinks and snacks and enjoy a relaxing trip. Travel time from Shinjuku station to Hakone-Yumoto Station is about 85 minutes. The ticket price for adults is 2.080 yen. Because it is a Limited train, you must reserve tickets in advance, tickets can be purchased at the counter at Shinjuku station, purchased through ticket vending machines, or purchased online here. Tickets can also be reserved by phone: + 81-3-3481-0066.
You can also catch a local train to Hakone from Tokyo, a little longer but cheaper.
First take a express train of the Odakyu Line to reach Odawara Station. The trip will take about 90 to 95 minutes.
Next, change the trains to Odakyu’s Hakone Tozan Line and continue riding for about 15 minutes, until you reach Hakone-Yumoto Station. The total fare from Shinjuku to Hakone is 1.190 yen. You can buy tickets at Odakyu’s ticket counter at Shinjuku station or automatic ticket machines.
Tip: To get to Hakone, the most convenient and economical way is to use Hakone Free Pass from Odakyu (if you plan visit Hakone for many days), there are 2 types: Hakone 2 Day Pass, with price of 5.140 yen and Hakone 3 Day Pass, with price of 5.640 yen. With these Passes, you can use to go round trip from Tokyo (Shinjuku Station) to Odawara, from here go to the points in Hakone, and use Hakone Pass you can use unlimited means of transport in Hakone, including: train, bus, boat, cable car … In addition, you can get discounts at many hot springs, museums, restaurants and other locations, you only need to give the Hakone Pass out. Passes can be purchased at stations of Odakyu or Shinjuku station or purchased at Narita Airport for convenience.
Alternatively, you can take a bus to Hakone from Shinjuku station. They are also operated by Odakyu, nice and comfortable, for 2.000 yen/one way with travel time about 135 munitues. Hakone Free Pass can also be used. You can buy bus tickets at Odakyu Highway Bus Office (West Exit, Customer center: +81-3-3481-066, open from 10AM to 6PM) in Shinjuku Station. Buses run every 30 minutes, but it’s best to reserve in advance. There are also several buses running from Haneda Airport to Hakone, passing through Yokohama, as well as from Tokyo Station to Hakone. They termiated at Togendai.
Note: Please note that Hakone attractions are scattered in a circle according to the map below, so you can choose to go in any direction, clockwise or vice versa, as long as it match with the hotel location you will be staying.
Hakone travel blog: Where to stay?
Usually, there are two main options about accommodation in Hakone: One is that you rent a hotel as normal, then you can take a bath right at the hotel or go to places that are open to bathing onsen, the second is you can choose to stay at Ryokan to experience Japanese culture. Ryokan is a traditional inn with tatami mats and futon beds of Japan, especially here you can also experience the culture in daily life of Japanese people, how to bathe onsen properly and usually includes traditional meals. This is considered as a kind of experience about atmosphere and Japanese traditional culture from everything: eating, bathing, sleeping, traveling, very Japan… so the price for 1 night stay at Ryokan is quite high, ranging from 15.000 yen to 25.000 yen (USD136 – USD230)/person/night.
Below are some best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
Art & Music Spa Resort Manatei Hakone (Address: 469-1 Miyanoshita, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0404, Japan / Phone: +81 460-86-0810), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $165/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hakone Hotel (Address: 65 Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0521, Japan / Phone: +81 460-83-6311), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $117/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Laforet Club Hakone Gora Yu no Sumika (Address: 1320 Gora, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0408, Japan / Phone: +81 460-82-2121), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $191/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Yumoto Fujiya Hotel (Address: 256-1 Yumoto, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0392, Japan / Phone: +81 460-85-6111), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $92/night, a 4-star hotel with room rates from $191/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hakone Highland Hotel (Address: 256-1 Yumoto, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0392, Japan / Phone: +81 460-85-6111), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $110/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa (Address: 1320 Gora, Hakone, Kanagawa 250-0408, Japan / Phone: +81 460-82-2000), a 5-star hotel with room rates from $377/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
K’s House Hakone – Onsen Hostel (Address: 12-1 Yumotochaya, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0312, Japan / Phone: +81 460-85-9111), a 2-star hotel with room rates from $22/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Onsen Guesthouse Hakone Tent (Address: 1320-257, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0408, Japan / Phone: +81 460-83-8021), a 1-star hotel with room rates from $24/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hotel Harvest Hakone Koushien (Address: 250-0631 Kanagawa, Hakone, Sengokuhara Ohara 817-253, Japan / Phone: +81 460-84-0330), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $93/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hotel Okada (Address: 250-0312 Kanagawa, Hakone, Yumoto Chaya 191 , Japan / Phone: +81 460-85-6000), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $174/night. (You can check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Hakone blog: Best places to visit and top things to do in Hakone
Traveling to Hakone you can visit the numerous scenic natural beauty spots and fine arts museums with exciting means of transport such as tram which can climbing mountain or cable car. Let’s joining us to explore some best places to visit, top things to do, experiences must have when coming to Hakone!
