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Hakone Freepass | Is it good value?

Hakone cable car

Hakone is a popular day-trip from Tokyo or an interesting short stay option.  For visitors who want an onsen experience while in Japan but don’t have the time to travel further afield it’s easily accessible in Hakone and there’s so much more to see and do in the area.  In an earlier post we looked at a day trip itinerary for Hakone out of Tokyo taking in several of the highlights including the gorgeous views, cable cars, rope ways, the geothermal area at Owakudani, a cruise on the beautiful Lake Ashi and some glimpses into the areas history dating back to the Edo period.

I recently reviewed the value we received from the Osaka Amazing pass and based on feedback from that one I thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at some of the other passes we’ve used during our travels in Japan.  We don’t regularly buy city passes, often they’re not suited to our slower pace or the way we travel.  We like to throw in detours as we go and adjust plans when something takes our interest along the way.  We’re also quite selective about what we want to see and do with our limited time, we won’t go to something just because it’s a free inclusion on a pass.

An Overview of the Hakone FreePass

The Hakone Free pass includes all Odakyu-affiliated transport within the Hakone region.  It covers 8 forms of transport including trains, buses, cable car, cableway and boat that is sufficient to get you around all the major sights of the region including to the Gotemba Outlet Mall.  You also get discounts to a number of attractions including museums, gardens, hot springs, shopping and dining establishments.  A few attractions such as the Gora Park Botanic Gardens have free entry with the pass.  Just watch for the stickers on the doors or booking windows to show whether they participate if you aren’t sure.

There are are a variety of pass options available.  These include

  • a 2 or 3-day pass (we found the 2-day option can also be cost effective for a day trip)
  • return transport from Shinjuku in Tokyo or only within the Hakone region, and
  • there are adult and child passes available

If you are already in Hakone, have an active JR Pass, or find it more convenient and cost effective to travel direct from another city or part of Tokyo you might choose as we did to purchase the Hakone only pass.  If you choose the ticket including the Shinjuku return version you need to be aware that this now includes either the Hakone Highway Bus which takes around 2.5 hours or the normal fare portion of the Romance-car limited express train from Shinjuku.  If you select this option you will also pay a surcharge (currently Y890) which is the Limited Express Surcharge and seat fee for the train which reduces the trip down to around 85 minutes.

The ticket prices are: 

Inside the Hakone Area:    Y4000 for the 2-day pass, Y4,500 for the 3-day pass

From Shinjuku in Tokyo:    Y5,140 for the 2-day pass, Y5,640 for the 3-day pass

You can view more information on the discounted attractions at the Hakone FreePass Official site.

Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines or counters at Shinjuku station or arrival stations such as Odawara, the Shinkansen station in the Hakone area.  A new option is that you can now purchase the pass online before you travel.

The transport within the Hakone region covered by the FreePass can all be used as many times as you want within the period covered by the pass.  While most people complete the course as a loop you can change direction and repeat sections if you want to within the same day or on consecutive days.  This might be useful if you want to complete the course and go back to a section if you have time at the end of the day, or where you are using it across multiple days.

How we used the Hakone FreePass

Which Pass

Although we were only taking a day trip we purchased the minimum 2 day pass at Odawara Station for Y4,000 (around A$45).  The reason we started at Odawara not Tokyo was that we already had an actived JR Pass covering the period.  The JR pass lets you use the Shinkansen at no incremental cost, so it’s both faster and offered more choices on when we started and ended our day.  The Shinkansen takes 35 minutes from Tokyo station, the Odakyu Romance-car takes 85 minutes from Shinjuku station which was further away from where we were staying.

Odawara to Gora

This leg takes about an hour travelling on the Hakone Tozan Railway.  You catch the Tozan train from the same Odawara station building that you arrive into from Tokyo.

We sat on the left hand side of the train and got some amazing views out of the big picture windows.  During winter the mountain was covered in pure white powder snow, other seasons would be equally pretty though and we’re considering returning with a different itinerary for an autumn foliage visit.

If you want to go to the Hakone Open Air Museum get off at Chokoku no Mori station (one stop before Gora) and it’s an easy walk from there.

Cost without the Hakone FreePass would be Y670.

