In Hakone, there are many spots where you can see the majestic view of Mount Fuji. Hakone is just 85 minutes away from Shinjuku should you be taking the Odakyu Limited Express “Romancecar”. Since the Edo period in 1603, Hakone was labelled as one of the favorite spa spots and still attracts many to visit each year. Other than the Hakone Cruise where you will be able to see the Torii floating on the lake, Hakone Ropeway also offers you the mind-blowing view of Mount Fuji.
How to get from Tokyo to Hakone
There are two ways in getting to Hakone. The cheap way, by local trains and the slightly more expensive way, by the Romancecar. Obviously the cheap way is slower and the expensive way is faster. The basic fee is JP¥1,190 for any train and if you decide to go with the Romancecar, its an extra JP¥890. Below are the differences:
Local Trains: JP¥1,190 (basic fare), 110 minutes *change of transportation
Romancecar: JP¥2,080 (basic fare + limited express fare), 90 minutes *direct
I would definitely recommend getting on the Romancecar since there’s way less hassle and time consuming. But if you are trying to get there on a budget, be sure to check out our guide on HOW LOCAL TRAINS WORK *link*. If you’re going to go with the Romancecar, make sure you grab a “special seat” since the fees are exactly the same. Remember you must book the seats in advanced so be sure to read THIS GUIDE on how on the Romancecars works *link*.
Hakone-Yumoto Station via Romancecar
We will be concentrating on a guide for the Romancecar option but whichever option you have chosen, you will arrive at Hakone-Yumoto Station at the end. After getting off the Romancecar, do not exit the station and change to the Hakone Tozan Train which is headed for Gora Station. The journey is around 30 minutes.
Gora Station via Hakone Tozan Line
Gora Station is the final station on the Hakone Tozan Line, basically just a stop in between the destinations. Next, get on the Hakone Tozan Cable Car to Sounzan Station.
Sounzan Station via Hakone Tozan Cable Car
Hakone Tozan Cable Car is more of a tram (if you’ve been to Hong Kong and have been on the peak tram you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). This tram will take you to the Sounzan Station which is at the peak of the mountain. At Sounzan Station, you will then be able to changeover to the Hakone Ropeway (now this is the cable car) to the first stop, Owakudani Station.
Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani Station
Now this is where the fun begins! Although the ride to Owakudani Station is only 8 minutes, it offers a full view of Owakudani, the Valley of Hell. You’ll know you’re there when you smell the rotten egg sulphur smell. The steam rises from the volcano vents below and you’ll be oooh-ing along with the other locals at the bubbling pools.
The Owakudani Station is the station to hang out at Hakone. Make sure you don’t forget to take your picture with the Owakudani and go on a trail in the volcanic zone (another oooh area).
Kuro Tamago (Black Egg)
I remembered the last time I bought these eggs. I thought they would taste like the half cooked eggs in Ramen that I loved. Boy, was I disappointed. They were just normal hard boiled eggs. These kuro tamago are sold in a bag, with five in each bag. Locals believe that eating these eggs will add 7 years to your life. Remember to check out the souvenir shops around this place, since we are tourists and this is what we do.
If you happen to be lucky, you would be able to see Mount Fuji from Hakone. Spotting Mount Fuji from Hakone shows you a different view of the mountain which is unique to Hakone. On a cloudy day, you won’t be able to see anything so try your luck to catch a glimpse of this iconic Japanese mountain!
Eating at Owakudani Station
There are ice cream (stuff like Charcoal Vanilla Soft Serve) and other snacks here if you are sick of black eggs. If you’re visiting Hakone in winter, be sure to try the since this is the food that warms you up and which all locals love.
Togendai Station via Hakone Ropeway
When you’re done with your tourist stuff, hop back onto the Hakone Ropeway and head on to the last stop of the Ropeway, Togendai Station. This is where we’ll be changing to the Sightseeing Cruise.
Moto-Hakone Station via Hakone Sightseeing Cruise
The Hakone Sightseeing Cruise is one of the best parts of the trip. While cruising through the tranquillity and nature of Hakone, we will be passing by the Torii of the Hakone Shrine. This Torii stands in the lake of Hakone with the old green forest backing it. Mount Fuji is behind the Torii and its gigantic forest and she may pop to say hi if you visit on a clear day.
Hakone-Yumoto Station via Hakone bus
From here, we will be able to take a bus back to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Then just hop back onto the Romancecar to Shinjuku.
Hakone is not the place to go if you are on a very tight budget as each one of the above transportations collect a separate fee. If you do follow my guide above, get a 2-day Hakone Freepass since it is way less of a hassle. Trust me, I’ve actually tried to count each and every spot that I could be saving the monies when I could. Point is, it’s actually cheaper if you get the pass. All in all, Hakone is one of those places where you won’t ever forget visiting in your lifetime so I would very much recommend that you come to see for yourself. If you have more than just a day for Hakone, definitely consider spending a night in Hakone. There are places like Hakone Shrine (yeah, the Torii one) and Hakone Open-Air Museum. There are also day tours for Mount Fuji viewing in Hakone.
- Trains in Japan are very punctual so make sure you arrive earlier than the scheduled time.
- If you opt on the 2 or 3 day Hakone Freepass, remember that the machine will eat your ticket once you return to where you started on the journey. E.g. if you bought a 2-day Hakone Freepass and went back to Shinjuku by the end of day 1, the machine will eat your ticket! So unless you’re doing it on purpose, make sure you stay the night in Hakone instead of wandering back out to Shinjuku.
- For the 2 or 3 day Hakone Freepass, check out its official website here. Its strongly recommended that you buy the Hakone Freepass online, since its way less hassle to line up at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center or Odakyu Line station ticket machines.
- Useful link on the Hakone Transportations which pretty much sums up all of our transportation above: http://www.hakonenavi.jp/english/traffic/transportation/
*Photos are embedded from Google searches