Important Travel Information to Help You Plan Your Trip to Hakone
February 13, 2019
Thinking of taking a day trip out of the busy big city of Tokyo? Hakone is one of the most popular day trips you can take. Before I embark on a trip to a new city or a country that I’ve never been to, I always spend crazy lots of time on researching and planning. Hence, I’ve decided to start sharing articles on important travel information in order to make your research more convenient, and save you time from reading multiple articles. In this guide, you’ll be able to find information on getting to Hakone from Tokyo, the different means of transportation within Hakone, and the types of Hakone Passes that will benefit you the most.
Getting To Hakone
From Tokyo Narita International Airport, hop onto the JR Narita Express before switching to the Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar at Shinjuku Station. The entire journey to the Hakone-Yumoto Station takes approximately 2 hours 55 minutes.
From Haneda International Airport, take the Keihin Kyuko Line to Yokohama Station and switch to the JR Tokaido Line to Odawara Station. Finally, take the Hakone Tozan Train to the Hakone-Yumoto Station. The entire journey takes about 1 hour 45 minutes.
From Tokyo Station, you can ride the JR Tokaido Line to Odawara Station and switch to the Hakone Tozan Train which brings you to the Hakone-Yumoto Station. The total time taken is around 1 hour 40 minutes.
To speed things up – From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Odawara Station and switch to the Hakone Tozan Train which brings you to the Hakone-Yumoto Station. Your journey will only take an estimated time of 50 minutes.
Getting Around Hakone
Whether cruising through the sky, crossing a lake, ascending or descending mountain trails on wheels or ropeway, Hakone boasts exciting ways to explore around and a chance to experience nature.
The Hakone Ropeway brings you from Togendai-ko to Ubako to Owakudani to Sounzan. Sounzan Station is 757 metres high and Owakudani Station is 1,044 metres high. It takes around 10 minutes to travel between these two stations, and you get to enjoy the breathtaking view of Owakudani from a gondola height of 130 metres.
From Sounzan, you can take the Hakone Tozan Cable Car to Gora. The distance is approximately 1.2 kilometres, and the estimated travel time is 10 minutes. From Gora, travel to Odawara via the Hakone Tozan Railway. You get to admire the surrounding wilderness and stunning views from railroad bridges throughout your journey. Moreover, between Hakone-Yumoto and Kowakidani stations is an 80/1000 gradient – the steepest in Japan for an adhesion railway. The railcar climbs the steep incline in a switchback zig-zag, changing directions back and forth.
The Hakone Sightseeing Cruise is something you shouldn’t miss out on. This cruise operates between Hakonemachi, Moto-Hakone, and Togendai on Lake Ashi. There are three different sightseeing ships – the red Royal II, the chic Victory, and the Vasa with its elegant sculptures. Relax on the cruise while taking in the excellent Hakone skyline and a panoramic view of Mount Fuji.
As for buses, the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus offers direct transit from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Haneda Airport and Yokohama to Hakone and Gotemba. The Hakone Tozan Bus features many buses offering easy connections as it criss-crosses Hakone’s fascinating mountain roads. The Kanko Shitsetsu-Meguri Bus circles tour locations like museums, with skylight windows for you to enjoy the views of sky and trees along the way.
Types of Hakone Passes
Hakone Free Pass
The Hakone Free Pass allows for a round-trip travel on the Odakyu Line and unlimited use of 8 Hakone-area transportation modes. These refer to the Hakone Tozan Line, Hakone Tozan Cable Car, Hakone Tozan Bus, Kanko Shitsetsu-Meguri Bus, Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, Hakone Ropeway, Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus, and the Tokai Bus Orange Shuttle. Do note that there are terms and conditions. The Hakone Free Pass does not include Romancecar limited express surcharge. You have to buy a limited express ticket if you use Romancecar. The Free Pass is good for only one round-trip from the departure station to Odawara. The Hakone Free Pass (including those valid for multiple days) cannot be used after returning to your departure station. It can be purchased starting one month prior to date of travel. Showing your Hakone Free Pass entitles you to discounts or other bonuses at about 50 Hakone-area facilities. For more information, you can read up on the pamphlets available at the Odakyu Line and Hakone area stations.
Hakone Kamakura Pass
This pass allows you to ride the Odakyu Line and various transportations in Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura as much as you like. You will get unlimited use of 8 Hakone-area transportation modes. These refer to the Hakone Tozan Line, Hakone Tozan Cable Car, Hakone Tozan Bus, Kanko Shitsetsu-Meguri Bus, Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, Hakone Ropeway, Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus, and the Tokai Bus Orange Shuttle. Do note that there are terms and conditions. On top of those, you will get unlimited rides of all Enoden lines and unlimited rides of all Odakyu lines. This pass is valid for 3 days. The period of validity is indicated by the stamp on your ticket. Regardless of what time you start using the pass, the period of validity will end when transport operating hours end on the third day.
Where to Purchase Hakone Passes
You can get the passes from the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Centre in Shinjuku West. This is a special service counter for foreign tourists. English speaking staff are always available. They offer information about sightseeing along the Odakyu line in places like Hakone and Enoshima, as well as, sales of tickets and passes. The service centre operates from 8am to 6pm daily.
I hope you’ll find the above information useful. If you have more information to share, or need to clarify new changes that have been made since I last published and updated this article, feel free to leave a comment below.