Hakone Tozen Train @ Odawara Station

Gora to Sounzan

It’s a very short walk from the Gora Tozan train station to the cable car station.  If you were going to walk from there it’s a very steep slope especially in the winters snow but the cable car makes the 1.2km track a breeze in around 10 minutes.  Make sure you position yourself to enjoy the view, it’s beautiful.

The cable car takes you to the boarding area for the first section of the rope way.

Cost without the Hakone FreePass would be Y420

Hakone Tozan Cable Car | 2 Aussie Travellers

The Rope-way

There are 3 sections on the rope-way so it is a decent length ride to take a good look at the natural area and geothermal landscapes around and under you.  The first section is Sounsan to Owakudani, then Owakudani to Ubako and finally Ubako to Togendai station.

Take some time at Owakudani to have a good look around.  The views of Mt Fuji if you have a clear day are absolutely stunning from here.  If you walk up to the geothermal area you can see where they cook the black eggs.  There are large steaming vents in the mountain and pools of almost boiling water.  There’s a restaurant for lunch at the top and you can buy the black eggs said to give 7 years of good luck.

Cost without the Hakone FreePass would be Y1370

Hakone Ropeway | 2 Aussie Travellers

Hakone sightseeing cruise

From the last ropeway station at Togendai walk down to the edge of the lake.  We spent a while walking around a park area on the lakes edge waiting for the next sailing time.  We weren’t sure on the relevance of the pirate ship on the lake but then the 1970’s swan paddle boats were a bit of a mystery too.  The views from out on the lake were excellent, you could see Mt Fuji and the Hakone Shrines floating torii towards the other end of the crossing.

During winter the hillside was quite bare and brown, at other times of the year you would expect to see it covered in blossom, coloured autumn leaves or greenery.

Cost without the Hakone FreePass would be Y1000

Hakone Lake Cruise | 2 Aussie Travellers

Hakone Tozan bus

We only used the bus to get back from Lake Ashi to Odawara station but there’s an extensive bus network if you’re staying in the area or want to visit attractions further out.

The bus isn’t our preferred transport in Japan, the seats are quite small, you board in the back door and they run on time so there is little patience if you’re a bit slow finding the right money.  Another reason why I like to have either a day pass or a stored value card for the transport.

Cost without the Hakone FreePass for this ride would be Y960

Is the Hakone FreePass good value?

The FreePass included value for the route we took is Y4420 for a purchase price of Y4000.  We did the course we planned to do and saved Y420 or 9.5%.

So we did find the pass worth while?  While the financial saving was minimal for a day trip it was very easy to purchase the Freepass at Odawara station and it meant we didn’t need to queue for tickets or find the right change throughout the day.  If collecting a pass from the Odawara Station Information Centre isn’t convenient there are also dispensing ticket machines at Odakyu stations along the line.

In hindsight we didn’t feel the pass was a necessity for the day trip but there was no downside,  it was convenient and offered a small cost saving.  The cost saving would be better for anyone either using the full round trip from Tokyo or staying in Hakone overnight and continuing their sightseeing on the second day.

Is the Hakone Freepass good value? Helping identify the best value for your travel dollar in Japan via 2 Aussie Travellers
Is the Hakone Freepass good value? Helping identify the best value for your travel dollar in Japan via 2 Aussie Travellers

If you want to know more about what there is to see and do in Hakone, or if you’re interested in some addtional information and tips for planning your trip you may also want to read our article on A Day Trip to Hakone.

If you’ve visited Hakone either using the freepass or without, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  

84 Comments

  • Hi 2 Aussie Travellers,

    I am thinking of going from Tokyo to Hokone for a day and night stay on June 6 and move on to Kawaguchiko the next morning for a day trip, then go back to Tokyo in the evening.

    1) I would like to get your advise if I should buy a 2 day Fuji Hakone pass instead of a 2 day Hakone free pass?

    2) Is is correct that I can take a bus from Togendai station to Kawaguchiko?

    3) From Kawaguchiko, what is the best way to get back to Tokyo? Any suggestion?

    Any advise provided would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mavis

      • Thanks for your reply Toni.
        As my trip is still not finalize, would it be safe if I don’t do a pre-booking now? When I buy the ticket for the Romance car at Shinjuku the day before, can I do a booking there and then? I am travelling on a weekday, Thursday to be exact. Hopefully it is not crowded going back to Shinjuku from Kawaguchiko.

  • Hello ..
    We are staying in Asakusa. We have the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) . Can we use this pass to get to Odawa to purchase a Hakone Pass???

