Hakone: A Day Trip to Remember

Many visitors to Japan plan an itinerary that starts in Tokyo then quickly moves further south to places like Kyoto or further north to places like Hokkaido.

Of course, this is perfectly fine, what beautiful places to visit and should be included in any itinerary if visiting Japan. However, if your plans do start in Tokyo, I highly recommend including at least one day trip in either; Hakone, Kamakura or Nikko. You will not be disappointed. Hakone in particular holds a special place in my heart and here’s why.

Hakone is less than 100 kilometres from Tokyo, full of beautiful and amazing hot springs and is incredibly close to the infamous Mt. Fuji. After a few months of living in Japan, I was told quite a lot about Hakone and it made me very eager to visit. However, I also knew that my parents and sister were going to visit towards the end of my first year and I decided to wait until then so I could experience it with them. And boy did we have an experience, it was stunning, amazing, incredible.

What a round-trip looks like. photo by odakyu.co.jp

What a round-trip looks like. photo by odakyu.co.jp

It is quite easy to buy a ticket to travel to Hakone, most people go directly to Shinjuku station and buy tickets in the Odakyu tourist office where friendly staff who speak English will help you. A Hakone freepass is the best and most popular option and the price of a two day pass begins at 5,000yen. Look at the map below to see what this price includes, very worthwhile if you ask me.

The Hakone freepass includes boat, train, cable car and bus transportation roundtrip which you can experience at your leisure. Stay overnight in a ryokan? No problem. Luxuriate in an onsen? No problem. One day trip and experience everything it has to offer? Also no problem.

The 'romance' car train on arrival in Hakone

The ‘romance’ car train on arrival in Hakone

First port of call - an amazingly designed ship

First port of call – an amazingly designed ship

View before boarding

View before boarding

Even on a dull day the views were incredible

Even on a dull day the views were incredible

Waiting to eat our 'black eggs' - a speciality that must be tried

Waiting to eat our ‘black eggs’ – a speciality that must be tried

Cable car time - I wish i'd captured my Dad's terrified face

Cable car time – I wish i’d captured my Dad’s terrified face

Going up...

Going up…

To see this incredible view.

To see this incredible view.

Amazing but beware the smell of sulphur is atrocious. Worth it though.

Amazing but beware the smell of sulphur is atrocious. Worth it though.

Crater. Hakone.

Crater. Hakone.

Maybe now you understand why one of the first things I told my parents and sister when they arrived was…..we are visiting Hakone. It was everything I hoped it would be and more and I think they enjoyed it too. Hakone can be visited all year round but spring and autumn are considered the best times to go due to the weather.

Hakone is well worth a visit and encapsulates the traditions, culture and history of Japan and if you’re lucky enough, you just might see the glorious views of Mt. Fuji in the distance.

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Author of this article

Ciara Lynch

Ciara Lynch is a teacher, writer and enthusiast of all things Japanese. Readers can find more of her experiences about living abroad in a country so very different to her own. Travels, ramblings, photography and expat advice make up a lot of this blog: http://www.travellingtalesofciara.com

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