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A Tokyo to Hakone Day Trip Guide | Hakone Round Course Loop

A Tokyo to Hakone Day Trip Guide | Hakone Round Course Loop

Just south of Tokyo, you will find Hakone - one of the most unique cities that Japan has to offer. Hakone has plenty to see and do and can be done either as a day trip or even as an overnight stay. You will find beautiful views of Mt. Fuji, plenty of hot springs, and some incredible natural beauty. From the geothermal activity to the area down by Lake Ashi, Hakone is surely not to disappoint. It is also home to the Hakone Round Course Loop – a series of several different transportation options to take you on a full circle around the Hakone area. This guide will focus on everything you need to know when taking part of a Tokyo to Hakone day trip and the Hakone round course loop in particular. By the end of reading this, you should have no trouble getting yourself on your way! With that said lets get into it!

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1) Tokyo to Hakone Day Trip

Before getting into the Hakone Round Course Loop, we first need to get you there. To take part of the Tokyo to Hakone day trip, you will need to utilize the super-efficient train system that Japan offers. And with that said, there are a few different options to choose from depending on whether or not you have a JR Pass handy.

Coming from Tokyo, your first part of the journey to get to the Hakone Round Course Loop will start in Odawara and then onto the Hakone-Yumoto station. Here are your options:


(A) With JR Pass

Getting to Hakone is pretty straightforward if you have a JR Pass. There are trains leaving from Tokyo Station to Odawara and can be as fast as just 35 minutes (with local trains taking closer to 90 minutes).

To get on these faster trains, take a look at the Tokaido Shinkansen on the Kodama or Hikari lines. The timetables can be found on the Hyperdia website (departure Tokyo / arrival Odawara) and the Japan helpful tips section goes into more detail about the JR Pass.

Once you arrive in Odawara you can purchase the Hakone Freepass for 4,600 JPY (more on that soon). This is the price to just have access to all transportation in the Hakone area besides for the cost of the round trip from Tokyo (as you have used the JR Pass to get you there already).

After you arrive in Odawara and purchase the Freepass, you can then hop on the quick 15 minute local train up to Hakone-Yumoto.


« Don’t forget to purchase your 7 Day, 14 Day, or 21 Day JR Pass before heading off to Japan »


Mount Fuji View Train

Mount Fuji views on the way to Odawara

(B) Without JR Pass

Now if you do not have a JR Pass and want to take part of the Hakone Round Course day trip from Tokyo, you can choose from four different options:

1. Purchase a Hakone Freepass for 5,700 JPY, which includes a round trip from Shinjuku Station on the Odakyu line (~90 minutes). This price not only will include your round trip from Tokyo to Odawara, but also includes the unlimited use of transportation in Hakone.

2. You also have the option here to upgrade and reserve a seat on the faster Romancecar (75 minutes) for an additional +1,090 JPY one way (+2,180 JPY round trip), which will take you straight to Hakone-Yumoto Station (about 15 further along than Odawara), where you can start the round course journey. You can upgrade to the Romancecar by purchasing a seat reservation online or buying at the Shinjuku train station from Odakyu Railway.

3. Even if you do not have a JR Pass you can still opt to take the JR train (35 minutes) to Odawara. This will cost 3,740 JPY one way (7,480 JPY round trip) and leaves from Tokyo Station (not Shinjuku).

4. And lastly you can opt for the local train from Tokyo Station to Odawara (90 minutes) at a cost of 1,490 JPY one way (2,980 JPY round trip).

Options 1/2 make most sense from a cost perspective but if you either want to get there/back as quickly as possible or want to leave from Tokyo station instead of Shinjuku then 3/4 could work as well.

Tip: if you opt for the Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Odawara (not the Romancecar) be prepared to stand or have somewhat of a crowded train as this is a commuter train. If you want the peace and quiet, along with a nice reserved seat then opt in for the Romancecar.


