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.

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

  1. Hi Takeshi

    Just wondering for a trip, if this arrangement spending too much time in Hakone. Should we leave in Day 2 for 5th area.

    Day 1: Stay in Hakone
    Day 2: Stay in Hakone
    Day 3: Hakone going to 5th station, return to tokyo

    Is it worthy to get Hakone Fuji Pass?

    Is it possible to alight at Odawara and continue to Hakone using that pass from Shinjuku?

    1. Hi Patty,

      Two days in Hakone is not too much. But if you want to spend your time in 5th station and Lake Kawaguchi area, you may move to Lake Kawaguchi after sightseeing in Hakone.

      Fuji Hakone Pass is your choice anyway. You can drop by Odawara. It’s in unlimited ride area.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi ;
    we plan this trip :
    5 days at Tokyo
    1 day at Hakone
    4 days at Kyoto + nara +
    2 days back in to toyo.

    Could you please advice us for the best solution to travel ?
    thank you a lot

    1. Hi Jean-Marie,

      You can use JR pass 7 days for the last 7 days of your trip.
      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

      You still need to add Hakone Free pass. As I mentioned above, JR pass does not cover Hakone.

      You can find the deal for the first 5 days in the link below:
      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

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi!
    I’m planning to have a trip to hakone for afternoon tour this coming march 30 from shinjuku.. Im thinking of getting the hakone free pass but I also want to do paragliding in asagiri kogen near the shin-fuji station in the morning.. Should I get the fuji/ hakone pass instead? How much will it cost if I will use regular passes to shin fuji?

    Thanks a lot. Best wishes.

    1. Hi Maricar,

      Shin-Fuji is not in coverage area of Fuji Hakone Pass. You need to take Shinkansen from Tokyo or Shinagawa to Shinjuku by single fare ticket. Please check the fare and timetable at the hyperdia:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      You may use Hakone free pass but if you have only half day, I’m not sure you can get the worth of it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi. Thank you for your response. I am already using Hyperdia and it’s really helpful. I can easily compare prices and decide whether it’s beneficial for me to use passes in certain areas or not. I only have difficulty in the hakone shin-fuji areas.

        BTW, here’s our plan for 6 days:
        3days in tokyo with 1day spent in TDS
        1day hakone/fuji then sleeper bus to kyoto
        1 day himeji/kyoto
        1 day kyoto/nara

        Do I need to avail kansai pass? Thanks again! ^_^

  4. Hello Takeshi

    travelling to Japan in Feb 2017
    staying one week
    3 days Tokyo
    1 day Hakedo
    2 days Kyoto
    1 day Tokyo
    I am planning to get JR pass + Hakedo pass for 2 days Is this the best option

  5. Hello takeshi

    My plan for japan in april 2017. For honeymoon trip
    11-18 will be in tokyo city.
    As18 will be heading to hakone stay in laforte gora, staying there till 20 then heading to fuji.staying in fuji till 22 then head to tokyo disneyworld till24 to narita airport… Can you help me to for transport information i should use better. ..
    Waiting for your best guide. Thanks

    Sincerely

    Hendro

    1. Hi Hendro,

      For the trip in Tokyo, please see the link below. Tokyo subway ticket is primary deal.
      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

      For Hakone and Fuji, Fuji Hakone Pass is your choice.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/fujihakone/

      However this is valid for 3 days only. You need to add single fare for the remaining days.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/fujihakone/
      http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    I plan to go Japan for 1 week trip with my family in end-Jan/early-Feb 2017:

    Arrive at Narita then train to Osaka (2D2N)
    Then 3D2N at Kyoto (including day trip to Nara)
    Then 2D1N at Hakone
    Then back to Tokyo for flight back

    Do you think I should get the 7-day JR Pass? With JR Pass, I still need to purchase single trip ticket from Odawara, correct?

    Btw, does JR Pass cover train/bus to Nara from Kyoto?

    1. Hi SP,

      JR pass is only choice. JR pass does not cover bus but you can use any JR trains in Kansai region. You can get Nara from Kyoto by JR trains. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/destinations/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html

      When you leave Hakone, as I see your plan, JR pass is valid, I think. If JR pass is still valid, you can use JR pass to take Shinkansen from Odawara to Tokyo. You don’t need to purchase a ticket. But if you want to take Odakyu railway to Shinjuku from Hakone, you need to purchase a ticket.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    Is Hakone Free Pass still of a good value if I go from Tokyo to Hakone, 2 days Hakone, moving on to Nara?
    Thank you!
    Ri

  8. Hi Takeshi!

    We plan to visit Hakone from Shinjuku using JR Pass. Our itinerary includes going to owakudani via Tozan train, cable car and ropeway. We also plan to see Lake Ashi and the pirate ship but won’t take the cruise anymore since we’re heading to The Little Prince Museum thereafter then to Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum for dinner before heading back to Shinjuku. Should we buy the Hakone Free Pass for this route?

    Thanks again!

    Best, She

  9. Hi Takeshi,

    I am planning a 9 days trip to Japan with a group of my friends in March of next year. I am looking to get the 7 days JR pass. Do you think it will be worth it? Below is my plan for the visit:

    Narita airport to Tokyo
    Spend 2 days or so around Tokyo
    1 day trip to Hakone-Owakudani
    1 day trip to Hakone
    2 days trip to Kyoto

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Todd,
      A few friends are I are also going to Japan in March and would love to coordinate anything we have created with you guys! When will you be there?

      This is some great info on getting to Hakone, so thank you for posting!
      We are dying to go to the Open Air Museum. Can we do the open air museum and the entire Free Pass “roundabout trip” in one day from Tokyo???
      Thank you so much!
      Jennifer

      1. Hi Jennifer,

        You can do Hakone one day trip from Tokyo. Actually many travelers have done it.

        By the way, Todd is a reader and he asked me about his trip. I don’t think he will reply to you.

        Cheers,

        Takeshi / JPRail.com

        1. Thank you Takeshi.
          My main concern was trying to squeeze in the museum and the entire free pass including the boat sight seeing tour in one day. What about throwing in a visit to a hot spring as well?
          Could we possibly see all of that in one day? If so that would be amazing!!!
          I think the main trouble I am having is figuring out the timing between each stop and obviously the train into Hakone in the morning. Was hoping to get on an early train and get to the museum right at its 9am opening.

          Thank you so much again!
          Best,
          Jennifer

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