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The mountainous town of Hakone is an idyllic getaway into nature and Japanese tradition. Hakone has beautiful onsens, traditional Japanese restaurants, and on clear days, views of Mount Fuji.
Whether you plan to visit Hakone as a quick day trip from Tokyo or a longer retreat, you’ll find plenty to do. I had an incredible girls’ weekend recently in Hakone and was lucky enough to get sweeping views of Mount Fuji during the trip. Hakone was such an easy town to reach and visit. I hope to return soon!
In this guide, I’ll share advice about how to spend 2 days in Hakone.
How should you spend 2 days in Hakone?
Hakone is the perfect 1-3 day trip into the Japanese countryside. I recommend 2 days in Hakone as a comfortable amount of time to see the area’s main sights.
During your trip, you may want to take advantage of the Hakone Free Pass. This 2- or 3-day pass includes unlimited access to many public transportation routes and discounts to popular tourist attractions.
At a high-level, I suggest the following 2 day itinerary in Hakone:
- Heiwa no Torii
- Hakone Shrine
- Relax in onsen
- Relax in onsen
Tip: Like many train stations in Japan, Hakone’s main station (Hakone-Yumoto Station) has coin lockers. You can leave your luggage in a coin locker if you need to store it for a few hours as you explore.
How To Get To Hakone
Hakone-Yumoto Station is Hakone’s main station. From Tokyo, it takes roughly 1.5 hours by train to reach Hakone-Yumoto Station.
I suggest one of the following options to reach Hakone:
- (Recommended): Take the Odakyu Line Romancecar (book tickets here or at Shinjuku Station). This route costs around ¥2,300 roundtrip from Shinjuku Station. I suggest taking the Romancecar because the train is very clean and has large windows from which you can enjoy the passing view.
- Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen. This route costs around ¥5,000 roundtrip from Shinagawa Station. If you want to maximize speed, riding the Shinkansen is about 20 minutes faster than riding the Romancecar.
If you decide to drive, it takes about 1.25 hours to reach Hakone from Tokyo. The bus and train system in Hakone is robust, so you don’t need a car. However, it may be more convenient to be able to drive around town at your leisure. Most of my friends and I use public transportation when visiting Hakone.
When To Visit Hakone
Hakone’s location amongst low mountains and lakes makes it comfortable to visit pretty much year round.
Hotel rates tend to be a bit cheaper in the summer months when the heat and humidity are at their highest. Relatedly, a major highlight of visiting in the summer is that you can swim in Lake Ashinoko.
You will have the highest chance of seeing Mount Fuji during the winter. Hakone doesn’t receive much snow, so you will generally still be able to walk around town easily even in the colder months.
Fall and spring are the most popular seasons to visit Hakone (particularly in the months surrounding winter when the likelihood to see Mount Fuji is higher). Hakone’s trees blossom or change color and offer magnificent countryside views.
Where To Stay In Hakone
During a recent trip to Hakone, I stayed at Aura Tachibana.
Aura Tachibana is a modern and elegant ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inn) with a large private onsen. The hotel is perched on a hill overlooking a large river, so I really enjoyed the sounds of nature that made their way up to the rooms. I largely chose this hotel because it was able to accommodate a group of five people in one room, which is unusual for most ryokans.
The onsen and the hotel’s restaurant are the two highlights of the hotel. The spacious onsen has indoor and outdoor thermal baths along with one cold water bath inside. The hotel’s restaurant serves delicious kaiseki (set course, traditional Japanese meals) breakfasts and dinners that are included with your overnight booking.
I suggest the below hotels in Hakone due to their locations and traditional Japanese styles:
What To Do In Hakone
Heiwa no Torii
Heiwa no Torii is the most iconic structure in Hakone and sits in the water in the shallow outskirts of Lake Ashinoko. This torii gate invites visitors up a long staircase to Hakone Shrine.
Prepare to wait in a long line for a turn at taking a photo beneath Heiwa no Torii.
From Heiwa no Torii, follow the stairs through a dense forest to Hakone Shrine. This colorful Shinto Shrine is beautiful no matter the weather, but especially so when it’s raining and a quiet mist envelops the shrine and the surrounding trees.
The shrine is relatively small with one main hall surrounded by a few smaller temple buildings.
Hakone Shrine is free to enter and open 24 hours.
Owakudani is an active volcanic zone around a large crater. About 3,000 years ago, Mount Hakone erupted and created the crater.
Today, Owakudani is a popular tourist destination famous for its hot springs, sulfurous air, and views of Mount Fuji. Eggs cooked in Owakudani’s hot springs are blackened by sulfur and considered a local specialty.
To reach Owakudani, take the Hakone Ropeway from either Sounzan Station or Togendai Station. The ropeway ride from the stations to the central crater takes roughly 30 minutes. From the ropeway, you can enjoy views of the crater, hot springs, and heated rivers. Hakone Free Pass includes the Hakone Ropeway fare.
Since Hakone is a historical and traditional area, it has some of the best onsens in Japan. Most ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns) in Hakone have their own private onsens that you can enjoy without having to leave your accommodations. However, here are some other onsen options to consider during your trip to Hakone:
- Hakone Kowakien Yunessun -📍1297 Ninotaira, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0407
- Hakone Yuryo -📍4 Tonosawa, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0315
- Hot Water Play Place Hakone no Yu -📍100-1 Yumotochaya, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0312
Where To Eat in Hakone
Part of what makes Hakone such a great trip from Tokyo is that is has many excellent restaurant options.
The areas around Hakone-Yumoto Station and Hakone-En Station have clusters of restaurants within easy walking distance of each other. The road between these two main stations also has a number of great restaurants along it.
Hakone is particularly well-known for its fresh soba, so I recommend trying it at least once during your trip.
Some restaurants I recommend in Hakone include:
📍1297 Ninotaira, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0407
This soba restaurant serves the best soba I’ve had in Japan. Surrounded by a hillside Japanese garden, this restaurant offers customers a stunning view of nature while enjoying their meal.
📍690 Yumoto, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0311
If you appreciate traditional Japanese sweets and matcha, this charming cafe near Hakone-Yumoto Station can’t be beat. Chimoto serves a few different mochi options that rotate sporadically. The texture of the mochi is so soft, it’s almost like a marshmellow.
📍574 Yumoto, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0311
This hotel restaurant serves delicious kaiseki meals in a casual, modern setting. If for no other reason, I recommend staying at this hotel so that you can eat a filling and healthy Japanese meal here.