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The Hakone day trip guide that covers everything (2022-2023 edition)

Are you making a Hakone day trip and wondering what you could do? You came to the right place.

A Hakone day or weekend trip is ideal to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.  Hakone is a small town but it has lots to offer to its visitors.

Besides the famous hot springs and the gorgeous views of Mount Fuji, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. 

Many people visit Hakone as a day trip but if you don’t want to rush through the place we would recommend a visit of 2 or 3 days.

In this Hakone travel blog post we share the best time to visit Hakone, how to get to and around Hakone, the best organized day tours to Hakone, and more.

So definitely keep on reading.

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

Japan Essentials

We almost always find the best flights to Tokyo and Osaka on Momondo.  It may be worthwile to compare these with Skyscanner and a new but promising flight aggregator, WayAway.

Don’t lose time upon arrival at the airport and order your Japan travel SIM or portable WiFi device in advance so that it’s ready and waiting for you at the airport when you arrive.

Having a Japan Rail Pass is often the cheapest way to travel around Japan.

Check out our ultimate Japan travel blog where you can find many more interesting Japan articles to prepare for your trip.

Need help with your Japan trip planning? Check out this post on how to plan your trip to Japan.

Is this your first Japan trip and are you feeling a bit overwhelmed about planning this trip, what to see and to do in Japan. Check out our Japan travel planner. This document will help you plan your trip smoothly.
Tip: Be sure to become a member of our brand new Japan Travel Planning and Tips Facebook group. The purpose of this group is to help you plan an amazing vacation to Japan.  You can ask questions and exchange tips with fellow travelers.

Where is Hakone? 

Hakone is situated in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. 

It is less than a hundred kilometers from Tokyo and can be reached by train from Tokyo in about an hour and a half.

You can also take a bus, the bus will take two hours to reach Hakone.

What’s the best time to visit Hakone

Since Hakone is only 100 km from Tokyo, the climate is more or less similar to Tokyo. In general, the temperatures are slightly lower and there is a higher chance of rain.

Since both climates are the same, Hakone is an ideal day or weekend trip in spring or autumn.

How many days should you spend in Hakone

The Hakone loop that we describe below can be done in a day.

Keep in mind that if you are making a day trip to Hakone, much of the day will be traveling, both to and from Hakone, as well as between the various points of interest on the spot.

Therefore, if you want to rush less, go hiking, and relax in an onsen we recommend staying for 2 or 3 days in this splendid region.

Hakone has some charming Ryokans and several Spa resorts.

We will share some recommended Hakone accommodations further in this article.

The Hakone Loop

The so-called Hakone loop brings you along most of the main attractions in one day.

The circuit is quite easy and straightforward to follow.

It’s also very touristy.

You can do the loop clockwise or counterclockwise. Here we briefly describe the counterclockwise circuit which is done by most visitors.  Further on in this article, we go into more detail about the different sights you will see.  Here we just describe the loop itself.

1 – Most people start at Odawara.

You start your adventure by hopping on the Hakone Tozan train that will take you to Gora.

The route is quite spectacular as the train takes some switchbacks halfway to overcome the 400-meter height difference.

2 – Once in Gora, you continue your journey with the Hakone Tozan cable car to Sounzan.

3 – Next, you jump on the Hakone ropeway to Owakudani.

4 – From Owakudani you can continue on the ropeway to Togendai.

5 – In Togendai you can board the pirate ship for a cruise on Lake Ashi.

You can choose to get off the boat at Hakone-machi or you can directly continue to Moto-Hakone.

Are you wondering which stop to get off?

Those who don’t mind a little hiking can get off at Hakone-machi where you can visit the Hakone Checkpoint and the Onshi Hakone Koen Park. Once you’ve visited these sights you can make a lovely stroll along the lakeshore to the Hakone Shrine.  It’s just 20 minutes and you will be rewarded with some nice views.

If you’re short on time, don’t like walking, or aren’t interested in the Hakone Checkpoint and the park you can stay onboard until Moto-Hakone. From here it’s a 5-minute walk to the Hakone Shrine.

6 – The Hakone Tozan Bus will bring you back to Odawara or your next destination.

Hakone Tozan cablecar Japan
You will take the Hakone Tozan Cable Car during your Hakone day trip.

