How to access Hakone from Tokyo. Compare Japan Railway and Odakyu lines

Odakyu Railway's limited express train by 50000 series, Vault Super Express.
Odakyu Railway’s limited express train by 50000 series, Vault Super Express.

Most of travellers who stay in Tokyo think about visiting Hakone (箱根). It is only a few hours away from Tokyo. It is well known as one of the most popular hot springs resort in Japan. And also it is very close to the highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji. But Hakone is not connected with Tokyo by Japan Railway. That means Japan Rail Pass cover limited part of your trip to Hakone. Odakyu Electric Railway (小田急電鉄) that is one of the major private railway companies in Tokyo and Highway bus are more convenient way to get there. Though Japan Rail Pass cover limited part of travel, some of you still think about using Japan Rail Pass as much as you can and try to minimize the extra cost.

In this post, I show you the regular fare to Hakone by Odakyu Electric Railways and the extra cost in case of using Japan Rail Pass. And also I would like to share the information about the discounted pass to Hakone.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

To Hakone by Japan Rail Pass


View How to get Hakone in a larger map

As you see the map above, you can go to Odawara (小田原) by Japan Railway. Shinkansen is the best way to get there from Tokyo. Odawara can be accessed from Tokyo, Shinagawa (品川) and Shin-Yokohama (新横浜) by Tokaido Shinkansen. But Shin-Yokohama station is away from downtown Yokohama. You can take limited express train Odoriko / Super View Odoriko from Yokohama. Even rapid train from Tokyo or Shinjuku can take you to Odawara. The time required to Odawara is the following:

  • Tokyo to Odawara by Tokaido Shinkansen “Kodama” (こだま) — 35 to 40 minutes
    *If you take Shinkansen from Shinagawa, the time required is 8 minutes shorter.
  • Yokohama to Odawara by limited express “Odoriko” (踊り子) — about 40 minutes.
    *If you depart from Yokohama, Odoriko is faster than Shinkansen because Shin-Yokokohama station on Shinkansen is 4 stations away from Yokohama station.

Hakone Tozan Railway is Japan’s only genuine mountain railway. ©Japan Convention Services, Inc./© JNTO

Now you need to take Hakone Tozan Railway (箱根登山鉄道) from Odawara to Hakone. Any Japan Railway’s trains go to Odawara beyond. You should expect minimum 15 minutes to change the trains at Odawara. The fare and the time required from Odawara are the following:

  • Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto (箱根湯本) — 300 yen / 14 minutes
    *When you go to further than Hakone-Yumoto, you need to change the train. There are no trains going through Hakone-Yumoto because the truck gauge is different. The time required for the following section do not include the time to change the train at Hakone-Yumoto. Usually you can catch the train within 5 minutes there. Hakone-Yumoto is a small station. A few minutes is enough to change the train.
  • Odawara to Miyanoshita (宮ノ下) — 560 yen / 39 minutes
  • Odawara to Kowakidani (小湧谷) — 600 yen / 44 minutes
  • Odawara to Chokoku no Mori (彫刻の森) — 650 yen / 47 minutes
  • Odawara to Gora (強羅) — 650 yen / 50 minutes

So if you take Japan Railway and Hakone Tozan Railway, the total expected time required is the following:
Tokyo/Yokohama to Hakone-Yumoto — about 1 hour 10 minutes / Need to transfer the trains once.
Tokyo/Yokhama to Gora — about about 1 hour and 40 minutes / Need to transfer the trains twice.

Interior of Odakyu Romancecar 50000 series. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Odakyu Electric Railway

Odakyu is more popular than Japan Railway to Hakone. Because Odakyu’s limited express train that is called “Romancecar” (ロマンスカー) is operated directly to Hakone-Yumoto from Shinjuku (新宿). This train has very nice accommodation. It is same level as Japan Railway’s limited express train.

