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Hakone Travel Guide: An Excellent Guide to the World

Lakeside mountain town

This Hakone Travel Guide helps you make the most of your day in Hakone. It features a well-thought-out travel itinerary and a detailed budget for the trip. 

Disclaimer: Some information in this Hakone Guide changes too often. If you continue reading this article, you agree to cross-check information with concerned authorities. Please read the site’s full Terms.

Advisory: Please refer to the Embassy of Japan regarding the country’s latest travel advisories before planning your trip.

Introduction

Far from the bustling pace of metro life is a mountainous town in the southwest of Tokyo – Hakone. I stopped in Hakone to find serenity after a five-day hectic Kansai trip. The scene in Hakone is serene. Hence, this town is an ideal place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

While the metropolitan cities are concealed with concreted structures, this picturesque town is densely forested and has overwhelming natural sceneries. Behold the breathtaking beauty of Mount Fuji as you slowly ascend to Owakudani Valley and sail on Lake Ashi.

Moreover, visit and immerse in an onsen to experience traditional Japanese bathing after a leisurely excursion within Hakone. Furthermore, spend the night in a ryokan to indulge in an authentic Japanese sleeping accommodation.

Hakone has so much more to offer besides its natural environment. But, the high spot of this short visit to Hakone is this place’s calmness and unhurried pace.

Hakone Travel Guide Contents

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Quick Fact About Hakone

Hakone is among Japan’s most well-known onsen destinations. An onsen, or hot spring, is a natural thermal bath with mixtures of mineral properties that has therapeutic benefits. Around 27,000 hot springs across Japan, while dozens are in Hakone.

Visa in Japan

Philippine passport holders traveling as a tourist in Japan require a visa. Documents must be handed through an accredited travel agency, while personal interviews are not a requirement for a Japan visa.

Before departure, passengers must undergo stringent immigration procedures. Read the article, How to Avoid Getting Offloaded at the Philippine Immigration?

Time Zone in Hakone

Hakone is an hour ahead of Manila, Philippines.

Climate in Hakone

Hakone has a warm temperate climate. Hence, the town experiences warm and wet summers and mild winters.

Best Time to Visit Hakone

Hakone is a year-round Japanese destination. The mountainous town offers a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere, regardless if you visit in spring, summer, autumn, or winter.

March to May

The springtime in Hakone is from March to May. Hence, the cherry blossoms burst and ornate the thickly forested town, especially Miyagino – a quieter area close to Gora. 

Hakone Travel Guide Tip: The Golden Week in Japan happens from April’s last week until May’s first week. Attractions are often thronged, and accommodation rates go up during this period.

June to August

The mountainous town of Hakone is a perfect getaway from the scorching summer heat from June to August. Unlike Tokyo, the temperature in Hakone is less warm due to its elevation, while rain is abundant in June and July.

September to November

Hakone’s verdant forestland changes into fiery-colored leafage, which marks the fall foliage season. Witness the autumn leaves in Hakone Gora Park when you visit from September until November.

December to February

The winter season in Hakone commences in December and last until February. While the northernmost part of Japan has the coldest climate, Hakone experiences a fair cold winter.

Language in Hakone

Japanese is the widely spoken language in Hakone, Kanagawa. Hence, most locals are not conversant in English but extend their help when needed.

Numerous public signs in Hakone are written in English, and tourist information centers are in train stations and attractions. Here are essential Japanese words and phrases to learn before your trip to Hakone, Japan.

  • Ohayo gozaimasu – Good morning
  • Hai – Yes
  • Sumimasen – Excuse me
  • Tetsudatte kuremasen ka?  – Could you help me?
  • Toire wa doko desu ka? –  Where is the toilet?
  • Deguchi – Exit
  • Hidari – Left
  • Arigatou gozaimasu – Thank you
  • Douitashimashite – You are welcome
  • Sayounara – Goodbye

Currency in Hakone

Launched in 1871, the Japanese Yen is the official currency in Japan. As of June 22, 2023, the exchange rate is JPY 1, PHP 0.39, or USD 0.0070.