Conclusion

This Hakone loop takes 6-8 hours if you don’t spend too much time at the various sights along the way. It’s a super touristy loop and it can be done without much preparation or planning.

It can be done clockwise but most people do it counterclockwise.  This is also how we described it above.

If you don’t want to rush, we recommend that you spend at least one night in Hakone and create your own itinerary based on the things we describe below.

Please note that since the state of emergency declaration in regards to the prevention of COVID-19, some operation hours have changed. We have updated our article after Japan’s reopening, but we recommend double-checking opening hours to be sure.

Hakone money-saving tips

If you want to save some money during your trip, check out the below-mentioned pass.

Hakone Freepass

One of the best money-saving tips for your day or weekend trip to Hakone is to get a Hakone Freepass.

What’s a Hakone Freepass?

The Hakone Freepass is a money-saving pass that gives you unlimited access to most of the transportation ( trains, buses, cable cars, and the pirate ship) around Hakone.

All means of transportation that are used in the Hakone loop are included in this discount pass.

With this pass, you also get a discount at over 60 facilities including hot spring resorts, souvenir shops, museums, shrines, etc.

You can identify the places that offer discounts by the stickers on the doors or booking windows.  Here’s a complete list of the establishments that offer discounts.

With your purchase of the Hakone Freepass, you will also get a map with recommended sights, suggested itineraries and more information about the various transportation options in the region.

Types of Hakone Freepasses

The Hakone Freepass comes in several versions:

  • 2 or 3-day passes
  • Passes that include a round-trip ticket on the Odakyu Lines (between the departing station and Odawara station, eg. from Shinjuku station in Tokyo)
  • Passes where no round trip ticket on the Odakyu Lines is included
  • Child and adult passes
Hakone Freepass Japan
The Hakone Free pass will save you money during your Hakone day trip.

Which Hakone Freepass should I take

First of all, you should know that these passes work on a calendar day basis.

This means that the day you first use your pass will count as a full day, even if you only use your pass for the first time at 11 pm.

The choice of a pass with or without a round-trip ticket depends on whether you have an activated JR pass.

If you do you’re better of to use the JR trains to get to Odawara.  The JR trains are faster and the trip from Tokyo to Odawara is completely covered by the JR pass.

If you don’t have a Japan Rail pass, or if your vacation is longer than the duration of your JR pass, you should opt for the version of the pass that includes round-trip tickets on the Odakyu line.

This will be the cheapest option and you can then activate your Japan Rail pass later for the remainder of your trip.

Is a Hakone Free pass worth it

Here you can see exactly how much you pay with and without the Hakone Freepass.  The prices used in this comparison are what you would pay when you are doing the classic Hakone loop.

If you are in Hakone for 2-3 days, it’s definitely worth getting this pass.

But even if you are only in Hakone for a day, you will save a small amount of money when you have this pass.  You can see how much below:

(You may need to scroll left-right to see the full table)


 
Without Hakone Freepass Hakone Freepass 
AdultsChildren ( 6-11 years)AdultsChildren ( 6-11 years)
With Japan Rail Pass ( JR train to Odawara included in JR Pass)Odawara-Gora (Train)770 JPY380 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Gora-Sounzan (Cablecar)430 JPY210 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Sounzan-Owakudani-Togendai (Ropeway)1.550 JPY770 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Togendai -Moto Hakone or Hakone Machi (Cruise)1.200 JPY600 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Moto-Hakone or Hakone Machi – Odawara (Bus)1.340 JPY670 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Total5.290 JPY2.630 JPY5.000 JPY1.000 JPY
Without Japan Rail Pass ( departure from Shinjuku with express or local train )6.190 JPY ( 5.290 JPY + 900 JPY)3.080 JPY ( 2.630 JPY +450 JPY )6.100 JPY1.100 JPY
Without Japan Rail Pass- Romancecar ( departure from Shinjuku with limited express train)7.100 JPY ( 5.290 JPY + 1.810 JPY)3.530 JPY (2.630 JPY + 900 JPY )7.050 JPY1.580 JPY

The website of the Hakone Freepass mentions a greater savings of 910 JPY.  This could be because they use a faster, more expensive train, to Odawara or they may  include a return ticket on the ropeway.  For the comparison I used the cheapest means of transportation for each leg.

