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 trip time are the following:

  • Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto — 2,080 yen (basic fare 1,190 yen + limited express surcharge 890 yen) / 1 hour 25 minutes to 40 minutes

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.

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

  1. Good day Takeshi san,

    If I make booking only on Odakyu eRomancecar seat reservation website (booking only, not purchase), then what is the procedure when I buy my Hakone free pass on the day of travel?

    For example if I make seat reservation for Romance car online from Machida to Hakone-Yumoto, on the day I travel I will go from Shimo-Kitazawa to Machida, then from Machida to Hakone-Yumoto, how do I buy my ticket/claim the seat reservation I have made? I feel confused.

    Cheers.

      1. Thank you again Takeshi san,

        Much appreciated. I have read the link you provided and I understand how to make the online booking/purchase. But what I am not sure of, if I make an online booking only (not purchase and pay), when I buy my Hakone free pass, do I then just show the booking confirmation and pay the Romance car surcharge?

        That is what I am not clear of, as I do not wish to make the purchase online with my credit card in Australia, only make the booking and buy the pass when I am in Japan.

        Cheers.

        1. Hi Michael san,

          When you purchase Hakone Free Pass, you don’t need to show your confirmation of Romancecar ticket.
          By the way, when you book romancecar ticket online, it’s charged to your credit card. You cannot book it only. Once you book it, you need to pay.

          Please read all part of the link which I gave you.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. I am making a one way trip from Shinjuku Station to Hakone and staying 2 nights at Hakone Lake Hotel (14th to 16th May) Leaving for Nagoya after. Is it worth buying the free pass?

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Can i use the the Hakone Freepass to travel from Hakone Yumoto station to Haneda International airport on the Odakyu hakone highway bus?

    thanks,
    Alvin

    1. Hi Alvin san,

      Unfortunately it does not cover Express bus to Haneda. Hakone Free Pass covers Gotemba – Shijuku express bus partially. Even if you take this, you still need to pay 870 yen. (Regular fare 1580 yen)

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you Takeshita-san for your reply. I would to ask if there is any bus I can take from Hakone to go directly to Haneda airport?

  4. Hi,

    I would like to get some opinion about the best transportation:-
    1) Haneda to Gotemba
    2) Gotemba to Hakone (Overnight)
    3) Hakone to Kyoto
    I will have JR International Pass.
    Should I buy Hakone Pass?
    Should I overnight in Hakone or Lake Kawaguchi?
    Can I cover Gotemba, Hakone and Lake Kawaguchi in 2 days 1 night?
    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Fathi

    1. Hi Fathi,

      You should have Hakone Free Pass anyway because you can get Odawara by JR pass but after that, JR Pass does not cover anything.

      It depends on your arrival time in Haneda to do Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone in 2 days. If you arrive there in early morning, you can do it. But it takes 1.5 hours to get Lake Kawaguchi from Gotemba. It may be a bit tight.
      http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/route/detail/id/1

      You can stay in either Hakone or Lake Kawaguchi. But if you want to enjoy Onsen, Hakone is better place to stay.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. What is the best way to cover Mt Fuji in 2 days?
        1) (Day 1 = Kawaguchi -> Gotemba) -> (Day 2 = Hakone)
        2) (Day 1 = Hakone) -> (Day 2 = Gotemba -> Kawaguchi)
        I plan to go to kyoto after that.
        Thank you.

        BR,
        Fathi

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