2) Hakone Overnight or Pit Stop

If you ARE NOT day tripping back to Tokyo and rather heading off to your next destination at day’s end or staying overnight in Hakone and moving on from there, you can opt for similar options to those mentioned above:

With the JR Pass, simply take the 35 minute fast train from Tokyo Station. If you do not have the JR Pass you can choose from the following:

1. One way ticket from Shinjuku Station on the local Odakyu line to Odawara for 880 JPY one way (90 minutes)

2. Option to upgrade to the Romancecar straight from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto (75 minutes), +1,090 JPY surcharge (1,970 JPY total)

3. JR fast train from Tokyo Station to Odawara for 3,740 JPY (35 minutes)

4. Local train from Tokyo Station to Odawara for 1,490 JPY (90 minutes)

Once you arrive in Odawara you can then purchase the Freepass then. If taking the Romancecar, you should buy the Freepass at the same time of the Romancecar purchase


3) Hakone Freepass

I know I just mentioned the Freepass a few times so let me explain exactly what that is. Basically in the Hakone area there are many different transportation options available such as trains, cable cars, ropeways, boats, etc. – these in essence make up the Round Course Loop.

The Freepass gives you access to all of these by just showing your pass. No need to purchase separate tickets every time for each mode of transportation. Simply show your pass and be on your way.

The Freepass also gives you discounted or free access to many museums, parks and different sites around Hakone, making it a very cost-efficient option for those that will be touring around.

At the end of the day, even if just taking part of the Round Course Loop you will still be saving money (plus the convenience factor) vs. purchasing individual tickets for each mode of transportation around Hakone.

The cost for a Freepass is 4,600 JPY for a 2 day pass – even if just doing a day trip, the 2 day pass is worth the cost (and there is no 1 day pass option).

If you are coming from Tokyo and doing the day trip (or an overnight and going back to Tokyo after) you can pay 5,700 JPY for the 2 day pass, which also gives you the round trip train on Odakyu Railway from Shinjuku Station.

You can purchase the Freepass from Shinjuku Station, or if you have a JR Pass for example and will be arriving in Odawara (from Tokyo Station), you can purchase the Freepass once you arrive in Odawara.

Note: there are also 3 day passes available for those who are not planning on doing the day trip, but rather staying a few days in the Hakone area.

Hakone Freepass

Once you are in Odawara (or Hakone-Yumoto if you took the Romance Car), you will be able to use the Freepass on a bunch of different types of transportation around the round course loop.

The transportation options include (color coded to map below):

(1) Hakone Tozan Railway from Odawara/Hakone Yumoto to Gora

(2) Hakone Tozan Cablecar from Gora to Sounzan

(3) Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan to Togendai (w/ a stop in Owakudani)

(4) Hakone Boat Tour from Togendai to Hakone-machi or Moto-Hakone

(5) Hakone Tozan Bus back to Hakone Yumoto or Odawara (if going back to Tokyo) or Gora (if staying overnight)

Note: if staying overnight in Gora, check into your hotel and drop your stuff off before getting on the cable car (2).


4) Location / Map

See below for a map of the round course with the color coded modes of transportation mentioned above.


5) Hakone Round Course Loop

I will now walk you through each mode of transportation used and what to expect as you make your way around the area. For the most part everything is pretty simple to follow and you should not have much trouble getting from one place to the next.

The whole loop starting and ending in Odawara should take anywhere from 6-8 hours depending on how long you plan on staying in each place. It could take even shorter but at that point you may feel too rushed.


(A) Hakone Tozan Railway from Odawara/Hakone Yumoto to Gora

If you did not opt for the Romancecar, your journey will begin in Odawara. Once you arrive in Odawara and purchase the Freepass (if you have not done so already), you will hop on the quick 15 minute train ride to Hakone Yumoto. Once in Hakone Yumoto you will need to get on another train that takes you up to Gora.

This section will take about 40 minutes as the train zig zags its way up the mountain. Since it is quite an incline for a train, there will be a few switchbacks, where the train will switch directions – as in the front of the train will become the back of the train and vice versa.