Even though the price difference seems minimal for a day trip, you shouldn’t forget that the pass also offers some extra comfort.  You will win time since you don’t have to queue to buy individual tickets at each and every station.  Don’t forget that the loop is touristy and sometimes these queues can be quite long.

Where can I buy the Hakone Freepass?

You can purchase your Hakone Freepass at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Centers in Shinjuku and Odawara. There’s also a center in Hakone-Yumoto.

Normally it’s also possible to buy the pass at the Odakyu ticket vending machines but at the time of writing this option was not available.

You can also buy the 2 or 3-day Hakone pass, including a round-trip ticket from Shinjuku, online. You can indicate when you want to use the pass for the first time during the buying process.  You will get a voucher and with this voucher, you can pick up the pass at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Shinjuku.

To find the center just follow the signs for the Odakyu Line.

The advantage of buying your pass online is that you can pick it up from 7 days before the date of first use. This means you don’t have to queue the day you want to leave to Hakone. This is especially convenient if you want to start your day trip early.

Read reviews and buy your pass:
Hakone Free Pass Tickets

How to get to Hakone

Taking the bus to Hakone

Buses leave from Shinjuku station for Hakone approximately every half hour.  The buses pass by Gotemba where you have the popular premium outlets. The bus journey takes around 2 hours.

The Hakone Free Pass covers part of the journey.

Taking the train to Hakone

If you have a Japan Rail Pass

If you want to know more about the Japan Rail Pass, including how you can calculate if it’s worth to buy a pass, you should check our article about the Japan Rail Pass.

JR has no trains to Hakone itself but there is a Shinkansen to Odawara. If you have a Japan Rail Pass the cheapest way to get to Hakone is to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo or Shinagawa station to Odawara. At Odawara station, you can transfer on the Hakone Tozan Train to Gora.

Once in Odaware the best and cheapest way to travel the Hakone Loop is with the Hakone Free Pass (buy the option without the round-trip ticket)

Read Also:

Want to learn more about Tokyo’s complex web of public transportation options?

Read our complete guide to Tokyo’s public transport.

Hakone Tozan Railway Train Japan
Hakone Tozan Railway Train

If you don’t have a Japan Rail Pass

If you don’t have a Japan Rail Pass you can choose to take the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station (or any other Odakyu station).  Some trains will require a transfer.  If you want to save some time you can choose to pay a bit more for a faster ride on the more expensive limited-express Romancecar.

The Hakone Free pass includes a round-trip ticket with the local or express train between any Odakyu station and Odawara. Alternatively, you could also take the Odakyu Highway bus but this bus takes more than 2 hours to reach Odawara from Tokyo.

Beware that the Romance car requires advance seat reservations. If you have a Hakone Freepass and you want to ride the Romancecar you can use this page to reserve your seat.  The supplement for the seat reservation is 1150 JPY to Hakone-Yumoto or 950 JPY to Odawara.

In this table, you can find an overview of the different prices.

(You may need to scroll left-right to see the full table)

Departure stationAdults: 2 daysChildren: 2 days Adults: 3 days Children: 3 days
Without Japan Rail Pass-Romance Car ( departure from Shinjuku)7.250 JPY (6.100 yen + 1.150 JPY supplement)1.680 yen (1.100 yen + 580 JPY supplement)7.650 JPY ( 6.500 yen + 1.150 JPY supplement)1.930 JPY ( 1.350 yen + 580 JPY supplement)
Without Japan Rail Pass ( departure from Shinjuku with local or express train )6.100 JPY 1.100 JPY 6.500 JPY 1.350 JPY
With Japan Rail Pass ( from any JR station with a JR train to Odawara) 5.000 JPY 1.000 JPY 5.400 JPY 1.250 JPY

How to get around Hakone

Odakyu offers 8 different transportation networks in the Hakone area.

All of them are at least partly included in the Hakone Freepass. (the part that you travel to complete the Hakone Loop is covered)

That makes this pass the cheapest option to get around the area.

This pass is sufficient to take you to all the major sights in this region including the Gotemba Outlet Mall.

Taking an organized Hakone day tour

If you are short on time or don’t like to explore the region independently, you can opt for an organized Mount Fuji Day Tour.

Keep in mind that the below-mentioned tours combine the region around Lake Kawaguchiko and Hakone.

