Explore Hakone: Your Perfect 2-Day Getaway from Tokyo Unveiled

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Hakone is a destination known for its natural beauty, hot springs, and cultural attractions, with convenient access from Tokyo. Let’s introduce the highlights and recommended schedule for a trip to Hakone.

A trip to Hakone is recommended in the pleasant climate of spring and during the autumn foliage, but please consider that summer can be hot and difficult for moving around, and Owakudani is very cold in winter. *Drinking local sake at a ryokan and enjoying hot springs might be good even in winter.

It’s also a popular destination among Japanese people, so accommodation can be relatively expensive.

A good tip is to go on weekdays. Accommodation costs increase on Fridays and Saturdays, and it can be hard to book the Romancecar.


The Charm of Hakone and Recommended Schedule

Hakone is a famous tourist spot for its rich nature and hot springs.

It’s accessible from Tokyo in about 90 minutes via the Odakyu Line’s Romancecar.


Day 1: Enjoying Nature and Art in Hakone

Once you arrive, let’s take a walk around Hakone Yumoto Station.

You can eat onsen manju while looking for souvenir shops and places for lunch.

It’s okay to buy souvenirs on your way back. If you’re staying in Hakone Yumoto, you might not be able to check in yet, but the hotel or inn may hold your luggage for you, so ask the staff.

Riding the Hakone Tozan Railway: Board the Hakone Tozan Railway at Hakone Yumoto Station and enjoy a leisurely journey to Gora Station. Along the way, experiencing the breathtaking scenery is a unique experience only found in Hakone.


The Hakone Tozan Railway is uniquely characterized by its scenic mountain routes, making it a delightful experience for travelers. It’s Japan’s oldest mountain railway and is famous for its switchbacks, where trains zigzag up the steep slopes, offering passengers changing vistas at each turn. In particular, the journey between Hakone Yumoto and Gora is spectacular, especially during the hydrangea season when the flowers bloom along the tracks. Riding this railway offers a combination of engineering marvels and natural beauty, making it a must-do activity for anyone visiting Hakone.

Hakone Open-Air Museum: Enjoy art at this museum where sculptures are harmoniously displayed outdoors in nature.


Accommodation: Stay at a Hakone ryokan (hot spring inn) and enjoy a dinner made with local ingredients.


At a ryokan, a traditional Japanese breakfast is served. If you have any dietary preferences or dislikes, it’s best to inform them in advance. The ryokan staff may be able to prepare an alternative for you.

Hakone Gora Onsen “Gora Kadan”

Features: This ryokan boasts luxurious rooms and unique open-air baths. The cuisine mainly consists of Japanese dishes made with fresh local ingredients.
Access: About a 5-minute walk from Gora Station.
Recommended Point: The view from the rooms is splendid, and the private, open-air baths are particularly appealing.

Hakone Yumoto Onsen “Tenseien”

Features: A historic ryokan with a traditional Japanese garden as its highlight. The hot springs here are known for their skin-beautifying properties.
Access: Approximately 10 minutes by car from Hakone Yumoto Station.
Recommended Point: Enjoy traditional Japanese hospitality in a serene atmosphere.

Hakone Sengokuhara Onsen “Suisenkyo”

Features: Surrounded by nature in a tranquil setting, this ryokan allows you to enjoy hot springs while experiencing the changing seasons. It is famous for its seasonal kaiseki (multi-course) meals.
Access: About 30 minutes by bus from Hakone Yumoto Station.
Recommended Point: The natural surroundings and comfortable service are the main attractions.

Hakone Yumoto Onsen “Yoshiike Ryokan”

Features: This ryokan offers great value for money and is popular with families and couples. It is known for its simple yet heartwarming hospitality.
Access: About a 15-minute walk from Hakone Yumoto Station.
Recommended Point: The affordability and the authentic ryokan experience are its key attractions.

Hakone Gora Onsen “Gora Park Ryokan”

Features: Located near Gora Park, this ryokan allows you to feel close to nature. The view from its open-air baths is exceptional.
Access: Approximately a 10-minute walk from Gora Station.
Recommended Point: Enjoy the natural setting and the open-air baths with a sense of freedom.

