Driver-san took us to the mountain top to see this:
He said, “Kaba.”
That was because the gorgeous scenery in front of us was on the cover (kaba) of the Hakone travel magazine!!!😍
What a lovely view to cap our Hakone visit! Not bad for an iPhone camera (my shot, not the magazine’s 🙂 [Thank You, Lord for the gift of travel!]
If you are planning to visit Hakone, here are some tips I hope will be helpful to you.
HAKONE FREE PASS
You will need the (Odakyu) Hakone Free Pass so you can avail of all unlimited rides (train, bus, cable car, cruise ship) in Hakone without lining up to buy tickets at every counter. (Info on Transportation Options to Hakone).
GETTING FROM TOKYO TO HAKONE
A. Romance Car : from Shinjuku Station [Buy Hakone Free Pass here] to Hakone-Yumoto Station (about 1:24 duration)
B. Shinkansen Tokyo Sta. to Odawara Sta. (35 mins) [Buy Hakone Free Pass here] + local Hakonetozan train from Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto Station (about 16-21 minutes)
Between the leisurely Romance Car from Shinjuku Station which ends up at the heart of Hakone and the Shinkansen train from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station + transfer to Hakone-Yumoto, I think the best option would depend on which station in Tokyo is nearest and most familiar to you. [The very first time I came to Tokyo, I got disoriented at the Shinjuku Station’s multitudinous network of train lines even if I had navigated London’s with no problem before.]
IF YOU’RE TRAVELING ALONE: You can book Hakone Activities through Govoyagin. Their tour guides are well-prepared with very helpful information, time-aware, professional.
TAXI TOUR: If you are pressed for time and are looking for a taxi to take you roundtrip from the Hakone-Yumoto or Odawara Station to your customized list of places you want to visit for a day trip, you can check out the taxi information from THIS post.
MOUNT FUJI (FUJISAN)SIGHTING. You might like to check out this article on how to increase your chances of seeing Mount Fuji: Asia Travel Bug.
PLACES TO VISIT
Here are some choices:
Mt. Komagatake (or Mount Koma)/ Lake Ashi
Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Fields
Owakudani and Ropeway to Togendai
Lake Ashi Cruise from Togendai
Hakone Checkpoint (Hakone Shekiso)
There are many other places to visit in Hakone and if you can try the onsen here, Hakone is famous for them. There are also museums you can explore, ideally if you can spend at least a night (and maximize the Hakone Free Pass which is for a minimum of two days) so that you can freely browse and linger as you please. I hope you will enjoy Hakone! 🙂