    • Hi Deion, neither of the JR East passes cover Odawara in the Hakone region. Of the current passes from Tokyo only the full JR pass covers it. Another option is to get the Hakone free pass from Shinjuku in Tokyo, when we were in Hakone again in December we had a chance to have a good look at the Romance car (the train they use from Shinjuku) and it looked very nice and comfortable.

  • Hi Toni,
    If I arrive in Shinjuku on say 18 Apr, then will go to Hakone on 19 Apr, should I buy Hakone freepass at Shinjuku station on 18 apr? as I go in a group of 8 people and plan to take the earliest train on 19Apr.
    What time the train start from Shinjuku to Odawara?
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Another query, what’s your suggestion to avoid crowded, the way as you did (start from Gora) or the other way (start from Lake Ashi)?

      • It can certainly be pretty crowed. We aim to go to those places mid week and not during a holiday and we start as early as possible in the day which puts us a bit ahead of the crowd. Our autumn visit late last year was busier than when we went in winter so I think seasons (sakura and fall leaves) make a difference.

        Although I don’t think it is quite so simple, if we did the full circuit again I would probably reverse it, head out and do the Checkpoint, shrine and boat trip first and then continue on. This would involve starting with a bus trip rather than changing platform to catch a train but because this breaks the flow a bit people tend to do it the other way so you could benefit from catching the transport going the other way.

    • Hi Ika, you can pretty much leave as early as you want. The first train of the day I found leaves at 5.31 am getting to Odawara just before 7 am. Here is the Hyperdia schedule for that route http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/intervaltime.html?dep_node=SHINJUKU(JR)&arv_node=ODAWARA&search_target=intervaltime&diagram=63808&year=2017&month=11&day=28&searchday=20171128. There are other schedules so I would suggest using Hyperdia and selecting Shinjuku (JR) and Odawara to find what suits you best.

      You can buy the tickets from the Odakyu vending machine, the English button is in the top right of the screen and you need both the Freepass ticket and the limited express supplement ticket if you want to get the train from Shinjuku. Limited express trains require a ticket and limited express supplement but the Freepass covers the base ticket so you only want to buy the supplement. The machines are quick and there is rarely much of a queue. You can advance purchase but in that case I’d buy it at the info counter instead and make it clear when you plan to use it.

  • Hello,
    Thanks for your advice and sharing your experiences for Hakone.
    I am going in July and am wondering whether to stay 2 nights or 3 nights. I want to get the 3 day Free Pass. Do you know if the pass is considered a 72 hour use, so if I arrive on day 1 (depart from Shinjuku) in the morning and stay day 2, stay day 3 and leave day 4 in the morning, does that qualify/fit in the 3 day pass parameters, or does it just counts # days, so really meaning 3 days and 2 nights, regardless of the time you arrive or depart Hakone?
    Thanks for your help. Just trying to figure out how many nights accommodation I would need to book for a 3 day Free Pass.

    • Hi Angie, the pass is for the calendar day not a 24 hour period. As accommodation is relatively expensive in the Hakone region most people find 2 nights (3 day pass) will be enough to enjoy the sights, soak in the onsen and relax especially if you don’t need to rush off to your next destination on that last day.

  • Hi, thank you for the very informative post.
    I am going to Japan this December (winter period), and thinking of visiting Hakone (2d1n). We will be going to Hakone from Tokyo, and then continue our trip to Tokyo. We have purchased the JRpass as well. Based on your post, we should be taking the Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Odawara, and then buy the Hakone Free Pass? Can the Hakone Free pass be used at Odawara- How to go to Hakone from Odawara?
    Also, do you have any Ryokan to recommend at Hakone? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Rachel, the whole area is referred to as Hakone, which part in particular at you wanting to get to? For example for the township of Hakone Yumoto where many of the onsen and accommodation are would follow the directions in the article taking the Odakyu train from Odawara station towards Gora but get off at the 4th stop for Hakone Yumoto.

    • Hi Toni,

      We are going to Hakone this June 18 and your information is so useful for us.
      Do we need to reserve the seat of the train from Odawara to Hakone? Because we would like to sit on the left side as you mentioned to see the beautiful view. Or we could see them from both sides of the trains?

