Andrea Urbinati

Tokyo to Hakone: All The Travel Options

Di Andrea Urbinati

blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo
tokyo to hakone

Traveling from Tokyo to Hakone offers several transportation options. The Odakyu Railway provides a limited express “Romance Car” that takes around 85 minutes, while slower express trains take about two hours and require a transfer at Odawara. The JR trains go as far as Odawara, where non-JR trains or buses are needed to reach Hakone. Another alternative is the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus, with direct buses operating every 30 minutes from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to the Lake Ashi area in Hakone. Each method offers its own advantages and it’s important to choose the one that best fits your travel preferences and schedule.

Exploring the Journey from Tokyo to Hakone

My excitement for the journey from Tokyo to Hakone was palpable as I started planning my day trip. The seamless transport options and breathtaking scenery made for an ideal excursion. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials for traveling from Tokyo to Hakone and the various transport options available.

The Basics of Getting from Tokyo to Hakone

Embarking on a day trip from Tokyo to Hakone is a delightful venture, offering a diverse array of experiences. The journey typically commences from Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo, which serves as a convenient starting point for travelers. From there, the Odakyu Romancecar presents an efficient and comfortable means of transit, covering the distance to Hakone in approximately 80 minutes. This high-speed train simplifies the travel process, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride to the destination.

Mode of Transport Options

The mode of transport plays a pivotal role in shaping the travel experience. To this end, the Hakone Freepass emerges as a valuable resource, facilitating unlimited travel within the Hakone region. This comprehensive pass encompasses access to diverse modes of transport, including buses, trains, ropeways, cable cars, and ships over two or three consecutive days. The convenience and flexibility offered by this pass make it an indispensable asset for navigating the picturesque landscapes and attractions of Hakone.

In preparing for my journey, I opted for the Digital Hakone Freepass, streamlining the ticketing process and ensuring a hassle-free experience. This digital variant provided the convenience of purchasing the pass online via smartphone, alleviating concerns about physical ticket loss. As I embarked on my adventure from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station, the Digital Hakone Freepass proved to be an invaluable companion, underscoring the seamless and modernized nature of travel in this scenic region.

Romancecar at Shinjuku Station Photo by Japan Guide

Mountains and farmland en route to Hakone Photo by Japan Guide

Romancecar at Hakone-Yumoto Station Photo by Japan Guide

The journey from Tokyo to Hakone unfolds as an immersive and captivating experience, enriched by the accessibility and versatility of the transport infrastructure. Whether reveling in the allure of nature or delving into the cultural tapestry of Hakone, the journey establishes a seamless connection between two vibrant locales, inviting exploration and discovery.

Traveling by Odakyu Railway

Exploring Japan from Tokyo to Hakone by Odakyu Railway is an immersive experience filled with diverse forms of transportation and scenic beauty. From the comfortable Romance Car Limited Express to convenient Express Trains and seamless transfers, traveling by Odakyu Railway offers an array of adventures. Understanding the Hakone Free Pass further enhances the journey, providing access to various attractions within the Hakone region.

The Romance Car Limited Express

The Romance Car Limited Express offers a luxurious and swift mode of transportation from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. With its panoramic windows, reclining seats, and exceptional service, this express train creates a delightful journey, allowing travelers to enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside while being immersed in utmost comfort. The Romance Car Limited Express is arguably the most remarkable way to begin an unforgettable sojourn to Hakone.

Odakyu Railway train Photo by Beyza Kaplan

Express Trains and Transfers

In addition to the Romance Car, Odakyu Railway offers a range of convenient Express Trains, ensuring seamless travel between Tokyo and Hakone. The efficient transfer process at Shinjuku Station makes the journey hassle-free, allowing travelers to smoothly transition from the metropolitan allure of Tokyo to the idyllic charm of Hakone. Whether opting for the Odakyu Limited Express or the Odakyu Commuter Express, each train provides a comfortable and efficient means of traversing this captivating route.

Understanding the Hakone Free Pass

The Hakone Free Pass is an exceptional offering for visitors, granting unlimited use of designated modes of transportation within the Hakone region, including the Odakyu Railway, Hakone Tozan Train, cable cars, ropeways, and buses. This comprehensive pass also encompasses discounts and free admission to multiple attractions, such as museums, hot springs, and cruises on Lake Ashi. Acquiring the Hakone Free Pass not only ensures cost-effective travel but also grants unparalleled access to Hakone’s myriad points of interest, making it an indispensable addition to any Hakone itinerary.

Taking JR (Japan Railways) to Hakone

My journey to Hakone began with the renowned JR Tokaido Shinkansen, a marvel of advanced engineering that swiftly transported me from Tokyo to Odawara Station. The efficiency and speed of the Shinkansen made the trip not only convenient but also a delightful experience.

The JR Tokaido Shinkansen

The JR Tokaido Shinkansen provided a seamless and comfortable passage, offering picturesque views of the Japanese countryside along the way. The smooth ride and punctuality of the Shinkansen exemplified the remarkable efficiency of Japan’s railway system.

Black and Gray Train on Rail Tracks Photo by Jerry Wang

Local and Rapid Trains on JR Lines

Upon arriving at Odawara Station, I had the option to continue my journey to Hakone using local or rapid trains on the JR lines. The frequency and connectivity of these trains provided me with flexibility, enabling me to choose the most suitable departure time for my onward travel to the captivating Hakone region.

