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.

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.

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

  1. Hi. we plan to stay for an overnight in hakone from tokyo. we will purchase the hakone free pass. one of our destination in mind os the gotemba premium outlet. The following are the things that need clarification
    1. Can I take the odakyu highway bus from togendai station to gotemba premium outlet?
    2. Is the bus fare covered by the pass
    3. do we need to make a seat reserve
    4. is the odakyu highway bus a direct access to gotemba outlet
    5. how about from outlet going back to togendai station? our hotel is near the togendai station. thank you

    1. Hi Joelyn,

      You can take this highway bus from Togendai to Gotemba station without any extra. But this bus does not go to outlet. Usually you need change from highway bus to Hakone Tozan bus at Sengoku. Use the link below to find the route and timetable.

      You cannot book to take the highway bus in Hakone/Gotemba area only anyway.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Dear Takeshi-san,

    We are visiting Japan from the 4th of November till the 25th of November. This is my travel plan:

    Day 1 till 5 Tokyo
    Day 6 Tokyo with day trip to Hakone
    Day 7 Tokyo with day trip to Hakone
    Day 8 Tokyo with day trip to Nikko
    Day 9 Takaragawa Onsen
    Day 10 Matsumoto
    Day 11 Matsumoto daytrip to Kamikochi
    Day 12 Takayama
    Day 13 Hiromshima
    Day 14 Hiromshima
    Day 15 Kyoto
    Day 16 Kyoto
    Day 17 Kyoto with daytrip to Nara
    Day 18 Koyasan
    Day 19 Osaka
    Day 20 Osaka

    I was thinking to get a JR pass from day 8 till day 14 (1 week pass). Is this the right decision or is it better to order a 2 week pass?

    I am really looking forward to your advise.

    Tenpa

    1. Hi Tenpa san,

      7 days pass + extra pass (or single fare ticket) is most affordable choice. But if you use 14 days pass, you still can get the worth. If you use 14 days pass, you can get Odawara by Shinkansen and then visit Hakone. You still need to add Hakone Free Pass from Odawara. But you can use 2 days pass.

      On the other hand, if you don’t use JR Pass to get Hakone, you need to add the fare for Odawara to Shinjuku and Shinjuku to Hakone. Because Hakone Free Pass from Shinjuku includes one round trip to Hakone from Shinjuku only. That is why you need to add single fare. Even if you add single fare, it’s still cheaper than 14 days pass. However 14 days pass + 2 days Hakone Free Pass is easier to handle.

      I’m wondering why you want to visit Kamikochi in mid November. Kamikochi is closed on 15th of November. You will be there on 14th and it’s still open. But it’s transition season from fall to winter. You cannot see fall foliage there. And the scenery is not like winter. The mountains are still gorgeous but if you go there in this season, please keep it in you mind.

      If you change your mind and use 14 days pass, you can use any 14 days. But if I were you, I will use it until I get Kyoto which is day 2 to 15 (or 1 to 14).

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

    2. Dear Takeshi-san,

      Thank you for your reply.
      I changed my hakone visit with kamaguchiku.
      Is the JR tokyo wide pass a good option for the three trips from Tokyo or is it better to get a 2 week pass?

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I will be traveling to Japan in November for the first time with my husband and 1.5 year old daughter. I will be going to Tokyo (4 nights), Hakone (1 night), Kyoto (4 nights) and day trip to Nara and day trip to Osaka while staying in Kyoto so I don’t have to change hotels. I will also have to go back to Tokyo to fly back to the US. I know you mentioned JR pass doesn’t cover a lot of this, but won’t I need it since I will be doing round trip back to Tokyo?
    Thanks!
    Elaine

    1. Hi Elaine san,

      JR pass 7 days is recommended for your trip. You may use it for the last 7 days of your trip. You still need to add the fare or other pass after arriving in Odawara, subway and bus in Kyoto and maybe in Osaka. However JR pass is still cheaper. Please see the links below to find more info about coverage of JR pass.
      https://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
      https://jprail.com/destinations/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      You may add other deal before using JR Pass if you like. If you arrive in Narita, you can find the deal in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you so much, Takeshi-san!

        Do you think I should buy a ticket for the Romance car instead of taking the JR and having to change after Odawara? I was thinking the Romance car will be easier since I have a baby and luggage.

        Thanks!
        Elaine

        1. Hi Elaine san,

          It depends on where you stay in Tokyo. If you stay in Shinjuku, Romancecar is the best choice. You can get Hakone-Yumoto directly. But if you stay in other place in Tokyo, you need to take subway or JR to get Shinjuku first. JR may be easier. In my calculation, you will use JR pass already when you go to Hakone from Tokyo. You can take Shinkansen from either Tokyo or Shinagawa to Odawara. You can save your cost of course. Especially if you stay in eastern part of Tokyo, Tokyo and Shinagawa are more accessible than Shinjuku.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi

    We are travelling in Japan right now and enjoying this incredibly beautiful country and its wonderful and friendly people.
    Our travel agency arranged for a night at Koyasan, the next day we’ re continuing our trip to Hakone. Unfortunately we haven’t given much thought on how to get from Koyasan to Hakone and whether it will be covered ( or parts of it) by our JR pass. Could you give us some advice?

    Thank you very much.

    Katrin

    1. Hi Katrin,

      You can get off the train at Shin-Imamiya or Namba when you come back from Koyasan. You have two routes:

      1. Shin-Imamiya (Osaka Kanjo line) Osaka (local train) Shin-Osaka (Shinkansen) Odawara
      2. Namba (subway) Shin-Osaka (Shinkansen) Odawara

      If you take 1, JR Pass covers all the way to Odawara. You need to change trains twice.
      If you take 2, you need to pay for subway from Namba to Shin-Osaka. But you need to change trains only once. Extra fare for subway is 280 yen.