      Cheers,

      Angie

      • Hi Angie, Odawara to Hakone is a local train so you can’t reserve a seat. The 18th is a Monday I believe so it will be a little less busy than on the weekend but it is a popular route. You will have a good outlook from either side but having done it a couple of times now we just like the left a little better 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Hi
    Thanks for the detailed blog, very informative. I will be buying a JR pass and plan to buy the two day Hakone pass. Would it be too tiring for us to be return back to Tokyo and go back again the next day to Hakone for enjoying the onsen and going to the museums?
    Thanks in advance!

    • It would depend on your travel style Raji but if you have the JR pass then it would be quite easy to do, it’s only 35 minutes on the shinkansen from Tokyo station and won’t add any extra cost doing it that way, you will actually be getting some good value from both passes. Co-incidentally I’ve just been looking at the day visit onsen options in Hakone today, we are headed back in a few weeks and plan to do a day out of Tokyo with a half day onsen soaking and relaxing and the other half exploring the Open Air Museum we missed last time and a few extra things if we can fit them in.

  • Hi there, your blog is very informative. Certainly worth sharing!

    I understand that the round trip package of the Hakone Free Pass involves either a bus ride or a train ride from Shinjuku and back. Do you know if the free pass gets activated upon the journey from Shinjuku to Hakone or only when I used it on the local train/cable car/bus rides (Hakone Tozan Railway etc.)? How does it work altogether – do you get separate passes for the transportation in Hakone, and a different one for the RomanceCar to Shinjuku?

    As I’ll be spending a full day hiking Mount Fuji, I’d hope that I can activate the pass later.

    • The pass is activated when you first use it whether that is Shinjuku or the Hakone region. If you are coming from somewhere other than Shinjuku I’d suggest you buy your Hakone Freepass within the Freepass zone without the Tokyo transfer included. You can buy a pass to use from Shinjuku or just within the Hakone zone so you aren’t paying for a transfer from Shinjuku that you aren’t using.

  • Hi !

    I love your blog and all the tips 😀
    I have been reading thoroughly to try and plan a day trip to Hakone for my dad and myself but got a little overwhelmed as to where to begin 🙁
    We would like to plan the day trip to Hakone, without using the JR pass what would you suggest be the best way to go?
    I do want to buy the Hakone freepass as well.
    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much !

      • Hi! Thank you so much for your response 🙂 You are so sweet to help.
        I am right beside the Tamieke Sanno station but the Roppongi Itchome station is pretty close by too.

        • Hi Dori-Ann. As you aren’t using a JR pass I am guessing you would prefer to avoid the cost of the bullet train option.

          The slightly lower cost option at (Y1550) would be to use the subway from Tameike-Sanno (ginza line) to Asakasa-mitsuke then transfer to the Marunuchi line through to Shinjuku (~12 minutes) and buy the Hakone pass from there. The pass is an extra Y490 from Shinjuku over buying the Hakone region only pass when you get to Odawara plus you’d pay the limited express surcharge of Y890 and Y170 for the subway section. The train from Shinjuku takes 85 minutes. If you do this option just make sure you buy both the Hakone Free Pass and the limited express surcharge for the Romance car before you board or there will be an extra fee onboard and you won’t have a reserved seat.

          The slightly faster and simpler option (at Y1660) is to take the subway from Tameike-Sanno to Shimbashi (3 minutes) switch to the JR line and take the JR Tokaido line to Odawara (~80 minutes) then purchase the Hakone pass there either from the office or the machine (English available). Total time will vary a little depending on time of day and how long your transfer at Shimbashi takes.

  • Hello!
    Your post about Hakone trip makes me feel more excited to visit Hakone. However, my budget is quite a challenge. At first I decided to cancel my trip to Hakone but since I found your blog and friends are recommending this place, looks like I need to include this place back in my itinerary.

    I am still confuse about the way to get there. I have a JR pass and if I were to get to Hakone, is it recommended that:

    1. I take JR to Shinjuku (cost included in JR pass)
    2. Buy the Hakone day pass there (4000 Yen)
    3. Take JR to Odawara (cost included in JR pass)
    4. Train to Hakone (included in Hakone pass onwards)

    Is my understanding above true?

    Really appreciate your advice on this. Thank you so much and keep posting!

