Tokyo to Hakone Day Trip: Fantastic Mt Fuji Views, Hot Springs, Art and More

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There is so much to see and do in the Hakone Region that we would definitely recommend that you plan to stay in Hakone for at least 1-2 nights to make the most of the local options. However, many people are on a tight timeframe when they visit Japan so plan to do a day trip to Hakone instead.

Having spent time in the Hakone region we have put together our recommended Hakone itinerary for a one day visit, including various options depending on your personal interests. Things to do in Hakone include fun train, boat and bus trips, a ropeway trip, exploring a volcanic area, views of Mt Fuji when the weather is co-operative, shrines and beautiful tree lined walks, an onsen experience, art galleries and much more!

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Hakone Day Trip

The starting point for the Hakone loop is Hakone-Yumato Station. Note that there are luggage storage options including lockers and luggage storage services available in both Odawara Station and Hakone-Yumato Station, which are a great option if you plan to keep travelling after your day exploring the Hakone region.

Tokyo to Hakone Train Options

About the Hakone Free Pass

Most people find that purchasing a Hakone Free Pass is the best option to get from Shinjuku Station to Hakone, even if the train is slower than the shinkansen. The Hakone Pass is valid for a two or three day period and includes:

  • Return transportation from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumato Station on local Odakyu Lines (which require you to change trains at Odawara Station). These trains take approximately 1:52 hours each way.
  • All Tozan bus transportation around the Hakone Loop
  • Hakone Tozan Train Trip from Hakone-Yumato to Gora
  • Hakone Ropeway between Gora and Togendai Port
  • A pirate boat ride on Lake Ashi.
  • Discounts on entry to many Hakone attractions.

Voyagin is a reputable online travel agency located in Japan, we have used them ourselves and have worked with them for several years and they provide good service and cost effective tickets and tours for Japan. You can use the link below to purchase your Hakone Free Pass in advance, and if they have a promotion on you may be able to save some money!

  Click here to pre-order your Hakone Free Pass including return transport from Shinjuku Station through Voyagin

Alternatively, you can purchase your Hakone Free Pass in advance from the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center, Shinjuku West in Odakyu Shinjuku station. You can also book an upgrade either at the Service Centre or online to the faster Limited Express Train called the Romance Car Hakone Train which travels direct to Hakone-Yumato Station and return – make sure you purchase your tickets early as this train regularly sells out. The Romance Car also has an observation deck which is a great option to see the countryside as you travel to Hakone, and is a faster 1:23 hour trip each way.

Tokyo to Hakone Shinkansen

If you have an active Japan Rail Pass an easy option is to catch the Tokyo to Hakone shinkansen (or bullet train) from either Tokyo Station, Shinagawa Station or Shin-Yokohama Station. Typical travel time from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station is 33 minutes. You can purchase a cheaper Hakone Free Pass at Odawara Station which does not include the return transport from Tokyo.

There are several different shinkansen options which stop at Odawara Station (and many which do not stop at all at Odawara Station!), so when you make your seat reservation ensure that you are catching the correct train. If you are using a Japan Rail Pass and planning to use the unreserved seating area, also ensure you check you are on the correct train before boarding.

From Odawara Station you should then plan to change trains onto the local Hakone Tozan Train Line to Hakone-Yumato Station, the major gateway to the Hakone region, a trip of 14 minutes. Note that this train is not covered by your Japan Rail Pass so you will need to either purchase a ticket, use your Suica, Pasmo or ICOCA tap on tap off public transport card or if you have purchased a Hakone Free Pass you can use this pass.

Using Your Japan Rail Pass to Visit Hakone

You cannot use your JR Pass to travel on the Hakone Loop, you will need to use either a Hakone Free Pass, purchase tickets as you go or use your tap on tap off Suica or Pasmo public transport card.

Hakone Itinerary

Your Hakone 1 day itinerary starts at Hakone-Yumato Station. Make sure you get an early start from Tokyo and plan to arrive in Hakone-Yumato Station by 9am, having already purchased your Hakone Free Pass. If you arrive later that is fine, the great thing is that the Hakone Loop is very flexible!

The below map shows the major attractions which you may want to visit during your one day trip to Hakone.

Hakone Public Onsens

Your first decision is whether you want to bathe in a public onsen whilst visiting Hakone. There are three main options which are available for day trippers. Note that in many attractions in Hakone there are also options to bathe your feet in a hot spring fed footbath!

Once you have decided which onsen you plan to visit and at what part of your day you can then plan the rest of your itinerary around your onsen visit.

