Let's go, Hakone! vol.1 Hydrangea, Trains, and Onsen



Let's go, Hakone! vol.1
Hydrangea, Trains, and Onsen



If you were thinking of taking a trip to Hakone, a town located in Kanagawa Prefecture, mid-June is definitely the time. Not only can you take in the gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji from a "pirate ship" cruise, soak in the area's famous onsen, and explore the mountains via funicular train, but you'll also get to see stunning hydrangea! Check out the sights in store for your summer trip with Iki of the DiGJAPAN! editorial staff!

Your Hakone adventure begins at Hakone-Yumoto Station

It's about an 85 minute ride in the Odakyu "Romancecar" from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station, the gateway to the area. Right outside of this station is the Eki-mae Shotengai, an outdoor shopping arcade filled with stores selling delicious snacks. This place gets really crowded around lunch time, so getting there in time to enjoy an early lunch / brunch is ideal.


Outside of Hakone-Yumoto Station.


Enjoy the local treats of Hakone!

Shopping arcade outside of Hakaone-Yumoto Station

The store Kikukawa Shoten sells Castella Yaki Hakone Manju, a local specialty of Hakone. (70 yen each.)

Freshly made manju Kikukawa Shoten

You can watch the manju being made at the front of the store.

Freshly made manju with the hiragana for Hakone and onsen mark

The sweet manju filled with shiro-an (sweet white bean paste) are branded with the hiragana characters for Hakone and the symbol for onsen.
Enjoy the aroma of freshly roasted senbei

Hand roasted senbei at Teyakido Hakone-Yumoto Honten

The smell of freshly roasted senbei means you're close to Teyakido Hakone-Yumoto Honten.

Heart-shaped senbei rice cracker

These senbei are hand-roasted one-by-one over coals. They even have heart-shaped ones!

Buying a freshly roasted senbei

What's more, they also have big size senbei! The heart-shaped senbei comes in two flavors. Iki decided to go with the nori-maki (laver-wrapped) senbei.

Store Information
Kikukawa Shoten
Hours: 8:00am~7:00pm
Closed Thursdays unless a national holiday
Address: 706 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
Access: 2 min walk from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Railway)

Teyakido Hakone-Yumoto Honten
Hours: 9:30am~6:00pm
Irregular closings
Address: 704-7 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
Access: 2 min walk from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Railway)


Next: a ride on the Hakone Tozan Railway

One of the best ways to see the majestic mountains that surround Hakone is to take a ride on the Hakone Tozan Railway. This funicular car makes round trips between Hakone-Yumoto Station and Gora Station. If you go between mid-June and mid-July, there are tons of hydrangea blooming along the tracks.


Hakone Tozan Railway Hakone-Yumoto Station photo

If you ask one of the station attendants, they can let you borrow the cap and jacket of a train conductor so you can take a fun picture. (Only available at Hakone-Yumoto Station and Gora Station.)


Hydrangea blooming along the Hakone Tozan Railway

Between mid-June and mid-July, this train goes by the nickname of the hydrangea train. These lovely plants bloom so vigorously that their petals almost touch the windows of the train! The most spectacular of all the flowers are said to bloom around Ohiradai Station.


Looking at the scenery from the train windows on the Hakone Tozan Railway

You can enjoy the fantastic scenery from the spacious box-style seats.

Hakone Tozan Railway
Train Frequency: 3~4 departures per hour during the day
Hours of Operation
Departures from Hakone-Yumoto Sta. bound for Gora Sta.: first train 5:50am; last train 11:09pm
Departures from Gora Sta. bound for Hakone-Yumoto Sta.: 5:23am; last train 10:41pm
※ Information as of May 2016

Enjoy the work of master artists

After about 35 minutes on the train, you'll get off at Chokoku-no-Mori Station. From there, you'll head to the Chokoku-no-Mori Bijutsukan or Hakone Open-Air Museum as it's called in English. The lush garden of this open-air museum is filled with some 120 pieces that you're free to examine from up close. Then there are five indoor exhibits such as the Picasso Pavilion which houses a rotating selection of 319 pieces by Picasso. Once you've had your fill of walking through the garden, you can refresh your feet in the footbath or relax in the café.


Hakone Open-Air Museum

Made of stained glass and steel, entering the 18 meter tall tower called "Symphonic Sculpture" by Gabriel Loire is like stepping into another world.


he footbath outside of the Hakone Open-Air Museum of Art

The footbath outside of the museum has cheerful lemons and oranges floating in the water. The bath is deep enough so that you can even give your calves a soak in the hot water.

The Hakone Open-Air Museum(Chokoku-no-Mori Bijutsukan)
Hours: 9:00am~5:00pm
Entrance Fee
Adults: 1,600 yen
College / High school students: 1,200 yen
Jr. High / Elementary school students: 800 yen
Address: 1121 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
Access: 1 min walk from Chokoku-no-Mori Station (Hakone Tozan Railway)

Time for a healthy, delicious lunch

After having immersed yourself in the world of art, head to Tamura Ginkatsu Tei located next to Gora Sta. If you’re looking for a healthy lunch option, we recommend the tofu katsu ni gozen (豆腐かつ煮御膳) set. The star of this set is the fried cutlet (katsu) made from a combination of ground meat and tofu.