    • Hi Janna, if you have the JR pass already activated you would do it the same way we did. Use the JR Pass to get to Odawara station then you can purchase the Hakone Freepass there to cover just the Hakone region. You can do that at the office or through the machine. When you are done at the end of the day, or the next day, the pass will cover you getting back to Odawara and you can use your JR pass again to continue on to your next city

  • Hi Toni, thank you so much for the very detailed break down cost for the Hakone Free Pass! We are going to depart from Kyoto and stay in Gora for 3 nights, and onward to Tokyo. I think the free pass will definitely be worth it in our case. I can’t wait for October to come!

    • Will the free pass include Romance Car back to Shinjuku? If I understand correctly, train tickets in Japan has a base fare, + extra (was it depending on distance) + reserved seating (optional)?

      • Hi Yng, it looks like they have made a change to the way they are talking about the price on their website. You used to buy a ticket that was either from Shinjuku (return) or within the Freepass region. They’ve now seem to have split it out to talk about the Hakone pass being everything in the region and as it is the Odakyu company you can add-on the Shinjuku return for the reduced cost of just the limited express surcharge. If you are buying it at the Shinjuku end it should still be straightforward, if not they spoke English in the ticket counters and will be able to get you the right one. I think the change is quite new as I can’t find the price breakdown on the site anymore, we are back in a couple of months so will check it out and update the post with the new wording and prices if applicable as soon as I have them.

        Generally ticket prices in Japan for local trains are simple, on longer distance there is an extra fee for reserved seat (unless you are using JR pass which includes it) and a limited express surcharge on some trains. The limited express is faster as it has less stops and it just seems to be an extra charge for the convenience and based on demand. When you buy the ticket it’s clear on the ticket machine that you need to add it on, we normally use a JR pass which includes it so it isn’t an issue but have used it on the Limited Express from Kansai Airport. Prices shown in Hyperdia include it in the summary under the seat fee from memory. There are also sometime’s extra cost for special seating such as green car on the shinkansen or there is a viewing deck on the Romancecar that is extra.

        • Thank you for your reply! Through many online searches, I found that if the free pass is purchase in Odawara (because we’ll be coming from Kyoto), it won’t include the ride to Shinjuku.

          Which is ok, I think the price of (3 days) Shinjuku round trip Hakone Freepass with Romance Car (5460 +890 yen) versus Odawara only pass (4500 yen) + 1 way to Shinjuku Romance Car (2080 yen) are almost the same.

          Phew, my brain can’t comprehend all these details, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the entire Japan trip.

  • Hmm interesting to read this! In my experience it hugely depends on the weather; the savings are great and the cable cars are good and all, but if it is raining when you go then the cable cars might not even be running and it’s so difficult to get around Hakone without using taxis. 🙁

    • Hi Jessie, the cable cars run in they rain (unless it’s a monsoon of course), it’s generally very high winds or volcanic activity that have closed them. As travellers or tourists it’s always a bit disappointing when you run into heavy rain and only have a day or two to experience an area but we were there in mid winter with snow as you can see in the photos and got around very easily on the public transport with the Hakone Freepass and short distances on foot.

  • Hello, Your blog is really a great help. We are planning to visit Hakone early Nov for a day trip Reading thru this really makes me excited.Like what you did Im also getting the 2 day hakone free pass that starts in Odawara so we can try Shikansen in going back to Tokyo .Im not getting JR pass since we will only explore Tokyo, Hakone and Nikko. My concern is if our Hakone free pass will start in Odawara, can we still ride Odakyu Romance Car from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto using the suica cards? Thank you in advance..

    • Hi Joyce, November will be lovely, I hope you get some great autumn leaves colour. You can use the Suica and other stored value cards for the Odakyu Romance Car, it’s a limited express train though so you just need to get the limited express ticket with a reserved seat when you buy it, you can’t just sit anywhere like you do on a local train.

  • Hey there! Thank you for such an informative article. I didn’t know there was another Hakone Free Pass from Odawara to Hakone as we bought JR pass as well.

    • It really comes down to personal travel style. We travel independently and I enjoy doing our own research of where to go and which places to visit and stay rather than buy the package, in this case doing it ourselves also saves a few dollars to spend elsewhere on the trip. For comparison at the moment I believe the one day trip package costs Y8300 and doing the same thing with the freepass from Shinjuku and including entry to the same spa would be Y6740 or Y6940 depending on your travel day being a weekday or weekend. You still pick up your tickets in Shinjuku station and it’s an unaccompanied package so for us I don’t see an added value for the Y1560 built in admin fee but that’s us, others will prefer the package and be happy to pay to have it pre-planned and know in advance which spa to go to whereas we’d take and look and see which took our fancy on the day.

