The 7 Most Unique Things To Do In Hakone & More Travel Tips

Hakone Japon 01 - Mont Fuji Lac Ashi Couverture

If you’re going to visit Tokyo (or happen to be there already) and would like to experience something different (maybe a bit of greenery for a change), Hakone is where it’s at! It’s only an hour and a half away from Tokyo and you’ll be able to go on hikes around Lake Ashi and contemplate the impressive Mount Fuji.

By the way, you will only be able to see Mount Fuji if the weather is clear enough so plan your trip on a nice, sunny day to make the most of it.

Let’s take a look at how you can get to Hakone and where you can stay before reviewing the main attractions you can visit.

Hakone Freepass

The train is your best option to go to Hakone. In fact, the Odakyu Line will take you to the Hakone Yumoto station. The train ticket from Tokyo isn’t really expensive; what’s really expensive is transportation in Hakone. But don’t worry, the Freepass will make things much easier for you and will even allow you to save some money.

Hakone Free Pass

The Pass includes a round-trip ticket from Shinjuku, unlimited access to local bus lines, free boat trips on Lake Ashi and free cable car trips. Have a look at this area map for more info.

Hakone Japon 16 - Moto Hakone Lac Ashi Bateau Ferry

The Hakone Freepass will allow you to travel to Hakone for much cheaper and will even give you access to many onsen and museums for discounted prices.

You can choose between the following packages:

  • A two-day pass for about $46
  • A three-day pass for about $50

So if you’re not in a hurry and can afford to stay in Hakone for three days, by all means do, even though two days will also be enough to visit the area. You’ll have to buy an e-ticket online and will need to get your pass at one of many pick-up locations, including Shinjuku’s Odakyu station. So get your e-ticket and show up at the Shinjuku Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Odakyu Shinjuku station to exchange it for the Freepass. They’re open from 8AM ‘til 6PM.

You can pick up your Freepass on the day you’re leaving for Hakone or sooner, it’s all up to you. If you’d like to check train timetables, have a look at the Hyperdia website. Remember your pass only covers the Odakyu Line, not the Shinkansen lines. Here’s a train you can take with your pass:

Shinjuku Hakone Yumoto Train Odakyu Line

Where To Stay In Hakone?

Fukuzumiro Hakone Ryokan Japon Hotel 2

The best accommodation option in Hakone is definitely a Ryokan. You will find amazing Japanese Traditional Inns in Hakone and we selected our favorite ones here: Best Ryokan in Hakone.

Mt Fuji Ryokan #10 – Green Plaza Hakone 1

If you are more looking for a cheapest option, we highly recommend you Emblem Flow Hakone. It is located one minute away from Gora station, which is pretty convenient if you want to visit the Open Air Museum. They even have an onsen bath available for their guests for no extra costs!

Emblem Flow Hakone

Their restaurant serves delicious food and the whole atmosphere at the Emblem Flow Hakone is so enjoyable. They also organise events on a regular basis so I’m sure you will have fun during your stay.

Emblem Flow Hakone 1

The 7 Best Things To Do In Hakone

You’re now ready to travel to Hakone! Let’s review my seven favorite places to visit in the area:

  1. Hakone Checkpoint
  2. The Onshi Hakone Koen Park
  3. Lake Ashi
  4. The Hakone Jinja Shrine
  5. The Open Air Museum
  6. The Yunessun Onsen
  7. Odawara Castle

1. Hakone Checkpoint

Hakone Japon 06 - Check Point

You have to stop at the Hakone Sekisho Mae bus station to visit the Checkpoint. What’s that you say? Well, during the Edo period, Hakone was a border checkpoint where travelers and goods entering or leaving the Edo capital were inspected. Edo is Tokyo’s former name by the way.

Hakone’s Checkpoint is therefore a historical site that illustrates the authoritarian regime back in the Edo period in Japan. You’ll come across two huge gates like the one in the picture below, one leading to Edo and the other to Kyoto, the former imperial capital.