Hakone Yuryo Onsen

The first option is the Hakone Yuryo public onsen, which is a traditionally styled hot spring resort, which offers a selection of both public (gender separated) and private hot springs, an on site restaurant and relaxation packages. If you are travelling with children check the rules. Note that as this is a traditional onsen no bathing suits are allowed. Also tattoos are not permitted in this onsen.

They are located close to Hakone-Yumato Station, and offer a free shuttle bus service between between 9am and 9pm on weekdays and 9am and 10pm on weekends and public holidays. The shuttle bus runs every 10-15 minutes, and takes around 3 minutes each way. Alternatively it is located a 200m walk to Tonosawa Station, where you can hop on the Hakone Tozan Train to continue the trip up the mountain to Gora.

This is a great option to visit either at the beginning or at the end of your one day trip to Hakone, as it is open late and you can catch a later train back to Tokyo. Plan to visit for at least 1-2 hours to make the most of your experience.

Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park

The second onsen option is the Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park located in Gora. It has a section where you can wear a swimsuit and try out a great range of different onsen baths.  Options include the green tea onsen, red wine onsen, coffee onsen and many more including water slides, both indoor and outdoor!  There is also a more traditional onsen section where you bathe without clothing. Note that tattoos are not allowed in the Theme Park.

Plan to visit for at least 2-3 hours to make the most of your experience. This is a great family friendly onsen option.

Also, if you plan to visit some art galleries this is a great option as it is located close by the Okada Museum of Art and the Hakone Open-Air Museum (details further below).

Click here to purchase your Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park tickets through Voyagin

It is easy to get to Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park. You can either catch a Tozan Bus direct from Hakone-Yumato Station, a trip of 19 minutes. Or catch the Hakone Tozan Train to Kowakudani Station, a trip of 18 minutes, then transfer to the Tozan Bus to the Kowakien Bus Stop for the final leg, a trip of 4 minutes.

Main Onsen Room in Yunessun Onsen Theme Park in Gora Hakone
Main Onsen Room in Yunessun Onsen Theme Park in Gora Hakone
Coffee Onsen Bath in Yunessun Onsen Theme Park in Gora Hakone
Coffee Onsen Bath in Yunessun Onsen Theme Park in Gora Hakone

Tenzan Tohji-kyo Onsen

Tenzan Tohji-kyo Onsen is located on the western side of Hakone township where you can bathe in outdoor onsen baths in a natural setting. There are 5 male and 6 female baths so you can have many different experiences and at different temperatures. Note that as this is a traditional onsen no bathing suits are allowed. Tattoos are permitted in this onsen. They are open from 9am to 10pm daily.

They are located close to Hakone-Yumato Station, and you can easily get there on the Tozan bus, a trip of approximately 8 minutes, followed by a 200m walk.

This is a good option at the end of your day as it is located on the main route back to Hakone-Yumato Station from Lake Ashi.

Plan to visit for at least 1-2 hours to make the most of your experience.

Hakone Tozan Train Trip from Hakone-Yumato to Gora

Now that you have your onsen experience planned out, it is time to get started! At Hakone-Yumato Station transfer to the Hakone Tozan Train up the hill to Gora, a 37 minute trip where you climb from 96m to 541m above sea level!  The trains depart approximately every 10 minutes. Alternatively you can also catch the Tozan Buses to Kigasakashita Bus Stop in Gora, a trip of 14 minutes.  Both options are included in your Hakone Free Pass.

While the train takes longer than the bus it is the better option because it takes a very scenic route through the forest and valleys, stopping at small stations and having to change directions at three switchbacks.  In June and July the Hakone Tozan Train trip is at its best when the hydrangea flowers are in bloom along the route, and additional night time trains are run with the blooms being illuminated. 

Hakone Tozan Train
Hakone Tozan Train

Your second decision is where to hop off the Hakone Tozan Train as there are a lot of options to see and do around Gora as detailed below.

Gora Township

Gora has so much to see and do that you can easily spend a whole day exploring! If you love art then Gora should be on your ‘must visit’ list as there are several spectacular art galleries in the area.

Okada Museum of Art

The Okada Museum of Art is a privately owned museum specialising in East Asian art which is located less than a 100m walk from the Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park.

Pieces on show include both ancient and modern Japanese and Chinese sculptures and ceramics. Displays have information displayed in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese languages. The gardens are well regarded and there is a cafe on site, including the option to bathe your feet in their natural hot springs. Plan to visit for at least 1-2 hours to make the most of your experience.