Hakone to Gora Train

Once the 40 minute journey is complete you will arrive in the town of Gora. If staying the night in Hakone, Gora is one of the more popular options to choose from and you will have plenty of onsens in the area to decide between.

You can drop your luggage at your hotel before continuing on with your day. Even if you are not staying overnight I would still advise to take a walk around town and head to Gora Park. If you are there during cherry blossom time you will have some great flower photos to take!

Gora Park

(B) Hakone Tozan Cablecar from Gora to Sounzan

Next up on the round course loop is the quick cable car from Gora to Sounzan. The cable car is about 10 minutes long and it will make a few stops before arriving at the final destination of Sounzan.

Hakone Tozan Cablecar

(C) Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan to Togendai (w/ a stop in Owakudani)

After getting off the cable car it is time to hop on the Hakone Ropeway. The ropeway is made up of two parts – one from Sounzan to Owakudani and the next from Owakudani to Togendai. Note that you must get off the cable car and switch in Owakudani. Both of these portions should take about 10 minutes each.

The ropeway is much more than a simple ropeway though. About half way up to Owakudani, you will be welcomed to the one and only Mount Fuji out in the near distance. And believe me, it is quite the site seeing Fuji appear so close for the first time.

Soon enough you will also be hovering over the geothermal area of Owakudani with plenty of sulfur gasses coming out from the ground. The ropeway coupled with Mount Fuji and the geothermal area is one of the most unique experiences I had during my time in Japan.

Hakone Ropeway Hakone Ropeway Mount Fuji View Hakone Ropeway Geothermal

After the 10 minute cable car and taking in some views from above you will arrive in Owakudani. This is the perfect spot to get all sorts of pictures of Mount Fuji (this will be the closest you get during the round course loop) and the geothermal area down below. On top of those views I would also recommend getting some lunch here as there are a couple restaurant options.

And finally don’t forget to buy some of those famous black eggs that are boiled in the nearby water – legend has it that eating these eggs can add 5+ years to your lifespan, so why not give one of them a try.

Don’t worry though, the eggs themselves don’t taste any different from regular eggs, just the shell is black. A pack of 5 costs 500 JPY at the nearby stand.

Owakudani Fuji Views Black Eggs Owakudani

After taking some pics of Mount Fuji and the geothermal area, having some lunch, and trying those black eggs, it is time to hop back on the cable car and down to Togendai.

During this portion of the ropeway you should be able to see Mount Fuji for the majority of the ride – sit on the front right side of the ropeway for the best pics! You have the option to get off at Ubako or just continue along to Togendai.

Owakudani to Togendai Ropeway

(D) Lake Ashi Boat from Togendai to Hakone-Machi or Moto-Hakone

Lake Ashi will be your next stop on the Hakone round course loop as you board a “pirate ship” at Togendai to the opposite side of the lake to Hakone-machi or Moto-Hakone.

This 40 minute ride will take you through Lake Ashi’s waters and as you get further along the route, Mount Fuji will come back into view – this time a bit further away but just as beautiful.

Lake Ashi Hakone Pirate Ship Mount Fuji

You have two options to choose from when it comes to getting off the boat – either Hakone-machi or Moto-Hakone. If you get off at the first stop Hakone-machi, you can make the nice walk towards Onshi Hakone Koen Park. From the park you can get some great views of Mount Fuji at a higher vantage point.

You can then continue the walk out of the park and along the water, passing the Moto-Hakone port area (where you can get some great shots of Fuji and the Hakone Shrine Torii gate) and on to the Hakone Shrine itself, before returning to Moto-Hakone to catch the bus back.

There are a couple reasons I see to get off at the second port (Moto-Hakone). If you want to capture the shot of the Mount Fuji with the Hakone Shrine Torii gate from the boat, you can only take that picture if you get off at Moto-Hakone. You can however, capture a very similar picture by the shore near Moto-Hakone.

