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Helen_in_Hawaii Mar 4th, 2009 03:16 PM

How much time to allocate to Hakone?
We are leaving in just two weeks for Japan and are so excited! We have a question about how much time to allocate in Hakone. We will leave Tokyo mid-morning and buy a Hakone Free Pass at Odawara. We have reservations for one night in the Hakone area and are planning to resume our travel to Kyoto from Odawara sometime the following day.

How much time should we budget to spend in the Hakone area? What is a good itinerary for an afternoon and the next morning or so in the Hakone-Ashi-Fuji area?



hawaiiantraveler Mar 4th, 2009 05:44 PM

I would buy the Hakone Free Pass in Tokyo before reaching Hakone so you can beat the crowd to your next train onward. You'll know what I mean about this when you pull into Odawara station.

You can purchase the Hakone Free Pass at a travel agent in Tokyo or at your Tokyo hotel's lobby travel agent if one is there or at most train stations in Tokyo. Buying the pass in Tokyo saves you the time and hassle of waiting in the line of people who didn't get their Free Passes yet when you get to Odawara station and wasting a good 10 to 15 minutes sometimes. By then the connecting train has left and you must catch the next one.

It all depends on where you ryokan is and what your personal interests are but if it were me, I would leave Tokyo mid morning and go straight on to my ryokan and check in. If you have any luggage you can leave it there with them and use the pass to either bus or ride the trains up to Gora and to the Hakone Open Air Museum. After that you can tour whatever else interests you in the area and get back to your ryokan NLT 1 maybe 16:00 at the latest.

I would be up bright and early the next morning to check out and be one of the first ones up and over the Hakone Ropeway to see Mt Fuji if it is clear enough to do so. The early mornings are the best time of day to see Fujisan they say and I have been lucky enough to do so. After that you can do the Lake Ashi pirate ship cruise(where there are also views of Mt Fuji) to Hakone-machi and sight see around that area then leave out the backdoor to Kyoto via Mishima or travel back to Odawara by bus then on to Kyoto.

Check out this site for specific transportation information


TravMimi Mar 5th, 2009 05:06 AM

We got to the Open Air Museum about 15 mins. before it opened. We had it almost all to ourselves for about 2 hours. So peaceful and beautiful. Then the crowds arrived, but it was still beautiful.

Helen_in_Hawaii Mar 5th, 2009 12:03 PM

These suggestions are helpful. We are staying in Hakone Kowakien close to the Yunessun Onsen. We are not exactly sure yet which train stop Kowakien is located on. Hopefully, it will be convenient. We noticed there is a luggage service from Hakone-Yumoto station. We could drop our luggage with the delivery service and be on our way around the loop, or we could go direct to our hotel if Kowakien is not too far out of the way.

The Hakone Free Pass website shows the cost of the pass in Tokyo as JPY 5000 in Tokyo and JPY 3900 in Odawara. Of course, when you buy it in Tokyo you also get transportation to/from Tokyo. I wonder if we can get the Odawara price of JPY 3900 in Tokyo, or that price is only available in Odawara?

Mara Mar 5th, 2009 01:53 PM

I was able to buy my Hakone Free Pass going from Odawara at Narita when I changed the exchange order in for my JR Rail Pass.....

Rimwall Mar 12th, 2009 03:05 PM

Mara and hawaiiantraveler, If I buy the Hakone Free Pass before going to Odawara, do I have to specify which date I'll use it? If I have to decide one specific day to go, my concern is the weather on that specific day may not be good...

Rimwall Mar 12th, 2009 03:08 PM

Also if you buy it in advance, is it refundable in case you cancel the stop at Hakone due to weather or something else?

Rimwall Mar 12th, 2009 03:19 PM


You mentioned there is connecting train for people from Tokyo (southbound); Is there connecting trains for people northbound?

When is the first train from Odawara to Hakone and when is the last train from Hakone to Odawara?

Mara Mar 12th, 2009 04:00 PM

Rimwall - sorry I don't know the answer to your question - however, above I have posted the link to the website of the company that issues the pass. That page has an email address - I recall they were very helpful to me when I emailed them a couple of years ago with various questions.....

As far as trains, you can look up the schedule on There are also buses from Odawara.....

hawaiiantraveler Mar 12th, 2009 06:18 PM

Sorry, with the new format I must have missed your questions earlier

Yes, I remember having to tell the agent when I needed the pass to begin and end so if your plans are not etched in stone it would probably be better in your case to get the pass at the last minute.

See here for time shcedule to and from Odawara. Note that no Nozomi's stop at Odawara and only a few Hikari's. The Kodama is the main option

Rimwall Mar 16th, 2009 06:30 PM

Mara and hawaiiantraveler,
Thank you so much for your responses to my questions above. You gals/guys are so helpful and I now feel very confident that my trip will be a great one! Mara, see you somewhere in Japan next month ^_^

cmstraf Mar 17th, 2009 07:58 PM

In addition to the famous and truly wonderful open air museum, there is also the Hakone museum known for it's garden. When we were in Hakone last November, we were blessed with a sunny afternoon and also a sunny following morning to see the truly wonder-full sight of Mt Fuji again and again. Pause with each view long enough to let the image enter your heart as well as your camera.

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