      After arriving at Odawara. JR pass does not cover anything to Hakone.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello,
    We will make this family trip in Octobre:
    Tokyo-Nikko-Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto- Osaka Kansai:

    I’m planning to take the Nikko pass (incl round trip from/to Tokyo)

    Regarding Hakone: Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto is not possible with the Hakone pass; is that correct?

    Is it worth buying the JR pass for: Tokyo-Odawara/ Odawara-Kyoto/ Kyoto-Kansai?

    Thanks a lot for your help,
    Cecile

  6. Hi Takeshi-san

    I will be going to Hakone Yumoto station from Yokohama & planning to buy the Hakone Freepass at Odawara station. When I used Hyperdia to check the schedule, there is this ‘Ltd Exp Hakone’ train. Can I use the Hakone Freepass for this train?

  7. Hi Takeshi. Is the Romance car the only train on the Oadakyu Line that goes from Shinjuku to Odawara please ?
    Thank you, Val

      1. Thank you again Takeshi. I had missed some of your replies. All sorted now ! Your help has been invaluable. Best wishes, Val

  8. Dear Takeshi
    Please can you tell me exactly which trains to use to get from
    1. Day trip Shinjuku to Kamakura
    2. Hakone to Kyoto
    3. Kyoto to Nara
    4. Kyoto to Hiroshima
    5. Hiroshima to Miyajima
    6. Miyajima to Okayama
    7. Day trip Okayama to Nagashima
    8. Okayama to Osaka
    Kind regards, Val

    1. Hi Val,

      Please check the following links:
      1. Day trip Shinjuku to Kamakura
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html

      2. Hakone to Kyoto
      You can take Shinkansen from Odawara.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-departure-arrival-stations/stations-in-tokai/nagoya-toyohashi/what-is-shinkansen-bullet-train.html

      3. Kyoto to Nara
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html

      4. Kyoto to Hiroshima
      Shinkansen as well.

      5. Hiroshima to Miyajima
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/local-lines/how-to-get-miyajima.html

      6. Miyajima to Okayama
      Local train to Hiroshima and Shinkansen

      7. Day trip Okayama to Nagashima
      I don’t understand Nagashima. Do you mean Naoshima? If so, see the link below:
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5476.html

      8. Okayama to Osaka
      Shinkansen

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you so much Takeshi. That is extremely helpful. You are right, I did mean Naoshima , sorry !
        Best wishes, Val

          1. Hi Takeshi. We had this conversation some weeks ago ”
            Please could you advise on best rail tickets to buy for the following trip in September & if a JR Pass, which day to activate them ?
            Couple 1 : 16-20 Sept Tokyo. Possible Trip to Kamakura.
            20-22 Sept Tokyo – Hakone
            22-27 Sept Hakone- Kyoto. Day trip to Nara. Day trip to Magome, Tsumago
            27-29 Sept Kyoto-Hiroshima
            29-30 Sept Hiroshima – Osaka Kansai Airport
            2nd Couple. same as 1st Couple until 29th Sept, then :
            29-Sept – 1st Oct Hiroshima – Miyajima
            1-4 Oct Miyajima-Okayama
            4-5 Oct Okayama – Osaka
            5 Oct Osaka – Kansai Airport”

            You replied :
            14 days JR pass is the choice.
            1st couple can use it from 17th to the end of the trip.
            2nd couple can use it from 21st to 4th until getting Osaka. 2nd couple need to add single fare for trip to Kamakura, Tokyo to Hakone and other deal for Osaka to KIX.

            If 2nd couple activate JR Pass on 21st which Station would they go to please , to do this ? Thank you, Val

      2. Hello Takeshi. Shinjuku to Hakone via Odawara to buy a Hakone Free Pass. I am not sure which train I need to take from Shinjuku to Odawara, do I have to use the Romance Car or is there another train please on the Odakyu line ? I can only see the Romance on the website. Thank you , Val

        1. Hi Val,

          You don’t need to take Romancecar. You can take ordinary train, such as “Express”. But there is no direct trains to Hakone-Yumoto. You have to change trains at Odawara.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I have the JR pass and will be taking the following route, I’d like to know if the JR pass will cover 3) below?

    1) Ikebukuro to Shinagawa: JR Yamanote Line = JR pass covered
    2) Shinagawa to Odawara: Shinkansen = JR pass covered
    3) Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto: Ltd. Express Hakone 5 = Does JR pass cover it?

    Thanks
    Bea

  10. Dear Takeshi-san,
    I will be arriving in Fuji Five Lakes by car and intend to drop off the car there. I will then spend 1 day @ Fuji Five Lakes and 1 day @ Hakone. After that, I intend to take the RomanceCar back to Shinjuku. Is it possible to recommend a Travel Pass for this? And if so, where do i purchase it from?

    1. Hi Mosey san,

      There is no deals to cover whole part of your trip. I think you should continue to drive in these areas. It’s much more convenient. You can use public transportation but I can recommend only one deal.

      Fujisan Fujigoko Passport at 2,550 yen for sightseeing in Fuji five lakes
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6905.html

      After you leave Fuji five lakes, you need to pay single fare one by one.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi-san,
        Thank you for your reply. in this case if i buy the romance car train one way from hakone to shinjuku, is there any point in booking the special observation seats ?

        Mosey

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