Hakone (箱根) is an onsen region located about 90km south-west of Tokyo, scattered with ryokan whose life-blood is the natural hot spring water that flows into their communal baths. Japanese (at least the more affluent members of society) have been traveling to Hakone since the beginning of the Edo period, and today its proximity to Tokyo and natural beauty make it the most popular onsen destination from the capital. Indeed, long-established hotels like Fujiya Hotel can boast of having been host to Charlie Chaplin, John Lennon, King George VI, as well as numerous foreign dignitaries.

Lake Ashi

While there are many attractions in the area, those hoping for a bustling tourist mecca with souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars may be disappointed. Hakone-Yumoto—the gateway town to the region—does thrive off tourism, but once you head into the mountains the restaurants and gift shops are few and far between.

Hakone is also famous for yosegi-zaiku, a traditional Japanese parquetry which involves gluing different types of oblong strips of wood together to form an intricate mosaic. This merged block is then sliced or hollowed out to create boxes, cups, bookmarks, and so on.

The Hakone Free Pass

The Hakone Free Pass is a discount excursion ticket for the Hakone region which gives you unlimited use of public transportation in the region and reduced prices at many of the attractions. You can buy either a 2-day or 3-day pass but the price depends on where you purchase the ticket (Shinjuku Station or Hakone-Yumoto Station). Although more expensive if purchased at Shinjuku Station, it does entitle you to a discounted rate on the train from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto.

Information
Location
Hakone, Ashigarashimo District
« Google Maps »
Getting there

The Odakyu Limited Express “Romance Car” from Shinjuku Station departs every 30 minutes and takes you directly to Hakone-Yumoto. It takes 90 minutes and costs about ¥2,000. Seats must be reserved.

Visitors can also take the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station to Odawara (approximately 30 minutes) and see Odawara Castle before taking the Hakone Tozan Railway to Hakone-Yumoto and beyond. The Hakone Tozan Railway climbs from Odawara up to Gora (541m) where visitors who wish to continue higher up the mountain can switch to the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. The train itself provides some spectacular views of the region as it zig-zags its way up the slopes.

The Odakyu company has created a superb tourist map of the area highlighting the rail and ropeway routes as well as all the key attractions in the region. Download the map here.

Key Attractions

Hakone Open-Air Museum

An outdoor collection of over 100 works of art by famous sculptors from around the world which includes a Picasso Museum, viewing tower, and 20-meter foot-bath.
9:00-17:00
Adults ¥1,600 with discounts for students and children (discounts for online purchases)

Hakone Pirate Pleasure Boat

Three “pirate boats” which ferry passengers between Togendai, Hakone-Machi, and Moto-Hakone
First and last departures are 9:30 and 17:00 (16:00 between December and March)
¥1,000 one-way from Hakone-Machi or Moto-Hakone to Togendai at the other end of the lake. ¥1,840 return. Elementary school students can ride half price

Hakone Sekisho

Key checkpoint during the Edo Period on the Tokaido—the main route which connected Edo and Kyoto.
9:00-17:00 (until 16:30 between December and February)
Adults ¥500

Hakone Shrine

A shrine is notable for its large, red torii which stands on the shore of Lake Ashi. The shrine was originally on the summit of Mount Komagatake, but was moved to its current location in the late 17th century. The walk through the forest and up the stone steps is very enjoyable.

Hakone Yumoto

Gateway town to the Hakone region and the destination of the Romance Car from Shinjuku. A great place to pick up a souvenir or try the local delicacies.

Hakone Yuryo Onsen

Traditional onsen near Hakone Yumoto with a löyly sauna service and private open-air bath tubs.
10:00-21:00 (last admission 20:00). Closing time is extended by one hour at the weekends
Adults ¥1,400, children ¥700. Towel set is not included but bath and face towels are available for purchase at the reception

Owakudani

Crater formed about 3,000 years ago from a volcanic explosion famous for its bubbling pools and steam vents. Kuro-tamago (“black eggs”), which are boiled in the volcanic pools and sold to tourists, are said to increase life-expectancy by seven years.

The POLA Museum of Art

The POLA Museum of Art was established by Pola Orbis Group, a Japanese cosmetics company, and showcases the…
9:00-17:00
Adults ¥1,800 with discounts for students and children
You May Also Like

Nikko

Nikko (日光, Nikkō) is a small town in Tochigi Prefecture that is known for being a gateway to…

Miura Peninsula

Miura Peninsula (三浦半島 Miura-hantō) is a peninsula located in Kanagawa, about an hour on the train south of…

Boso Peninsula

The Boso Peninsula (房総半島, Bōsō Hantō) is a peninsula east of Tokyo Bay that covers almost all of…

Fuji Five Lakes

Fuji Five Lakes (富士五湖, Fujigoko) is the most popular spots from which to view Mount Fuji. The region,…