Benefits of Using a Japan Rail Pass

Utilizing a Japan Rail Pass for my excursion to Hakone not only facilitated my access to the Shinkansen but also granted me the freedom to seamlessly transition to local and rapid trains. The cost-effectiveness and convenience offered by the Japan Rail Pass enhanced the overall travel experience, allowing me to explore Hakone with ease and flexibility.

The remarkable efficiency and connectivity of the JR railway network, coupled with the convenience of the Japan Rail Pass, made my journey to Hakone an enriching and unforgettable experience.

The Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus Alternative

Planning a trip from Tokyo to Hakone? The Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus offers a convenient and comfortable alternative to the train journey.

Direct Highway Buses from Shinjuku

The Odakyu Highway Bus departs directly from Shinjuku, offering a seamless travel experience for visitors heading to Hakone. The buses are well-equipped with comfortable seating and amenities, ensuring a pleasant journey from the heart of Tokyo to the picturesque landscapes of Hakone.

Time-lapse Photography of Downtown Photo by Ben Cheung

Assessing the Highway Bus Schedule and Stops

Travelers can easily access the schedule and stops for the Odakyu Highway Bus, allowing for efficient trip planning. With multiple departure times and strategically located stops, visitors can choose a schedule that best fits their itinerary, ensuring a smooth transition from the urban bustle of Tokyo to the serene landscapes of Hakone.

For more information on the bus schedule and stops, visit the official Odakyu website.

Comparing Costs and Convenience of Transport Options

Before embarking on a journey from Tokyo to Hakone, it’s crucial to compare the costs and convenience of various transport options to choose the most suitable one based on personal preferences and budget constraints.

Cost Analysis of Each Travel Option

Assessing the costs of different transportation modes is essential for budget-conscious travelers. While comparing options like trains, buses, and rental cars, it’s imperative to consider not only the ticket or rental prices but also additional expenses such as fuel, tolls, parking fees, and potential discounts or rewards programs that may influence the overall travel cost.

When estimating the expenses, tools like travel websites, apps, and calculators can be valuable resources for obtaining fare estimates, identifying potential discounts, and gaining insights into indirect costs like maintenance and insurance fees.

Evaluating the Most Convenient Routes

In addition to cost considerations, evaluating the most convenient routes is crucial for a seamless travel experience. Factors such as travel time, flexibility, and ease of access play a pivotal role in choosing the optimal transport mode. For instance, while flights may offer speed, travelers need to weigh in factors such as airport security checks, boarding procedures, and potential delays. Conversely, driving provides flexibility, but travelers must account for potential traffic congestion and road conditions.

When considering convenience, it’s essential to factor in the specific requirements of the destination. Urban areas may offer a variety of public transit options, while rural areas may necessitate car rentals or shuttle services. By understanding the trade-offs between cost and convenience, travelers can make informed decisions that align with their preferences and travel needs.

Two people riding bicycles down a dirt road Photo by Xuân Thọng Trần

Tips for a Smooth Trip to Hakone

Before embarking on a journey to Hakone, it’s essential to consider the best times to visit to avoid crowds and ensure a comfortable experience. I’ll delve into the best times to travel to Hakone and suggest what to bring for a comfortable journey.

Best Times to Travel to Avoid Crowds

When planning a trip to Hakone, it’s advisable to consider visiting during the off-peak seasons to avoid large crowds. Although Hakone is a popular destination throughout the year, it tends to be more crowded on weekends and during certain peak travel periods. To avoid the hustle and bustle, consider visiting on weekdays or during the quieter seasons, such as early spring or late autumn, to fully appreciate the serene beauty of the region. Additionally, planning your visit during the winter months, particularly in December and January, may offer the best chances of experiencing Hakone with fewer tourists and clearer views of Mount Fuji.

What to Bring for a Comfortable Journey

Ensuring a comfortable journey to Hakone involves packing the necessary essentials. Given the mountainous terrain and the potential for various weather conditions, it’s advisable to pack appropriate clothing, including comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing for temperature variations, and rain gear if visiting during the rainy season. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a sun hat for protection against the sun’s rays, especially during outdoor activities.

When exploring the scenic landscapes and indulging in Hakone’s renowned hot springs, having a good camera, portable charger, and a sturdy daypack for essentials is highly recommended. Additionally, for a truly immersive experience, consider bringing along a traditional towel and any personal toiletries when visiting the local onsens.

For convenient and enjoyable travel, carrying a refillable water bottle, snacks, and a reliable guidebook or mobile app for navigation and local insights can enhance your overall journey. Lastly, if commuting by public transportation, having a prepaid transportation card for seamless travel within Hakone is advantageous.


In conclusion, traveling from Tokyo to Hakone offers various convenient options, including the efficient Odakyu Railway with its “Romance Car” limited express and the cost-effective Kyuko express trains. The JR (Japan Railways) trains provide access to Odawara, while the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus offers a direct option from Shinjuku Station to the Lake Ashi area in Hakone. Additionally, considering the Hakone Free Pass for unlimited travel within the Hakone area can optimize the overall travel experience. Whether seeking speed, cost-effectiveness, or direct routes, the diverse transportation options ensure a seamless journey from Tokyo to Hakone.

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About the author
blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo

Hi! I’m Andrea, a passionate freelance writer with a knack for captivating storytelling.

With a decade of marketing expertise and a genuine love for crafting compelling content, I bring your ideas to life!

Let me know if you need a writer for your blog!

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