Hakone Travel Guide Tip: To save money, convert your currency to yen in downtown Hakone, which offers better exchange rates. Otherwise, convert sufficient cash at the destination’s airport to cover the fare to the city center.

Modes of Payment in Hakone

Hard cash is the widely used payment option in Hakone, Kanagawa. Debit and credit cards and commuting passes are also accepted as modes of payment.

Cash

Commercial establishments and facilities prefer cash payments, especially purchases made in convenience stores, souvenir shops, and tourist attractions.

Debit and Credit Cards

Use debit and credit cards in the absence of cash. However, foreign-issued cards are only accepted in selected restaurants and hotels in Hakone.

Commuting Pass

A commuter pass is a cash substitute used as a method of payment for transport services in Hakone. Thus, using the ‘Hakone Free Pass’ – a convenient and cost-efficient tool for intra-town transfers. It comes with unlimited rides in most transport forms.

Ways of Getting to Hakone

Hakone lies far west of Kanagawa. The town is accessible through the international airports in Tokyo, Narita, Nagoya, and Osaka.

From Japan’s major air hubs, buses, express trains, and bullet trains run through main rail stations like Tokyo and Yokohama.  While the local lines in Odawara approach Hakone-Yumoto Station – the gateway to Hakone.

Tokyo to Hakone

Haneda International Airport in Tokyo is the closest air hub to Hakone. The travel duration between Tokyo and Hakone is around one hour and a half.

Express trains and airport buses in Haneda run through Shinagawa or Shin-Yokohama stations. Odawara can be reached in less than forty minutes via JR Shinkansen Kodama and Hikari trains from these rail stations. 

Chiba to Hakone

Narita International Airport in Chiba is among Japan’s main airports, about 150 kilometers or around three hours of travel to Hakone.

Buses, taxis, and trains run from Tokyo Central Station through Shinjuku and Shin-Yokohama stations.  In addition, the Shin-Yokohama and Odawara course is served by Kodama and Hikari trains, while Odakyu links Shinjuku and Odawara/  Hakone.

Hakone Travel Guide Tip: From Shinjuku Station, the fastest to reach Hakone is via the Odakyu Romancecar Limited Express. Unlike regular train service, Romancecar travels non-stop in 90 minutes.

Reserve and bundle Hakone Free Pass with Odakyu Romancecar Limited Express for a free-and-easy town journey. 

Nagoya to Hakone

When arriving from Nagoya through the Chubu Centrair International Airport, trains, buses, and airport shuttles run to Meitetsu Nagoya Station. From the station, the travel time to Odawara is around two hours via JR Shinkansen Kodama or Hikari trains.

Osaka to Hakone

Hakone is more than 400 kilometers from Osaka – the gateway to the Kansai region. The travel time between Osaka and Odawara is around ten hours for night buses and four hours using bullet trains. Nozomi, Kodama, and Hikari are among the Shinkansen trains leaving Shin-Osaka Station toward Odawara.

From Odawara Station, Hakone is a 15-minute journey by Hakone Tozan Bus or Train.

Getting Around Hakone

Hakone has a lot more to offer aside from its natural environment. This outlying town has museums, shrines, parks and gardens, and bathing facilities, which can be visited on a circular course.

Hakone Travel Guide Tip: Enjoy a relaxing journey with Hakone Free Pass. It is a commuter pass in which the holder is entitled to unlimited rides to most transit modes in Hakone. Also, grab discounts in some attractions and facilities using this pass.

Train

Get on Hakone Tozan Railway – a mountain rail transit connecting Odawara with Gora train stations, around 35 minutes. Sublime Hakone landscapes await passengers as you go past the tree-covered slopes.

The mountain sceneries are more appealing from mid-June until mid-July as Hydrangea flowers blossom alongside the railroad tracks. Also, special night trains travel through these well-lighted flowers in these months.