  • Congratulations – Fantastic information in your blog. I am going to Hakone in Sept and your blog now makes me excited about Hakone. I don’t think JR pass makes sense for us on this trip? 3 days in Shinjuku then cruise 9 days then 1 day Hakone, 2 days Hiroshima and final few days in Kyoto then home from there. I am still trying to work out how to get from Yokohama Port to Hakone. Any suggestions appreciated. I am thinking of sending my luggage from Yokohama to Hiroshima and taking overnight bag to Hakone. Still trying to work out if that is possible at Yokohama. Have you got any experience in this regard? Thx so much ?

    • I agree the JR pass doesn’t work for you on that route. The luggage forwarding can be a great option for a single night stay meaning you only have to deal with an overnight bag and it’s waiting for you at the hotel when you get to your next destination. The bullet train goes through Yokohama on the way to Hakone so that is an option or there are local train options that are slower but less expensive. I’ve priced it out before and it’s not worth going back to Tokyo to buy the pass from there, get the local version once you get to Odawara station. The Tokaido line takes just under an hour and costs around Y1000 from Shin-Yokohama on the bullet train it’s around 15 minutes but costs around Y3200.

  • Thank you very much for this info. It came handy to me as we are planning to visit Hakone in a few days’ time.
    Really Very useful.
    Ashokan

  • Hello! Thank you for your blog, it’s been really informative. I just have a question – it says that the Hakone Free Pass includes a round trip to Shinjuku. Does that mean I can use the 2-day pass for 2 consecutive days from Shinjuku or would I have to stay overnight in Hakone? 🙂

    • Hi Janelle, the passes include a round trip to Shinjuku and unlimited use of the other included travel in the Hakone area. The 2 or 3 day options are designed for those staying in the Hakone region overnight then returning to Tokyo. You would need to buy multiple single day tickets if you wanted to make multiple return trips to Shinjuku.

  • Hello!

    My 22 year old daughter and I are visiting Yokohama and want to go use the Hakone Free Pass from there. We are returning to Tokyo after staying the two nights in Odawara. Would it be cheaper to catch a train to Shinjuku from Yokohama and purchase the return Hakone Free Pass for Sinjuku to Odawara return rather then travel directly from Yokhama to Odawara and purchasing the Hakone Free Pass in Odawara? Thank-you!

    • Hi Mike, it won’t be worth the cost or time to start the journey in Tokyo. It will take almost twice as long by the time you catch the train to Shinjuku then through to Odawara from there. There are frequent local trains on the JR Tokaido Line for Odawara that you can catch in Yokohama and it will take under an hour to get there, if you buy the pass when you are there that will be more cost effective.

  • Hi there, I plan to travel from Tokyo to Hakone and stay for 4 nights. I will not be returning to Tokyo after this, I will be travelling on to Tokyo. Do you think the Hakone Free Pass is worth it for me? I would obviously not be using the return trip and I guess i would get the 3 days pass as there is no 4 day one? thanks! From what I understand I can use the Hakone Free Pass to get the Romance Car to Hakone and just have to pay a little more on top.

    • Hi Geraldine, you can get the Hakone Free Pass with or without the Tokyo transfers included. If you buy the one without it is Y1140 less. If taking the train from Shinjuku is convenient to where you are staying I would buy the full pass as it would be most cost effective even if you don’t use the return ticket. Alternatively if you prefer to catch a train from Tokyo station for example and don’t have a JR pass running at that stage which I assume you won’t, you could buy a ticket for the JR Tokaido Line for Y1490 and just get the Hakone Free Pass for use on transport within the Hakone region.

  • Just wants to say thanks for your detailed and most helpful information! We will do the same route in a day and this helped us decide on the free pass.

  • Hi! This entry really provided good insight into travelling around Hakone. I was thinking of doing a day-trip there myself, but am wondering how much time you were able to spend there. Did you think that one day was enough to enjoy the area?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi Nguyet, from memory we arrived around 8.30am (it’s only 30 minutes on the shinkansen) and left late afternoon as we had something to do in Tokyo that evening, however the trains run much later so we could have fitted in more and stayed for dinner in Hakone had we chosen too.