A second reason to get off here is if you have no interest in heading to the Onshi Hakone Koen Park. The second port is closer to the Hakone Shrine area, so you will basically skip the park and just make the short walk over to the shrine before heading back to the port bus stop.

If you zoom into the map I inputted earlier on in the article, you can see where the ports, the park, and the shrine are located.

Mount Fuji Hakone Shrine View

Shot take from the boat before getting off at Moto-Hakone

Lake Ashi Fuji Shrine View

Shot taken from the shore near the Moto-Hakone port


(E) Onshi Hakone Koen Park

As just mentioned, once you get off the boat you have the chance to head up to Onshi Hakone Koen Park. It is basically right in the middle of the two ports and it gives some great vantage points of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji from above. There are a few steps to get up there just a heads up!

Onshi Hakone Koen Park

(F) Hakone Shrine

After finishing up with the park if you decided to do so, you can then make the nice walk alongside the water ending up at the Hakone Shrine. You will be able to get up close and personal to the famous Torii gate and get a nice photo op in. Do note though that there most likely will be a line of folks trying to get that same picture too! When I was there, the line was about 20 minutes long!

Hakone Shrine

(G) Hakone Tozan Bus

After a full day of exploring the Hakone area, taking various modes of transportation, seeing Mount Fuji, and plenty more, it is time to hop onto the Hakone Tozan Bus and back to either Odawara (back to Tokyo or your next destination), Hakone-Yumoto (Romancecar back to Tokyo), or Gora (if staying overnight) depending on your plans.

There are bus stations right outside the port area and there should be busses every 20-30 minutes or so. Just make sure you get on the right one!

Hakone Bus

6) Hakone Weather

One of the biggest concerns I had when planning my trip to Hakone was whether or not the weather would hold up. Unlike the cities of Japan, where you do not necessarily need clear days to enjoy your time, Hakone is a bit different.

If you want to enjoy Hakone with those Mount Fuji views then you need clear weather both in Hakone and around Mount Fuji itself.

If it is a cloudy day between the two, you are at risk of not being able to see Mount Fuji at all. And believe me you do not want that to happen!

So, my advice when planning a Tokyo to Hakone day trip is to BE FLEXIBLE. If you are in Tokyo for four days, you do not need to pick one exact day to visit Hakone. You should take a look at the weather forecasts and choose which day out of the four is best for the day trip.

Now if you are planning an overnight to Hakone as you make your way across the country, then it would be a bit harder to navigate the weather as you will be more on a schedule. In that case you just need to hope that the weather is looking good!


7) Quick Luggage Tips

A) If you are using Hakone as a pit stop between two cities (Tokyo and Kyoto for example) and are not staying overnight in the Hakone area, there are luggage storage options in Odawara and Hakone-Yumoto. Once you arrive at either of these stations you can store your luggage before doing the loop and then pick it back up at the end of the day before heading out.

B) You also have the option to use the Takuhaibin luggage forwarding service if you do not want to deal with your bags at all. For around $20 per bag you can send your luggage to your next destination or you can send your bag to your hotel in Hakone if staying the night there.

That way you will not need to worry about putting your bags in lockers or dropping them off at your hotel and simply start your day right away.

Odawara Luggage Lockers

8) Where to Stay in Tokyo / Hakone

There are many different areas to choose from when deciding where to stay in Tokyo. I would recommend staying in or near Shinjuku, which is a great place for nightlife, restaurants, transportation and more!

1) Nishitetsu Inn Shinjuku

2) Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo

3) Hyatt Regency Tokyo

4) Shinjuku Granbell Hotel

5) Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower

6) Hotel Gracery Shinjuku


If you are staying the night near Hakone, here are a few highly rated accommodation options to choose from.

1) Resorpia Hakone

2) Laforet Club Hakone Gora Yunosumika

3) Yutorelo-an

4) Gora Tensui

5) Yutorelo-an Annex


That about wraps up the guide to a Tokyo to Hakone Day Trip. Take a look at the other Japan itineraries and guides to help out with any other trip planning. If you have any questions about the trip please feel free to comment below!