There are many things to do in Hakone. Because the tours combine both regions you won’t visit all Hakone sights that we mention in this article.

Komagataka Ropeway Hakone Japan
Komagataka Ropeway

Mt Fuji and Hakone Cruise & Bus Tour 

This tour, which you can book with Klook, starts with a visit to a Mt. Fuji 5th station.

Next, you will make a cruise on the waters of Lake Ashi and take the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway which offers great views of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

This is a great family tour with lots of possibilities to take amazing pictures of Mt Fuji.

Note that the cruise can be canceled in case of bad weather.

Read reviews and book:
Mount Fuji and Hakone Day Tour

Hakone ropeway Owakudani Japan
The ropeway crosses the Owakudani valley

Mt Fuji & Hakone Day Tour: Lake Ashi & Ropeway Day Trip from Tokyo

GetYourGuide offers this Mount Fuji day tour where you will visit Mount Fuji’s 5th Subashiri station.

In addition you will cruise Lake Ashi on a pirate ship and take the cable car to the Owakudani Valley. At Owakudani you can taste the famous Kuro Tamago black eggs that are boiled in the hot volcanic spring water of the Valey.

According to an old tradition eating these black eggs will extend your life for seven years. It doesn’t harm to try, right?

More information and booking:
Mount Fuji and Hakone Day Tour

Mount Fuji and Hakone 1 Day Tour with optional return by bullet train

This 10-hour tour offered by Viator will take you to Mount Fuji highlights such as Mount Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, Lake Ashi, and the Hakone Ropeway from where you can enjoy beautiful views of Mount Fuji.

At the end of the tour, you have the possibility to be dropped off at Odawara station where you can board the Shinkansen which will take you back to Shinjuku station in just 40 minutes.

This is a great option that allows you to get back to Tokyo faster at the end of this exciting but also tiring day. An added bonus is that you get to experience the iconic Shinkansen.

Of course, you can also return by bus.

You can also choose to include lunch in the package.

This is a flexible tour with a number of options that can make your experience more comfortable.  Especially the return in the fast and comfortable bullet train is highly-valued after a long and tiring day.

Check prices and availability:
Mount Fuji tour

If you aren’t convinced of these tours, check out our full overview of the different Mount Fuji tours that exist.

You can also put together your own private tour together with a guide.  Have a look at the different private Mt Fuji Tours here.

Things to do in Hakone

Here we share an overview of what to do in Hakone.

Enjoy the views of Mount Fuji

Everyone who comes to Hakone hopes to get a glimpse of this mountain. For many, it is the main reason for their visit.

But, don’t get your hopes up, Fujisan, which is Mt. Fuji in Japanese,  is often covered in clouds.

If you are planning on making a day trip to Hakone to see Mount Fuji, we would definitely advise checking the weather forecast and especially the cloud cover.

It goes without saying that you increase your chances if you stay for 2 or 3 days.

The good news is that on clear days the mountain can be seen from many different viewpoints.

Here are some of the best places to enjoy the views of Mount Fuji.

Moto Hakone

Moto Hakone is a village on the banks of Lake Ashi.

It offers some of the best views of the lake and Mount Fuji.

Hakone Ropeway MtFuji Japan
Hakone Ropeway with Mt. Fuji in the background.

Hakone ropeway

On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot a scenic view of Mount Fuji as you ride the ropeway.

Are you considering joining a guided tour?  This ropeway is included in a number of different tours.  Have a look at this tour, this tour with optional bullet train retour, this 12-hour tour offered by Klook,  and this one that ends at the Gotemba outlets.

Gotemba Premium Outlets 

This is without any doubt the best viewing spot for those shopaholics out there. Here you can shop and at the same time enjoy great views of Mount Fuji.

The Gotemba Premium Outlets are a good destination if you want to go shopping without feeling too guilty about not doing anything touristy. 😉

Onsen Hakone Japan
Relax in an Onsen.

Go bathing in an Onsen

Hakone is also a good destination if you’re looking for tranquil onsen or hot springs.  Historically the onsen were all situated near Hakone-Yumoto.

Today, this is still the region with the most sites, but the popularity of the Onsen has seen many more pop up throughout the whole Hakone region.