  • Hi, I would like to ask is it advisable to rent a car from shinjuku & drive up to hakone and stay for a night before heading up to fujiten resort with my kids?
    Or it’s preferred to pick up the car at odawara ?
    If I were to drive up from shinjuku, where should I park my car at?
    Which hakone sightseeing cruise station ? Togendai-ko?

    • Hi Constance, Sorry I can’t help with this one we only use public transport to get around in Japan and we haven’t driven there at all. For the resort we’d just use the train to Kawaguchiko and a taxi from there.

  • Hello,

    This entry is very informative for Japan tourists. Just a quick question about the Hakone Pass, do they have an option to pre-purchase the pass online?

    Thanks

  • Is the 2 day pass good for 48 hours or 2 days or part thereof. We arrive at Odawara Station about 9.15am first day and arrive back at Odawara Station about 9am on the third day, would the two day pass cover that period or just the first two days

      • We are here now. The day starts when you buy it/ or decide to start it. So we bought a three day pass which we chose to start straight away, at midday. So we get half this day…done the full circle already and then two more whole days to fatten the experience.

  • Hi Toni,

    I love the green/yellow boat with snazzy crow’s nests. Or whatever you call ’em.

    Japan is one place I’d visit in the cold. 1 of the few. I’m such a tropics guy.

    My wife loved her stay in Hiroshima a while back. 9 months. Dug it.

    Thanks for sharing the scenery and pass breakdown.

    Signing off from not too sunny NJ.

    Ryan
    Blogging From Paradise

  • I am interested in purchasing the Hakone freepass but would also like to go to the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, I cannot seem to see what the discount for entry is with the freepass, would you know? Thank you 🙂

    • Sorry Erica we didn’t go there so don’t know the discount level. From other attractions listed in the discount section you did just need to show the pass even if you don’t speak Japanese but the discounts were minimal, from memory around 10%

  • We had a three-day pass as we stayed in Hakone for two nights, and we used the transport options extensively to get around, in all directions. One thing to note is that the Ropeway is currently not operating due to volcanic activity…there is a replacement bus that links the lake to the top of cablecar (and vice versa). The whole Owakudani area is totally out-of-bounds which was disappointing, but understandable!

    • Your stay sounded fabulous so it’s definitely possible to enjoy Hakone without the geothermal area access. I’d heard some murmurings about it being about to reopen but they officially responded by reconfirmed the temporary closure again in September. Given volcanic activity is the main attraction of the area between Owakudani and the onsen I guess it’s not surprising that sometimes it will also cause a disturbance. It must be hurting the local economy though with many of the very popular hiking routes also closed, I hope it settles again soon.

  • Japan in Winter is an absolute delight. Snow sprinkled over all of the mountains is such a dreamy sight so I love your photo of the ropeway! I never visited Hakone unfortunately as my stay in Japan was a very short two weeks (it simply wasn’t long enough!). When I go back, I’ll be adding this to my itinerary and it seems the pass is worthwhile.

  • We were in Japan earlier this year but didn’t make it to Hakone. I wish we could have now that I read this, though! It sounds like a fantastic day trip. The cable cars look like a lot of fun, especially if you have good views of Mt. Fuji! The pass would be nice for the savings, but even more so to skip the lines! Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for the great review Toni – I think the biggest perk for me would be just the convenience in buying it and then not having to queue or wait for tickets later on down the track. You know all of your tickets are covered for the day and that’s that. Much less stressful knowing everything’s already organized 🙂

    • We’ve been surprised that Japan isn’t nearly as expensive to travel as we’d expected. I think if you want to do English speaking tours the price goes up substantially but we prefer to do our own thing anyway.

    • Thanks Mags, Japan is definitely one of the more expensive parts of Asia to travel but we don’t find it more costly than it is in most western countries and there are lots of ways to stretch your travel dollars there.

  • I’ve been to Hakone and it was a highlight of my first trip to Japan. Nice to see that it’s accessible in winter and that there’s a pass to make the journey easier. We were traveling with Japanese friends who were over-the-top gracious. Not sure I could’ve done it on my own.

  • I don’t have any current plans to visit Japan, but I can sure appreciate the thought and detail that went into researching which pass made the most sense for your travels. I’m sure the information will be very helpful to Tokyo visitors!

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