Visit Hakone

Hakone is famous for its splendid views with the Mount Fuji. It is surrounded by beautiful lakes and is well known for the multitude of onsen – the traditional Japanese baths. If you are looking for a relaxing day away from the busy capital of Tokyo, visit Hakone as it’s totally worth in.


You can come from Tokyo to Hakone by train. You will need to stop in Odawara for a change, taking the train towards Hakone Tozan and stopping at Hakone Yumoto.

Hakone Pass

For a better deal, instead of paying each transportation individually, you can opt in for a pass. It is valid for two or three days and you can purchase it based on your start point, Shinkuju (Tokyo) or Odawara station. For example from Shinjuku the prices are ¥5,700 / 2 days and ¥6,100 / 3 days per adult. From Odawara, are with ¥1,100 cheaper.


There are many trails and routes to discover Hakone in depth if you really want to spend more time in the nature. However, there is a general route everybody is following it, especially for the first visit in the area.

From Hakone Yumoto train station, go down to get a bus towards Motohakone-ko. From here, you have a few options for how to proceed further:

Visit the Hakone-jinja Shrine

Founded in 757, this shrine is were samurai families worshipped. While you’ll take the cruise on the lake, you’ll notice its red tori gate.

Walk the ancient cedar avenue

This road is home to 400 years old cedars and is 2 km long. The trees were planted to give travelers protection from the bad weather.

Take the Hakone Sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi is the symbol of Hakone. If you have good weather and it’s sunny, you can see the Mount Fuji along the cruise.


If you are lucky enough and it’s open, you can continue your journey by taking the Hakone rope-way towards Owakudani, Togendai station. This is the “Valley of hell” formed after a volcanic eruption. The sulfurous fumes and the clouds of steam are continuing to rise from the old crater. Unfortunately for visitors, when the gas is above the normal limits, the area is closed and you cannot visit it – like in my case.

If you’re lucky to find it open, you can buy and eat a black egg, an Owakudani specialty. It is said eating one egg will bring you seven years more to your life.

Continue your itinerary with the Hakone Tozan cable car towards Gora. From there you can spend some time exploring the small village or take the Hakone Tozan train to go back to your starting point, the Hakone Yumoto train station.


Apart from this itinerary, there many museums to see in the area. The most popular ones are :

  • Open Air Museum in Hakone, Chokoku-no-Mori Bijitsukan
  • Hakone Art Museum, Hakone Bijutsukan
  • Pola Museum of Art
  • Lalique Museum
  • Hakone Venetian Glass Museum
  • Museum of The Little Prince and Saint-Exupery


The entire Hakone area is well known for its nature. Even more, if you go in different seasons, you will have a different image with the place as its changing its colors. For example, early to mid-April you can see the cherry blossom trees, early to late May the azaleas, mid-June to late July the hydrangeas, September to October the susuki grass and during November-December the autumn foliage.

Mount Fuji views

Many people are coming to visit Hakone because of its magnificent views with the mount Fuji. Even if you’re coming by car or for trekking, there are some famous view points with Fuji-san you must not miss it. For example, we went to the Mount Taikan, 1012 m to have this beautiful view from the picture above.

Of course, you can chose one from the big list. There are a few on the top of the mountains around, like Mt. Myojingatake 1169 meter, Mt. Komagatake 1356 meter, Mt. Kintoki 1212 meter or some more accessible ones from Hakone-jinja shrine, Shakusi pass or Mikuni pass.

Mishima Sky Walk

There is a bus from Motohakone-ko which can take you in about 20 minutes to the longest human suspension bridge in Japan. It has 400 meters and I did heard it offers spectacular views. I did missed it last time, so it’s on my list for my next visit!


To end your experience in a memorable way, stop in Hakone Yumoto for onsen. Onsen is a thermal Japanese bath which will may shock you as European.

While all my colleagues at work told me to try onsen, I never thought it can be something tricky behind the scene. But there is, and the big surprise is that you need to be naked to enjoy the experience. Of course, women and men are separately, but if you are a shy person you should better know in advance.

Personally, I had no clue about this, so I discovered it after paying the entrance and going inside with my two Japanese friends, a cool lady and her little daughter. It was awkward but… after a while I got used to.

The good part is that you can rent a towel – which is super small – or you can bring your own towel, as I did. Like this, while walking around the baths, you can at least cover some parts of your body.

The end

I did enjoyed the overall experience and I will definitely go again to visit Hakone. This time, I will check in advance for the Owakudani valley to be open for visits and I want to try the bridge walk even if I am afraid of heights.

Last but not least, a big thank you to this two amazing friends, Mayumi and Kaede, for spending the day with me. We met randomly for the first time, in Laos (picture on the right), and a few months later we met again, to enjoy another trip together in Japan. Life is amazing when you have friends all over the world!

Meanwhile, if you are curious to know more about Japan and its amazing places, read more here.