Cable Car

From Gora Station, mount Sounzan Station for around ten minutes while inside the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. The funicular railway has large see-through windows for a good view of the forested mountains.

Ropeway

The Hakone Ropeway connects the stations of Sounzan and Togendai along Owakudani and Ubako Stations. Behold the mesmerizing views of Owakudani Valley, Mount Fuji, and Lake Ashi as aerial trams slowly approach next station. The entire journey takes roughly half an hour.

Moreover, board the Komagatake Ropeway that leads to the peak of Mount Hakone.

Hakone Travel Guide Reminder: Modes of transport, like ropeways, are inoperational during inclement weather or maintenance works. Hence, buses serve as alternatives in their absence.

Ship

Aboard the Hakone Pirate Ship – an imposing replica of the 17th and 18th-century sailing vessels. Three cruise ships sail on Ashinoko Lake and depart in Togendai, Motohakone, and Hakonemachi ports.

While aboard, witness impressive views of the sceneries, lush wooded mountains, a striking gate, and the breathtaking Mount Fuji. Hakone sightseeing cruise navigates between 25 to 40 minutes.

Bus

The Hakone Tozan Bus is among companies that operate within Hakone. It links Hakone-Yumoto Station to areas like Motohakone-ko – a sightseeing spot famed for Lake Ashinoko and Hakone Shrine.

Also, board Kanko Shisetsu-Meguri – a tourist bus that runs to Hakone’s known museums, like Pola Museum and Venetian Glass Museum.

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Areas to Stay in Hakone

Hakone is around 80 kilometers or roughly a couple hours’ journey from Tokyo City. The mountain town is doable for a day trip. However, spending a few days in Hakone allows you to deepen your connection to nature and culture. 

Hakone -Yumoto

Most accommodations in Hakone-Yumoto are a stone’s throw from the town’s main station. The central rail station is well-connected to the rest of Hakone.

Aside from ease of access, this area has a wealth of inexpensive lodgings near shops and restaurants. Spend in Hakone-Yumoto, and you are steps closer to the historic Tokaido Road – an old route that links Tokyo and Kyoto.

Tonosawa

Close to Hakone-Yumoto is Tonosawa. This riverside neighborhood has several Ryokan and onsen inns. It is also a perfect place for outdoor recreation, like hiking, for its densely wooded mountains.

After your leisurely action, soak and relax in the warm waters of Hakone Yuryo. This hot spring resort in Tonosawa is among Hakone’s famous onsen spots.

Gora

Located at the heart of Hakone, Gora is well-linked through the numerous tourist spots and attractions. The hillside neighborhood is also hot springs rich, making it one of Hakone’s most preferred areas to stay. Unlike Hakone-Yumoto, accommodations are more expensive with its wide range of high-end hotels and inns.

The Hakone Open Air Museum, Gora Park, and Hakone Museum of Art are the must-see in the hot spring town.

Motohakone

Most accommodations in Motohakone area are luxury hotels at the lakeside, affording good views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji. Some high-end hotels provide exclusive onsen amenities, perfect for couples who want a romantic ambiance. The Torii of Peace of Hakone Shrine is among the most photographed spots in Motohakone.

Are you a fan of Japanese art? Well, drop in at Narukawa Art Museum – a contemporary art gallery featuring a multitude of Japanese-style paintings.  Grab a Narukawa Art Museum ticket and awe-inspire with its vast art collections. The museum is a short walk from Motohakone port. 

Odawara

Hakone’s closest city – Odawara, is also the best bet to get nearer to other Japan cities, like Yokohama and Kawasaki. It has extensive accommodation around the well-connected Odawara Station, packed with pubs and lounges.

Unlike Hakone’s calming night, Odawara is more energetic and jump-packed. Relish the metro’s sights and sounds after a leisurely visit to Hakone.

Internet in Hakone

Major stations within the Hakone loop, like Hakone-Yumoto, Gora, and Togendai, offer free yet limited internet usage. Moreover, almost all accommodation facilities provide a wireless network for their guests.