Hakone Japan 07 - Check Point Coté Kyoto

2. The Onshi Hakone Koen Park

Hakone Japan 10 - Onshi Hakone Koen Observatoire Mont Fuji Lac Ashi

The Onshi Hakone Koen park is absolutely mesmerizing, especially during the cherry blossom season. It’s located right here, near the Checkpoint. Located high up in the mountains, this park offers terrific scenic views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji.

I cannot recommend this place enough so if you have the opportunity to go there, get yourself lost in the landscape!

I saw this beautiful couple walking in the park, aren’t they cute? #ForeverLove

Hakone Japan 15 - Torii Onshi Hakone Koen Observatoire Mont Fuji Lac Ashi

3. The Lake Ashi

After your little stroll in the park, you can head to Lake Ashi by crossing the wonderful cedar forest, also known as Ancient Cedar Avenue.

Hakone Japan 08 - Foret Ancient Cedar Avenue

Once you get to Lake Ashi, these amazing views will blow your mind.

Hakone Japon 17 - Moto Hakone Lac Ashi Mont Fuji Torii

You might also notice a few boats coming and going.

If you’ve purchased a Freepass, boat trip costs on Lake Ashi will be covered. But before boarding, walk along the lake until you get to the Hakone Jinja Shrine’s torii.

Hakone Japan 18 - Lac Ashi Torii

The lake Ashi in Hakone is actually part of our top 10 places to visit in Japan. Check out the rest of the list here: Most Beautiful Places in Japan.

4. The Hakone Jinja Shrine

Hakone Japon 20 - Hakone Shrine Sanctuaire Foret

As you can see, the Hakone Jinja Shrine is nestled in the forest and that gives it a unique appeal. There will be some stairs to climb, then you will meet the guardian lions of the shrine.

Hakone Japon 22 - Hakone Shrine Sanctuaire Foret

To enter the shrine, you will need to purify yourself at the dragons’ fountain first. Japanese people perform a small ritual before entering the shrine: it’s like an ablution where they rinse their mouth with water to clean it and then wash their hands one of after the other. You don’t have to do it by the way but if you do, that would be cool! 😉

Hakone Japon 23 - Hakone Shrine Sanctuaire Fontaine Dragon

5. The Open Air Museum

Hakone Japon 33 - Open Air Museum Musée

The Open Air Museum is another attraction not to miss in Hakone. It’s right next to Kowakidani station and you can get there if you take the very old but absolutely charming Tozan train.

Hakone Japon 24 - Train Hakone Tozan Train

The Open Air Museum is a huge museum where great works of art are displayed, including ones that allude to Picasso’s works. I think this is a must-see attraction, especially in good weather.

Greetings from the park!

Hakone Japon 25 - Open Air Museum Musée

6. Yunessun Onsen

Hakone Japon - Yunessun Onsen Spa

If you’d like to have an even more enjoyable trip, you can visit an outstanding onsen called Yunessun to relax and unwind. Apart from traditional onsen, Yunessun offers sake, wine, coffee or matcha-flavored baths, and many more activities and attractions to try.

There are also areas in Yunessun where you are allowed to wear a swimsuit, for those of you who feel like it. 😉

7. Odawara Castle

Hakone Japon 02 - Chateau d'Odawra Castle

Last but not least is Odawara Castle. Odawara station is only two stations away from Yumoto station so don’t miss out on Odawara Castle if you’re visiting the area. Here’s it the exact location.

Hakone Japon 03 - Chateau d'Odawra Castle

You can go inside the castle but you’ll have to pay around $4.5 for that.

There you go, Hakone has no more secrets for you! I hope you like this blog post and that it will help you plan your next trip to Hakone. Please share it around and ask me any questions you have in the comment section below!

Don’t forget you can follow me on social media for more tips on how to travel in and around Japan and Asia by subscribing to my FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

See you around,


PS: We recommend more cities to visit around Tokyo here: Tokyo Day Trips.


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