The onsen are typically split by gender because tradition dictates that you bathe naked in the mineral-rich hot springs.  Some onsen also have private baths for families or couples.

Most onsen welcome kids as long as they’re accompanied by their parents.

Here you can find more info on the best onsen in Hakone.

Lake Ashi Hakone Japan
Lake Ashi with Mt. Fuji in the background.

Go hiking around Lake Ashi

Hiking is a good way to escape the crowds and an excellent option to enjoy this green region.

It is possible to hike around Lake Ashi and there are several other trails with various difficulty levels.

Ride the Hakone ropeway

On clear days the Hakone Ropeway offers unparalleled views of Lake Ashi, Owakudani, and Mount Fuji.

The cable car fee is 1.550 JPY one way.  It is included in the Hakone Free Pass.

This ropeway is included in several guided tours.  Have a look at this tour, this tour with optional bullet train retour, this 12-hour tour offered by Klook,  and this one that ends at the Gotemba outlets.

Black Eggs Owakudani Hakone Japan
The famous black eggs.

Eat black eggs in Owakudani Valley

Owakudani means “the great Boiling Valley”. By the locals, it’s also known as the “Hell Valley”. The valley was created about 3000 years ago when the Hakone Volcano exploded.

Nowadays it’s a popular tourist spot.

People come here to hike, enjoy the scenic views ( on a clear day, you’ll have a scenic view of Mount Fuji), and eat the famous black eggs which are said to extend your life for 7 years.

Opening hours: 9 am – 4 pm (determined by the operation hours of the Hakone Ropeway)


How to get there:
The easiest way is by taking the Hakone Ropeway.

In the event of increased seismic activity in the region, Owakudani may be closed. In case of stormy weather, the ropeway is closed.

Do you prefer to join a guided tour?  All tours that include the Hakone Ropeway do a stop in Owakudani. This tour, this tour with optional bullet train retour, this 12-hour tour offered by Klook,  and this one that ends at the Gotemba outlets.

Komagataka Ropeway Hakone Japan
Sunset on the lake from the Komagatae Ropeway.

Take the Komagatake Ropeway 

The Komagatake Ropeway takes you from the shore of Lake Ashi to the Komagatake peak of Mount Hakone.

It is not the same ropeway as the Hakone ropeway which leads from Gora to Togendai.

On a clear day, you can enjoy beautiful views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji from the top. Several hiking trails start here, leading to the banks of Lake Ashi, to Owakudani and Sounzan station.

They may be closed in case of increased volcanic activity in the area.

A short walk from the ropeway’s upper station is the Hakone Shrine Mototsumiya. This is the original Hakone Shrine.  Today the Hakone Shrine at the lakeshore in Moto Hakone is more popular because it is easier to reach.

This ropeway is not included in the Hakone Freepass but you get a 10% discount if you have a Hakone Freepass.

Opening hours: 9 am- 4.30 pm ( up) and 4.50 pm ( down)


How to get there: 

Take the Odakyu Highway Bus ( covered by the Hakone Free Pass).

This attraction is also included in this guided tour.  

Hakone Open Air Museum Japan
Hakone Open-Air Museum.

Visit The Hakone Open-Air Museum

The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a lovely place to visit. In a beautiful setting, you can enjoy spectacular modern and contemporary sculptures.

There even is a Picasso exhibition.

Definitely worth a visit.

Entrance fee: adults: 1.600 yen, university, and high school students: 1.200 yen, middle and elementary school: 800 yen

With the Hakone Freepass adults get a 200 yen discount, all others 100 yen.

Opening hours: 9 am-5 pm ( entry until 4.30 pm)
How to get there: Take the Hakone Tozan Railway to Chokoku No Mori Station ( covered by the Hakone Freepass).

Torii gate Hakone Shrine Lake Ashi Hakone Japan
Torii gate of the Hakone Shrine.

Take beautiful pictures of the Hakone Shrine

The Hakone Shrine is one of the most iconic symbols of Hakone. It features a photogenic floating torii gate that is close enough to the shore for some Instagram-worthy selfies.

Miyajima’s floating torii gate may be more popular, but if you aren’t going to Miyajima, this is the place to see this iconic Japanese symbol.

How to get there:

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

Follow the Hakone Loop and take a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi. Get off at Hakone-Machi or Moto-Hakone.