Power Adaptor in Hakone

Hakone operates on a 100 V supply voltage with a frequency of 50 Hz and it has two types of power adaptor:

  • A or has two flat parallel pins
  • B or has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin

Explore the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ in 9 days! But first, read the Osaka Travel Guide for a complete and comprehensive Japan itinerary.

Hakone Travel Guide Itinerary

Hakone Travel Guide Highlights: Sights and Attractions
Highlights: Hakone Shrine, Owakudani, Mount Fuji, and black egg.

10:10 pm Arrival in Odawara from Kyoto
10:10 pm – 10:30 pm Head to the hotel

  • From Odawara Station
  • Walk toward accommodation

10:30 pm – 11:30 pm Check-in and prepare for sleep

11:30 pm Sleep

Day 1 - Hakone

Hakone Travel Guide Reminder: Walking from points A to B requires roughly 900 meters.

06:30 am – 08:15 am Wake up, prepare for the tour, have breakfast, early hotel check out, and drop off the luggage at the hotel
08:15 am – 08:30 am Head to Odawara Station and redeem the Hakone Free Pass at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center

08:30 am – 08:45 am Head to Hakone-Yumoto Station

  • From Odawara Station
  • Take the Hakone Tozan Rail Line
  • Alight at Hakone-Yumoto Station

08:45 am – 09:25 am Head to Gora Station

  • From Hakone-Yumoto Station
  • Transfer to Platform 3
  •  Take the Hakone Tozan Rail Line
  • Alight at Gora Station
  • Walk toward Hakone Open Air Museum

09:25 am – 12:30 pm Explore Hakone Open Air Museum and Gora Park and have lunch

Hakone Open Air Musseum

Opened in 1969, Hakone Open Air Museum is the first outdoor museum in Japan. The exhibit features the works of art of Pablo Picasso and other notable Japanese and Western visual artists.

This out-of-doors museum houses at least a thousand sculptures and other visual art forms throughout the seven hectares of grounds. Also, visitors can go in for some fun-filled and interactive art displays, which blend with the surrounding green spaces.

Hakone Open Air Museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry is until 4:30 pm). The admission fee is JPY 1,600, PHP 627.55, or USD 11.28, while discounts are provided to children and Hakone Free Pass holders. 

Hakone Gora Park

Gora Park is a French-style garden nestled on elevated grounds, affording unobstructed views of the sceneries. It features various decorative plants surrounding the park’s central piece – a large and round-shaped fountain. Also, on-site facilities like two hothouses, tea gardens, and handcraft houses await visitors.

Hakone Gora Park is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (the last entry is until 4:30 pm). The entry fee is JPY 550, PHP 251.65, or USD 3.88, while the entrance is free for Hakone Free Pass holders and children.

12:30 am – 01:00 pm Head to Owakudani

  • From Hakone Gora Park
  • Walk toward Gora Station
  • Take the Hakone Tozan Cable Car to Sounzan Station
  • Alight at Sounzan Station
  • Board the Hakone Ropeway toward Togendai Station
  • Get off at Owakudani Station

01:00 pm – 02:00 pm Explore Owakudani

Owakudani

Also known as ‘Hell Valley,’ Owakudani Valley formed 3,000 years ago after Mount Hakone’s dramatic eruption. The immense volcanic crater emits sulfur fumes from hydrothermal vents, like hot springs, which are known for their therapeutic value.

Hot springs are also used for cooking kura-tamago or black eggs. The chicken egg is hard-boiled in a sulfur-rich thermal spring, giving its distinct charcoal color. Five-piece black eggs are sold at JPY 500, PHP 196.05, or USD 3.52 at nearby shops.

Hakone Travel Guide Trivia: According to local beliefs, consuming a piece of black egg can extend a lifespan of about seven years.