Ashinoko Lake (Ashi Lake) was formed after the volcanic eruption so the surrounding landscape was very charming, poetic with many mountains close to each other. Close to the lake area are 2 famous landmarks: Mount Fuji and the Torii Gate of the Hakone Jinja Shrine.
Besides, one of the other famous natural attractions here is Onshi-Hakone Park. Here, you can boating the boat – yuransen simulating pirate boats, and excursions to enjoy the natural landscape. You can take a boat at Moto Hakone/Hakone Machi pier to Togendai or back.
There are two different companies that provide this service: Hakone Sightseeing Boats and Izuhakone Sightseeing Boats but with Hakone Free Pass, you can only use for cruising with Hakone Sightseeing Boats.
We had a very detailed article about Lake Ashi at: Explore Lake Ashinoko — One of the most beautiful lakes in Hakone, Japan.
Take a pirate boat
With about 900 yen (USD8.23), visitors can make a 10-minute lake trip on a 4-tier pirate-style boat with lots of corridors and view decks. Along the two sides of the lake are mountain layers and far away you can see Hakone Jinja Shrine with bright red painted Torri gate hidden in dense green forest. From boat you can watching the lake and admire the majestic Mount Fuji at a different angle.
Hakone Sekisho (Hakone Checkpoint)
In addition, there are many famous attractions around the lake Ashi, such as the Hakone Sekisho (Hakone Checkpoint), an important place on the Tokaido road during the Edo period connecting Tokyo and Kyoto (the place that serves as a place for checking traffic).
Located near the Hakone Machi wharf. Coming here you remember to climb the soaring stairs to reach “Lookout” – the view point of Lake Ashinoko with the background behind is the beautiful Mount Fuji.
Hakone Yumoto Onsen
Talking about Hakone people often think of hot springs (onsen)! Hakoneyumoto is a station stop when traveling from Tokyo to Hakone. The river runs along the slope with scattered hot spring resorts with charming scenery.
Hakone Yumoto is home to a lot of hot springs bathing places with a long history and high quality, especially there are many outdoor hot bathing areas, mixed with nature. Trying once outdoor hot shower here maybe would be very cool.
Around the hot spring, there are many Soba noodle shops cooked from Hakone’s pure water and restaurants, so you don’t have to worry about eating places. In addition, there are many souvenir shops around the station area to help you shop.
Hakone Jinja Shrine
Hakone Jinja Shinto Shrine is located at the corner of Lake Ashinoko, the Torii gate erected on the water. This is the place you must visit when visiting Lake Ashinoko.
Hakone shrine has a history of construction over 1.200 years ago. The shrine was visited by many generals in history and prayed for victory for their battles. It is said that this is the place to make wishes related to winning and losing and even today you can still see the bustle of this place by a large number of visitors visiting daily.
Address: 80-1 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0522, Japan
Hours: Always open
Date established: Nara period
Architectural style: Ishi-no-ma-zukuri
Deity: Hakone Gongen
Phone: +81 460-83-7123
Owakudani (Japanese means “large hot spring valley”) is the area around the crater erupting about 3000 years ago. Until now volcanic smoke is still erupting here, so you will smell the slight smelly sulfur foul with lots of turbid hot springs.