Pirate Cruise Lake Ashi Hakone Japan
Cruise on a pirate ship on Lake Ashi.

Make a Hakone Sightseeing cruise 

Although the pirate ships look ridiculously touristy this cruise is the best way to see the lake.
The cruise passes the famous floating torii gate of the Hakone Shrine.
On a clear day, you will have views of Mount Fuji from the ship. (and for that you don’t need to climb into the crow’s nest 😉)

There’re 3 points where you can start your cruise.

Either at the northern side of the lake in Togendai-ko or at the southern edge of the lake in Hakone-machi or Moto Hakone.

There are 1 to 2 boats per hour, check the boat schedule to plan your trip.

Cost: 1.200 yen for a one-way ticket.

Free with the Hakone Free Pass.

Would you rather join a guided tour?  The following tours include the Lake Ashi Pirate Cruise. This tour, this tour with optional bullet train retour, this 12-hour tour offered by Klook,  and this one that ends at the Gotemba outlets.

Hakone Checkpoint Lake Ashi Hakone Japan
Hakone Checkpoint.

Visit Hakone Checkpoint

The Hakone Checkpoint is located at the southern end of Lake Ashi.

It is a replica of an Edo-era checkpoint that was used to control the traffic along the Tokaido highway in between Kyoto and Tokyo.

It used to be one of the largest and most important checkpoints at its time and was in 2007 restored to its former glory.

You will see the original fences and gates, the officer’s quarters, the prison, and the lookout tower. There is also a small museum attached to it.

You can walk along a small section of the old Tokaido highway that leads to Moto Hakone.  The road is lined with more than one-hundred-year-old cedar trees.

Those who want can continue to follow the road to Hakone-Yumoto.

Part of the road between Moto Hakone and Hatajuku still has the original stone pavements but the last section from Hatajuku to Hakone-Yumoto hasn’t been preserved and here you just walk along the main road.

Entrance Fees: 500 yen (400 yen for Hakone Freepass Holders)

You only pay an entrance when you want to go inside the buildings.


Opening Hours: 9 am–5 pm (Closes at 4:30 pm from Dec – Feb)

How to get here:

It’s a short walk from the Hakone-machi boat pier.

You could also take the Hakone Tozan bus in the direction of Hakone-machi and get off at the Hakone Sekishoato bus stop ( covered by the Hakone Free Pass).

Go shopping in Gotemba Premium Outlets 

If you love shopping, you should definitely visit the Gotemba Premium Outlets. It’s one of the largest outlets in Japan. There are stores of most American and European premium brands such as Hugo Boss, Gap, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Godiva chocolates, etc.

On a clear day, you will be rewarded with amazing views of Mount Fuji as you’re shopping.

Most of the stores are tax-free for tourists. So don’t forget to take your passport and show it to the cashier when you pay.

Although we didn’t visit the Gotemba Premium Outlets ourselves, we read that it’s less interesting for European and American tourists since the prices are still relatively expensive compared to prices in European and American outlets.

Here you can read some TripAdvisor reviews

Opening Hours: March-November: 10 am-8 pm, December-February: 10 am-7 pm.

Closing Day: once a year on the third Thursday in February.

How to get here:

There are many possibilities to reach the Gotemba Premium Outlets. We decided to only list the quickest ways.

From Tokyo:

If you have a Japan Rail Pass: Take the JR Tokaido Line or JR Shonan Shinjuku Line from Tokyo or Shinjuku Station to Kozu Station. Transfer to the JR Gotemba Line to Gotemba Station where you can take the free shuttle bus to the outlets.

The journey will take approximately 2h30 minutes and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

If you don’t have a Japan Rail Pass or want to reach the Gotemba mall quicker: Take the  Mount Fuji Limited Express Romancecar from Odakyu Shinjuku Station to Gotemba Station. At the station, take the free shuttle bus to the outlets.

The trip takes around 100 minutes and costs about 2.800 yen. Since the train is not operated by JR it is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

From Hakone:  

When coming from Hakone. The Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus runs two buses ( bus lines V and W) hourly from Hakone to Gotemba Station. You can board the bus bound for Shinjuku at Togendai Port or Sengoku.  You need to get off at Gotemba station.  The upcoming stop is always displayed on a screen at the front of the bus. At Gotemba station you can change to the free shuttle bus that will take you to the outlet.