02:00 pm – 03:00 pm Head to Hakone Shrine

  • From Owakudani
  • Walk toward Owakudani Station
  • Take Hakone Ropeway to Togendai Station
  • Alight at Togendai Station
  • Board the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise
  • Get off at Motohakone Port
  • Walk toward Hakone Shrine

03:00 pm – 04:30 pm Explore Hakone Shrine

Hakone Shrine

Tucked in the middle of towering and dense Cedar trees is a well-known Shinto shrine – the Hakone Shrine. This shrine was built in 757 at the crest of Mount Hakone’s Komagatake until it was relocated to its present site in 1667.

The shrine’s main draw – the striking red gate seemingly floating on the waters. Torii of Peace, or the ‘Heiwa No Torii,’ is among Japan’s most renowned torii gates due to its distinct position. This noteworthy red gate is slightly submerged on the shore of Ashi Lake. Its location offers a panoramic view of the surrounding sceneries.

Hakone Shrine is open daily, and admission is free, except in some other attractions in the shrine.

Hakone Travel Guide Tip: A trip to Japan’s onsen town would not be complete without soaking in traditional Japanese public baths. Take a dip into an ‘onsen’ and ‘sento,’ which provide relief after an exhausting tour around Hakone.

04:30 pm – 05:15 pm Head to Yumoto Fujiya Hotel

  • From Hakone Shrine
  • Walk toward the Motohakone bus station
  • Take the Hakone Tozan Bus toward Odawara Station
  •  Alight at Hakone-Yumoto Station
  • Walk toward Hakone-Fujiya Hotel

05:15 pm – 07:15 pm Onsen bath experience at Yumoto Fujiya Hotel and have dinner
07:15 pm – 07:30 pm Head to Odawara Station
07:30 pm – 08:13 pm Return to the hotel, get the luggage, and head back to Odawara Station
08:13 pm – 09:09 pm Head to Yokohama

  • From Odawara Station – Platform 5
  • Take JR Shonan-Shinjuku Rapid Line toward Kagohara Station
  • Alight at Yokohama Station

Budget for Hakone Trip

In 2022, I spent P 5,329.53 for a day and night in Hakone. However, costs may vary depending on travel lifestyle. For more thrift tips, consider several ways to save money for your next trip. 

Below is the Hakone travel guide budget for your reference. 

Pre-Departure

  • One-day and one-night accommodation, PHP 1,651.05 x 2, PHP 825.53
  • Hakone Free Pass, PHP 2,298.00
  • Yumoto Fujiya Onsen Experience, PHP 702.00

1st Day

  • Breakfast, PHP 200.00
  • Hakone Open Air Museum  Admission Fee, PHP 546.00
  • Lunch, PHP 235.00
  • Black eggs, PHP 195.00
  • Black Ice Cream, PHP 78.00
  • Dinner, PHP 250.00

Hakone Travel Guide Resources

I have compiled handpicked travel resources to help you plan your trip. These are the brands that I highly recommend for their top-notch offers. 

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The sky is the limit with Skyscanner if you are looking for better and cheaper flight options for your next trip.

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Make a reservation to one of the most extensive hotels booking services – Agoda. It offers unmatched hotel deals!

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Explore the world with HostelWorld! Book a hostel and share a space with newfound buddies. 

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Drive your way to undiscovered places! Book a car via Discover Cars and experience hassle-free road trips. 

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Want to visit your favorite theme park or museum? For discounted attraction tickets and tours, look for Klook!

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For transfers from point A to point B, go for 12Go! It has extensive coverage of ground transports and ferries, too.

Hakone Travel Guide Question: Nara is famous for its free-roaming deers, while Hakone is known for?

Please drop your answers or messages in the comment section. Thank you, and see you on the road!

About the Author

J. Sac is the author of ‘Hakone Travel Guide: An Excellent Guide to the World.’ He is also the founder of Traveledictorian – a travel blog that publishes well-thought-out travel content. 

His passion for writing, photography, and travel fueled him to explore Asia and the rest of the world. He also plans to undertake humanitarian work in his travels. Read his inspiring story and follow him on social media!

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