Day 2: Enjoying Hot Springs and Scenic Views

Owakudani: Explore Hakone’s iconic volcanic area, savoring the scent of sulfur and trying hot spring eggs.

Hakone Gora Park:Hakone Gora Park, opened in 1914, is Japan’s first French-style formal garden located at Gora, the terminus of the Hakone Tozan Railway. The garden, with its seasonal beauty, resembles a picturesque painting at every turn.

Lake Ashi: Take in the beautiful view of Lake Ashi while enjoying a cruise on the Hakone Pirate Ship, appreciating the scenic beauty.


Hakone’s black eggs, known as “Kuro-tamago” in Japanese, are a unique culinary specialty found in the Owakudani region of Hakone. These eggs are hard-boiled in the naturally hot sulfuric waters of the volcanic valley, which turns their shells a distinctive black color due to a chemical reaction with the sulfur and iron in the water. It’s said that eating one of these eggs can extend your life by seven years. They are famous not only for their unusual appearance but also for their enhanced flavor from the mineral-rich waters.


Enjoyable Activities Around Lake Ashi

  1. Scenic Cruises
    Description: One of the most popular activities at Lake Ashi is to take a scenic cruise. These cruises offer breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and the surrounding mountains.
    Tip: Try to catch a cruise on a clear day for the best views of Mount Fuji.
  2. Hakone Shrine
    Description: The Hakone Shrine, located at the lake’s shore, is a serene and picturesque spot. It’s known for its iconic torii gate, which stands in the water.
    Tip: Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds and experience a more peaceful atmosphere.
  3. Hiking Trails
    Description: There are several hiking trails around Lake Ashi offering stunning views and a chance to explore the natural beauty of Hakone.
    Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring water, especially if you plan to hike the longer trails.
  4. Onsen (Hot Springs)
    Description: Hakone is famous for its hot springs. There are many onsen resorts around Lake Ashi where you can relax and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the hot spring waters.
    Tip: Check if the onsen you plan to visit allows day visitors and be sure to follow the onsen etiquette.
  5. Local Cuisine
    Description: The area around Lake Ashi offers a variety of local cuisine, including fresh seafood from the lake and traditional Japanese dishes.
    Tip: Try the local specialty, Hakone tofu, which is known for its smooth texture and delicate flavor.
  6. Photography Opportunities
    Description: Lake Ashi provides numerous opportunities for photography, from the lake itself to the surrounding landscapes and the iconic red torii gate of Hakone Shrine.
    Tip: For the best lighting, aim for early morning or late afternoon shots, especially for landscape photography.
  7. Cable Car and Ropeway
    Description: The Hakone Ropeway offers a unique way to see Lake Ashi from above and provides access to other attractions like Owakudani.
    Tip: Check the weather and volcanic activity reports before planning your trip on the ropeway.
    By incorporating these activities and tips, you can fully enjoy the beauty and cultural richness of Lake Ashi and its surroundings in Hakone. Whether it’s a leisurely cruise, a visit to a historic shrine, or a relaxing soak in an onsen, Lake Ashi has something for everyone.

Returning on the Hakone Tozan Railway: On the way back, use the Hakone Tozan Railway again to return to Hakone Yumoto Station. During this journey, you can also enjoy a relaxed time while appreciating the scenic views from the window.

Embark on a two-day journey to Hakone, a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural experiences near Tokyo. Day one features art immersion at the Hakone Open-Air Museum and a picturesque ride on the historic Hakone Tozan Railway. Luxuriate in a traditional ryokan with local culinary delights. Day two presents the volcanic marvels of Owakudani and the serene Lake Ashi with its cruises, iconic shrine, and panoramic views. Conclude with a relaxing trip back on the Tozan Railway, basking in the scenic beauty of Hakone. This itinerary promises a blend of relaxation, culture, and nature, perfect for a short getaway.

Hakone visitor center is a nature information center

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