You can use your Hakone Freepass.

When coming from Hakone-Yumoto. Take a Togendai bound Hakone Tozan Bus on line T to Sengoku. From here you can transfer to the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus.

You can use your Hakone Freepass.

When coming from Gora station. Take bus G to the Gotemba Premium Outlets.

You can use your Hakone Freepass.

Odawara Castle Hakone Japan
Odawara Castle

Visit Odawara Castle

There’re many castles in Japan so it would be really odd if there were none in the Hakone region.

The Odawara castle used to be the stronghold of the Hojo clan that used to reign over Tokyo.

It is the closest castle to Tokyo and a visit can be easily combined with a visit to the Hakone region.

Entrance fee: adults: 500 yen, elementary and high school students:  200 yen. (50 yen discount for adults, 20 yen discount for students with the Hakone Freepass)

Opening Hours: from 9 am-5 pm (last entry at 4:30 pm)

How to get here: Odawara castle is a 10-minute walk from Odawara station.

Mishima Skywalk Hakone Japan
Mishima Skywalk with Mt. Fuji in the background

Walk over the Mishima Skywalk 

The Mishima Skywalk is with a length of 400 meters the longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge in Japan.

It lies about an hour by bus from Hakone.

You can see views of both Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay from the bridge.

Entrance Fee: Adults: 1.100 yen, high school, and junior high school students: 500 yen; elementary school students: 200 yen. There is a 10% discount with the Hakone Freepass.

Opening Hours: from 9 am-5 pm

The bridge is open all year round but the service may be limited in the event of bad weather conditions such as strong wind or snow. For the best views it is recommended to go early in the morning or towards closing time.

How to get here:

From Hakone-Yumoto Station:

Take the Hakone Tozan bus bound for Hakone Port ( route H) to Moto-Hakone Port. From here take the Tokai Orange Shuttle Bus ( route N) bound for Mishima Station. Exit at Mishima Skywalk.

You can use your Hakone Freepass.

If you have a Japan Rail Pass the quickest way to Mishima is by shinkansen. At Mishima, you can take the Tokai Orange bus to the skywalk.

Where to stay in Hakone

If we convinced you to stay more than one day in the Hakone area, take a look at the below-mentioned Hakone accommodations.

Since Hakone is famous for its hot springs we picked two hotels with private onsen. Excellent for relaxing your muscles after a busy day of exploring.

Hakone onsen ryokan

Mount View Hakone Ryokan

Mount View Hakone is centrally located and easily accessible by public transportation.  There’re also several dining options as well as a convenience store nearby.  This traditional ryokan offers spacious, comfortable rooms. Very friendly and helpful staff. The hotel has a public onsen but if you are shy to go nude in public can use the private onsen.

This ryokan offers a luggage carry service from the train station.  You can arrange with them to pick-up and take your luggage to and from the train station. Very convenient if you want to start exploring the area immediately upon arrival.

This is an excellent Ryokan and a great place to experience the traditional rooms, the onsen, and the generous Japanese hospitality. It is an experience not to be missed.

More information and booking:

Booking.com

Agoda

Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa

If you prefer the comfort of a regular bed or more extended spa facilities then the Hyatt Regency might be what you’re looking for.

The Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa is a beautiful hotel with spacious rooms, great views, and excellent service.

The hotel offers a  complimentary shuttle to/from Gora Station.

Awesome Onsen Hotel with a view of Mt Fuji

More information and booking:

Booking.com

Agoda

If you aren’t convinced of these hotels, you can find a lot of other hotels in Hakone on booking.com:
Booking.com

Conclusion

Hakone is an excellent destination for a side trip from Tokyo. 

The region owes its popularity to the beautiful view of Mount Fuji on a clear day, but it also has a lot to offer in its own right. 

The Owakudani valley is nothing but spectacular and a must-see.  Lake Ashi is a magnificent lake and the area around the lake has some breathtaking scenery.  The icing on the cake is the floating torii gate of the Hakone Shrine.

Lastly, don’t skip a visit to an onsen.  Nothing beats relaxing in an onsen while enjoying a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji

Are you planning your Japan trip? Check out our Japan guide with much more useful information about Japan.