There is a Tozan Bus service from Kowakien Bus Stop which will take you direct to Gora Station, a trip of 5 minutes, with the option to stop off at the Hakone Open Air Museum along the way.

Hakone Open Air Museum

The Hakone Open-Air Museum is one of the most well known museums in Hakone. It includes both indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring both Japanese and international artists.

A key permanent exhibition is the Picasso Pavilion which has on display paintings, sculptures and ceramics by Picasso. In addition, there are shops, cafes as well as a child play area. You can also get your hot spring vibe on by using their outdoor foot bath. Plan to visit for at least 1-2 hours (or more!) to make the most of your experience.

You can catch the Hakone Tozan Train to Chokokunomori Station, a trip of 35 minutes, followed by a 150m walk. Alternatively, from the Kowakien Bus Stop near the Okada Museum of Art / Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Theme Park you can catch the Tozan Bus, a trip of 3 minutes.

From the Hakone Open-Air Museum you can easily catch the Tozan Bus to Gora Station, a trip of 3 minutes.

Hakone Gora Park

Hakone Gora Park is a short 300m walk from Gora Station, and is a great option to explore a French style garden. There is both a teahouse and restaurant on site. A popular option is to participate in craft activities in the Hakone Crafthouse, including glass blowing, pottery and more! Ensure that you make an advance booking as they regularly are booked out.

Gora Brewery and Grill

Gora Brewery and Grill is located close to Hakone Gora Park and is a highly rated Japanese grill restaurant which is partnered with Nobu.

Tamura Ginkatsu-tei Restaurant

Tamura Ginkatsu-tei Restaurant is very popular and specialises in Shakuri Tofu – made by wrapping ground pork in tofu, then fried and cooked in a clay pot. The restaurant usually has a queue of people waiting so ensure you allow enough time for your visit.

North of Gora Station Side Trip

There are some great additional attractions to the north of Gora Station in the Sengoku area which may be worth a side trip if you are an art fan.

Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

Your first stopping option is the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum which showcases over 100 pieces of Venetian Glassware, both modern and classical. There is a beautiful Italian themed museum, shops, gardens and cafe.

From Gora Station you can catch a Tozan Bus, a trip of 11 minutes.

Little Prince Museum

The Little Prince Museum is devoted to the the story of The Little Prince which was published in 1943, written by author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in France. The museum is styled as a French Village where you can learn more about the author’s life.

From Gora Station you can catch a Tozan Bus, a trip of 17 minutes. From the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum it is a trip of 4 minutes.

Sengokuhara Yuzen Restaurant

Sengokuhara Yuzen fine dining restaurant is adults only and specialises in Japanese cuisine, and also has a large selection of sake to try. It is located next door to the Little Prince Museum so don’t miss out!

Pola Museum of Art

The Pola Museum of Art displays the private art collection of the late Suzuki Tsuneshi. The collection includes a large range of European and Japanese art including works by famous artists such as Monet, Picasso, Renoir and Cezanne.

From Gora Station you can catch a Tozan Bus, a trip of 13 minutes. From The Little Prince Museum it is a trip of 6 minutes.

Hakone Tozan Cable Car and Hakone Ropeway

From Gora to Sounzan you can catch the very steep Hakone Tozan Cable Car and enjoy the views of Sounzan Observation Deck at an altitude of 767m (2516ft), where you can enjoy views of Gora and Mt Hakone.  If the weather is clear you may also be able to see Sagami Bay to the south.

From Sounzan you can catch the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani and then on to Togendai Port at the northern end of Lake Ashi.  You can also see views of Mt Fuji at locations along the Hakone Ropeway if the weather is in your favour.

Owakudani is a fascinating place to visit and see volcanic activity – let’s just say that the smell of sulphur will be enduring!  You can also eat a black egg which has been cooked in volcanic waters – the egg turns black due to a reaction between the calcium in the egg shell and the minerals in the water, and the egg is perfectly fine to eat and is a local speciality! 

Hakone Ropeway Over Owakudani Volcanic Area
Hakone Ropeway Over Owakudani Volcanic Area
Owakudani Volcanic Area in Hakone 2
Owakudani Volcanic Area in Hakone

From Owakudani you can catch the Hakone Ropeway to Togendai Port which is a pleasant journey down the mountain with views of Mt Fuji.

Togendai Port on Lake Ashi Hakone
Togendai Port on Lake Ashi Hakone

Note that the Hakone Ropeway sometimes closes due to an increased level of volcanic activity in Owakudani. When this occurs alternate bus options are provided.  This issue does not affect sightseeing in the rest of Hakone.  Click here to check whether the ropeway is open prior to your journey.

Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi provides lovely views over Mt Fuji, and there are several cruise options including a pirate ship cruise.

At the northern end of Lake Ashi you can catch a pirate ship to cruise on the lake from Togendai Port and Motohakone and Hakonemachi at the southern end of the lake.  The cruise is included in your Hakone Free Pass.  If you are lucky you will also be able to see Mt Fuji during your cruise.

The Pirate Ship Cruise travels in a loop as follows. Cruises start around every 20-40 minutes, check the latest timetable at this link.

  • From Togendai Port to Hakonemachi takes around 25 minutes
  • from Hakonemachi to Motohakone takes around 10 minutes
  • the return trip to Togendai Port takes around 25 minutes

I suggest you catch the cruise to Motohakone Port, and then return by bus or via walking to Hakonemachi to get back to Hakone-Yumato Station, as the Tozan bus travels via Hakonemachi anyway.

Pirate Ship Cruise on Lake Ashi in Hakone
Pirate Ship Cruise on Lake Ashi in Hakone

In Motohakone you can do the short 5 minute walk to Hakone Shrine to see their famous torii gate on the edge of Lake Ashi and to explore the temple complex.

Hakone Shrine Torii Gate on Lake Ashi in Hakone
Hakone Shrine Torii Gate on Lake Ashi in Hakone

Shinsho Soba Restaurant

If you fancy a bite to eat while in Motohakone then check out the Shinsho Soba Noodle Restaurant – they are well reviewed and offer handmade buckwheat soba noodle dishes.

Motohakone to Hakonemachi Walk

Also from Motohakone you can do the short walk along the ancient Kyukaido highway and see the lovely corridor of Japanese cedar trees. The walk to the Hakone Checkpoint in Hakonemachi is 1.5km or 0.9mi, a pleasant 20-30 minute stroll through the amazing tree lined route.

Walk along the ancient Kyukaido highway between Hakonemachi and Motohakone and see a lovely corridor of Japanese cedar trees

In Hakonemachi you can visit the historic Hakone Checkpoint from the Edo Period which has been reconstructed. 

Lake Ashi to Hakone-Yumato Station

From Hakonemachi or Motohakone you can easily catch a Hakone Tozan Bus to return to Hakone-Yumato Station. From Motohakone it is a 29 minutes journey. From Hakonemachi it is a 23 minute journey. Note that there are two possible routes used – one goes direct and the other takes a longer route via Kowakudani.

Be aware that these roads can get high traffic at peak times such as the beginning and end of the day so allow extra time to travel.

Remember if you decided to visit an onsen as your final stop on your Hakone loop that you should also plan to get off the bus at either Tenzan Tohji-kyo Onsen (make sure you are catching the correct bus on the shorter route), or travel on to Hakone-Yumato Station and catch the free shuttle bus to Hakone Yuryo Onsen.

Your day trip to Hakone comes to an end at this point at Hakone-Yumato Station. From here you can either catch the train back to Tokyo or travel onwards to your next destination. If you are travelling via shinkansen then you will need to catch the train from Hakone-Yumato Station to Odawara Station.

There are many souvenir stores and restaurants around Hakone-Yumato Station so take advantage of a final stop! Look for Nisshin Tei restaurant and Hakone Curry Cocoro close by which are both open to 9pm.

Alternative End Route from Lake Ashi to Mishima Station

An alternative end to your Hakone day trip is to catch the Tokai Bus Orange Shuttle from Hakonemachi to the Mishima Skywalk which is a bus trip of 16 minutes.

Mishima Skywalk

The Mishima Skywalk, at a length of 400 meters / 1312 ft, is the longest pedestrian only suspension bridge in Japan.  You can see views of both Mt Fuji and Suruga Bay from the bridge. It is open from 9am to 5pm daily. 

We really enjoyed the views, and a great add on family activity is the 300m long zip line across the valley! Klook has a great package below to book into this activity.

Click here to check out and book the Mt Fuji View Zipline, Mishima Skywalk and Forest Adventure Set Ticket through Klook

Mishima Skywalk in Hakone Japan
Mishima Skywalk in Hakone Japan
Views from the Mishima Skywalk in Hakone
Views from the Mishima Skywalk in Hakone

From the Mishima Skywalk you can also catch the bus to Mishima Station, a journey of 34 minutes. Mishishima Station is a shinakansen station which provides easy access to and from Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. Make sure you check the Tokai bus timetable in advance as they travel less frequently along this route.

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You are also welcome to join our Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

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