The terminal station, Shinjuku may be more convenient than Tokyo station for some of you. Of course you don’t need to change the train at Odawara. And also some of Romancecar on weekend goes through Tokyo Metro Subway Chiyoda line (東京メトロ千代田線) to Kitasenju (北千住). You can catch the train directly to Hakone from Omotesando (表参道=near Shibuya), Kasumigaseki (霞ヶ関=near National Diet Building), Otemachi (大手町=close to JR Tokyo station) and Kitasenju. The fare and the time required are the following:

  • Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto — 2020 yen (basic fare 1150 yen + limited express surcharge 870 yen) / 1 hour 25 minutes to 40 minutes
  • Kitasenju to Hakone-Yumoto — 2400 yen (basic fare 1330 yen + limited express surcharge 1070 yen) / 2 hours and 15 minutes

    Otemachi/Kasumigaseki to Hakone-Yumoto — 2360 yen (basic fare 1290 yen + limited express surcharge 1070 yen) / 2 hours and 5 minutes

    Omotesando to Hakone-Yumoto — 2330 yen (basic fare 1260 yen + limited express surcharge 1070 yen) / 2 ours

You can get a timetable and other details at Odakyu Electric Railway website.

Highway Bus

There are many Highway bus lines to Hakone. Japan Rail Pass do not cover any bus service to Hakone. But you can go to Hakone from Shinjuku, Haneda airport and Yokohama directly. Especially if you want to go to Togendai (桃源台) and Lake Ashi (芦ノ湖) area, these bus services take you there directly. If you take the trains, either Japan Railway and Odakyu, you need to transfer at Hakone-Yumoto and Gora. The fare and the time required are the following:

  • Shinjuku station to Hakone-Togendai — 1950 yen / 2 hours 20 to 30 minutes
  • Haneda airport to Hakone-Togendai — 2200 yen / 2 hours and 40 to 50 minutes
  • Yokohama station to Hakone-Togendai — 1900 yen / 2 hours and 5 minutes
  • Haneda airport to Hakone-Yumoto — 1900 yen / 2 hours and 10 minutes
  • Yokohama station to Hakone-Yumoto — 1500 yen / 1 hours and 25 minutes

You can get the details at Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus PDF brochure (English/Chinese/Korean).

Discounted ticket

Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji ©Odakyu Electric Railway/©JNTO

Hakone Freepass (箱根フリーパス)

If you take Odakyu train and stay in Hakone-Yumoto or Gora area, Hakone Freepass is very convenient. It includes round trip to Hakone by Odakyu train (limited express surcharge is not included), unlimited ride on Hakone Tozan Railway, bus service, cable car, ropeway and many more. If you depart from Shinjuku, the price is 5000 yen for 2 days and 5500 yen for 3 days. Please see the details here.

Day Pass Toko Toko ticket (とことこ切符)

This is a basic day pass. It gives you unlimited ride on Hakone Tozan Railway and Hakone Tozan Cablecar. You can go to Gora and Sounzan. But you need to pay when you go to Lake Ashi area.

Conclusion

In my opinion, using Hakone Freepass by Odakyu from Shinjuku is the best option. Even if you will use Japan Rail Pass, you need to think about not only the fare for Hakone Tozan Railway and also other transportation, such as cablecar, ropeway, bus, lake cruise. You will spend several thousand yen very quickly. I think 5000 yen for 2 days unlimited ride in Hakone is a great value.

444 thoughts on “How to access Hakone from Tokyo. Compare Japan Railway and Odakyu lines”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    We(1 couple) are arriving in Narita on 8th April at 3 pm, is it possible to directly leave for Hakone so that we can rest up and go to 5th stn mt fuji, lake ashi , ropeway etc next day(9th apr) and on 10th is it possible to cover Nara or Kyoto from Hakone and by evening leave for tokyo
    pls suggest should we take bus or train?

    From 11-16th apr we will be in Tokyo so pls suggest which ticket/pass should we take which covers our transportation for (8-10 apr Narita-hakone-nara/kyoto-tokyo trip) and locally in tokyo.
    or we should take a 3 day ticket/pass for 8-10 apr which covers our outside tokyo region and once we are back in tokyo we take a separate ticket/pass for local transportation. pls suggest what would be economically best?

    1. Hi Megha,

      You can get Hakone on arrival day but if you stay in ryokan and intend to eat dinner there, you may not be able to get by dinner time. You will spend 1 hour to go through custom and immigration. And then you will spend 30 minutes to purchase or exchange the pass or ticket. And then it takes 2.5 hours to get Hakone-Yumoto. You will spend more minutes if you stay in other than Hakone-Yumoto.