Some other top guides on the site include:

5 Day Tokyo Itinerary

3 Day Kyoto Itinerary

Tokyo to Kamakura Day Trip

Nara Day Trip from Kyoto

What To Do in Takayama

and Plenty More!

Hakone Round Course

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Tuesday 20th of December 2022

Thank you for this blog! Its so helpful! I almost wanted to book a day trip to Hakone. After reading i decided to do it free and easy on our own! I wonder if this itinerary works during Winter period in January?


Thursday 22nd of December 2022

Hi Ann - from my understanding it is possible to take part year round. However, I would double check once you arrive in Tokyo just to be certain. Hope you enjoy the trip!


Friday 10th of January 2020

Hi Charles, Thanks for this blog, very helpful. I'm planning on going to Hakone and doing your 1 day round trip. I'll go either Thursday 2nd April or Friday 3rd April, I understand it gets pretty crowded around that time, so would Thursday be better than Friday - less people? Also the Hakone Tozan bus from Moto-Hakone back to Odawara, is that one bus or two - the map shows 2, and how long does it take? Thanks for your help David


Saturday 11th of January 2020

Hey David - no problem! Glad you have found it useful. As for Thursday vs Friday, I do not think there would be too much of a difference. The weekends would be the most crowded though.

The bus from Moto-Hakone back to Odawara was just one bus for me that took around 40 minutes or so. There is a conductor at the station who will help you out get on the correct bus.

Hope that helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.


Friday 27th of December 2019

Thank you for the helpful guide! I am wondering if it's better for me to do the loop in the reverse direction, starting at the shrine. I'm going to Hakone in the winter and the forecast says the sunset is at 5pm... if I visit the shrine at the end, would it be too dark?


Sunday 29th of December 2019

Hey Dave - it really depends on what time you start the day and how long you spend around each place. If you start around 10AM or so you shouldnt have a problem getting there before it is dark.

Hope that helps!


Sunday 6th of October 2019

Hi, this is definitely the most useful article i've read on the Hakone loop, so thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed post. My question is about doing the loop over 2 days backtracking with luggage.

If I stay overnight partway around the loop (in Gora as suggested). Would I Day 1. Take luggage on Tozan train, drop at hotel, continue on cablecar/ropeway, backtrack to hotel for the night Day 2. Take luggage from hotel the rest of the way around the loop.

I am wondering if it is more practical to stay in Hakone-Yumoto and do 1/2 loop on day 1 (counter clockwise) and then 1/2 loop on day 2 (clockwise).


Monday 7th of October 2019

Hi Ladyroho - thank you for the kind words. I am happy this article has helped you out. If you plan on staying two days in the Hakone area, I still would recommend just one full day of doing the loop. So on day 1 you will head to Gora by taking the Tozan railway from Hakone-yumoto. You can drop your luggage at your hotel and then continue the loop from there. Once finished up around Lake Ashi after the boat ride, you can then bus back to Gora (instead of Hakone-yumoto or Odawara).

So although you are heading to Gora at day's end, you will still be basically completing a full loop. On the second day when you depart, you will simply make your way from Gora back to Odawara and head off from there. I would say on day 2 you can spend some time at an onsen, or maybe head to the open air museum.

Let me know if you have any more questions or if you were thinking of doing something differently. Thanks!


Wednesday 4th of September 2019

I found your blog to be the most useful for planning my Hakone day trip! I would like to know whether I will have enough time to do some shopping at the Gotemba outlet (maybe for 2 hours, leaving from Gora), then coming back to do the rest of the loop? Thanks.


Thursday 5th of September 2019

Hi Susan - glad the guide has helped out! I am not too familiar with the Gotemba outlet, but by looking at logistics, it seems to be at least an hour away from the Hakone area by bus. That would mean 2 hours of shopping + 2 hours of bus. I do not think that is as feasible as a day trip unless you are OK with a very very long day. It might be a bit more possible if staying overnight in Hakone though. Hope that helps!