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.
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.
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.