      It’s very very tight to visit Nara and Kyoto in one day from Odawara. I recommend you to stay at least one night in Kyoto or Nara if you can. If you do this, you need to take Shinkansen (bullet train) to get Kyoto for 2.5 hours. And you will spend 3 hours to get back to Tokyo by Shinkansen as well. There are many places to see Kyoto and Nara. It may not enough time to even see only Kyoto. If you do this, you need to have JR pass 7 days.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      It covers Narita-Tokyo-Odawara, Odawara-Kyoto-Nara-Tokyo and local trains in Tokyo as well. But you need to pay for local transportation to get Hakone fron Odawara.

      You can add subway pass after JR pass expires.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hello Takeshi,
    Me and my wife are the first time visit japan.. we arrive at 26 Dec 2017 and go back at 5 jan 2018. I will spent new year in Japan.. can you give me the suggestion where i must spent my coundown in japan? Please help me the place i must visit for this 10 days ? And i want to ask about japan rail pass.. i arrive haneda 26 dec 2017 at 10pm.. should i change my jr pass for this date or not? Thanks for your help.. thanks.. please give me an intenery for 10 days visit japan..

    1. Hi ANdrow,

      It’s too hard to tell you where you go. There are so many places to see. You have 10 days in Japan and you can go anywhere if you want. Please read Japan Guide and please decide where you go. I cannot tell you this.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/

      But I can give you some tips.

      First of all, you have to stay in Tokyo on arrival day because it’s too late to visit other than Tokyo. You cannot exchange your JR pass. There are several exchange offices in Tokyo but all of those are closed when you arrive. Please see the link below to find the info about exchange office hours.
      http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/exchange.html

      And also you have to build your plan first before you decide when you start your JR pass. At this point, we don’t know that you need JR pass or not. You may not need it if you stay in Tokyo and visit surrounding areas.

      And also some specific dates are super busy in New Years period. Please try to avoid traveling in these dates. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/2017-busiest-period-to-travel-by-train-tips-to-book-your-seat-in-even-busy-period.html

      Many of Japanese visit temple or shrine to have new year moment. Kyoto has many places but all places are super busy. Tokyo has many shrines and temples too, like Senso-ji (Asakusa), Meiji Jingu shrine. Those places are super busy too.

      Again unfortunately I cannot tell you where you should visit. Everybody has different tastes. Sorry but this is your job. If you build your plan and you have inquiries about your trip plan, I can give you suggestion.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hello Takeshi,

    We plan to buy the 3 day hakone free pass from Shinjuku – Odawara then local train (extra cost) to Hayakawa for lunch and sight seeing. From Odawara to Gora for our hotel dinner.
    1) Will the 3 day pass cover Shinjuku-Odawara-Gora? Allowing for layover? (exit and reenter) If not what type of pass do I need to buy?
    2) Can I buy Romancecar for Shinjuku-Odawara only? How much time would I save? We are not in a rush. But we want to see if it’s worth the price.
    3) What’s the latest time I need to leave from Odawara to make it to Gora for dinner at hotel?

    Second day Hakone full day and back to hotel.
    Third Day from Gora-Hakone Yumoto-Shinjuku then Aiprot Limo to Narita.
    4) Can we buy Romancecar one way for Hakone Yumoto-Shinjuku? Or do I need to buy return trip? Since 1st day i got off at odawara and 3rd day i’m getting on at Hakone Yumoto?
    5) What’s the latest time I need to leave Gora in order to make it back to Shinjuku for 12pm airport limo ride? How long it takes from Gora – Shinjuku including transfer time?

    General questions
    6) I have 3 years old + 5m baby. They both do not require train tickets. But Will my 3 year old get a seat? Will I need to get a seat for him for Romancecar?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      1. After arrival Odawara, you can make stopover as many as you want. So it’s no problem to stopover at Odawara.

      2. Usually Romancecar limited express is 20 minutes faster than ordinary train.

      3. It take around 1 hour to get Gora from Odawara.

      4. You can buy both at Shinjuku station if you want. But you don’t need to. You can purchase it one by one at Shinjuku and Hakone-Yumoto.

      5. It takes 2 hours 15 to 30 minutes from Gora to Shinjuku. I think you need 20 minutes at least to transfer at Shinjuku. Try to use Hyperdia to get an exact timetable.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      6. If you want to have a seat for 3 years old child, you have to pay child fare (for 6 to 12 yrs old rate) which is half amount of adult price. Otherwise you have to share the seat with child.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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