Tofu Katsu Ni Gozen set meal at Tamura Ginkatsu Tei

The set meal comes with rice, miso soup, and dessert.

Tamura Ginkatsu Tei
Hours: 11:00am~2:30pm L.O., 5:30pm~7:30pm L.O. (Hours change seasonally)
Closed Tuesdays nights and Wednesdays
Address: 1300-739 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
Access: 3 min walk from Gora Station (Hakone Tozan Railway)

Relax at this old private residence turned café!

Spend a little time unwinding after lunch at NARAYA CAFE. The building in which NARAYA is located is a renovated private residence that is some fifty-years-old. In addition to the café space, they also have a gallery where they display pictures and photographs as well as a store where they sell wooden toys.

The footbath at NARAYA CAFÉ

If you want, you can enjoy your coffee and sweets as you soak your feet in their foot bath!

The interior of NARAYA CAFE

You can also talk with the owner about Hakone for some interesting information about the area.


(top left) The rich, creamy NARAYA Parfait is a delicious combination of vanilla soft serve, shiratama dumplings, and anko (sweet red bean paste) (500 yen).
(down center) If you're looking for something with a little more crunch, try the NARAYA no yakigashi bon drink set. You'll get an assortment of cheese, salt and pepper, and black sesame seed flavored biscuits along with a cup of coffee, tea, or a soft drink (780 yen).


Terrace seeting at NARAYA CAFE

From the terrace seating, you can enjoy sakura in the spring, colorful leaves in the fall, and the gorgeous greens of summer covering the sprawling mountains before you.

Hours: 10:30am~6:00pm (Dec. thru Feb., 10:30am~5:00pm)
Closed Wednesdays, every fourth Thursday, and from mid-Jan. to late-Feb.
Address: 404-13 Miyanoshita, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
Access: 1 min walk from Miyanoshita Station (Hakone Tozan Railway)

Settle into your ryokan after a day of fun

Once you've drained the last of your drink, it's time to head to your ryokan, Hotel Okada. There are five natural hot springs that flow into the onsen at this ryokan, which has 13 different baths for you to enjoy. Hotel Okada also offers various esthetic treatments should you fancy a bit of pampering. The meals here are also fantastic. There is an extensive buffet that features dishes made with fresh ingredients. There's also a ramen area should you start craving some noodles.

A room with a private open-air rotenburo baths at Hotel Okada

There are also rooms that have their own private open-air baths, which are called rotenburo in Japanese.※ Options may vary based on your stay plan

Choose from a selection of yukata

You can choose from that day's selection of yukata to wear around the ryokan.

Buffet with 30 different options

From tempura to teppan yaki, there are about 30 delicious options waiting for you to enjoy at the dinner buffet.

Click here to read more about Hotel Okada

Hotel Okada
Address: 191 Yumotochaya, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Access: Take the "A Route" Yumoto Onsenkyo
Kyodo bus bound for Takidori to the hotel

Kuro Tamago, the famous black eggs from Owakudani

Owakudani's famous black eggs!
These eggs are boiled in the natural Sulphur hot springs from Owakudani, and the process turns the shells black! They are an extremely popular Hakone delicacy and something we really recommend you try during your trip here.

Owakudani Kurotamagokan | 大涌谷くろたまご館
Address: 1251 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken
Hours: 8:30am~5:00pm
*Black eggs are available to purchase from 11:00am
Open all year (closes for inspection two days in January)
Access: from Gora Station on the Hakone Tozan Line, take the Hakone Tozan Cable Car until the last stop (9 min.). Change to the Hakone Ropeway and get off at Owakudani Station (8 min.).
Website (Japanese-only):

There's still much more to see!

From fine art to delicious food, we covered a lot of ground in Hakone with Iki using the Hakone Tozan Railway. But there's still so much more to see and do in this awesome area. Join Iki on her second day of adventuring as she gets a glimpse of Mt. Fuji during a "pirate ship" cruise, visits a "power spot," and meets some adorable seals!

Let's go, Hakone! vol.2 Power Spots, Pirate Ships, and Mt. Fuji

Transportation to and within Hakone

■Destinations visited in this article

■Access information from Tokyo to Hakone

Access information map from Tokyo to Hakone

The Odakyu "Romancecar" is a convenient way to get all the way from Shinjuku Station to Hakaone-Yumoto Station without any transfers. If you're looking to get to Hakone-Yumoto Station quickly, then taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station is a good idea. It'll get you there in about 50 minutes!
Access information from Hakone-Yumoto Station

Access information from Hakone-Yumoto Station

■ Hakone Free Pass
This pass will make all the difference during your trip to Hakone. With this ticket, you have unlimited rides on eight different kinds of public transportation options within the Hakone area including the Hakone Tozan Railway. This ticket also includes a round trip on the Odakyu Line from your starting station to Odawara Station.

Pass includes access to the following: Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Tozan Bus (within designated area), Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, Hakone Ropeway, etc.

Cost when buying at Shinjuku Station:
2-Day Pass: Adults 5,140 yen | Children 1,500 yen
3-Day Pass: Adults 5,640 yen | Children 1,750 yen

Cost when buying at Odawara, Hakone-Yumoto, Yugawara Stations and etc.:

2-Day Pass: Adults 4,000 yen | Children 1,000 yen
3-Day Pass: Adults 4,500 yen | Children 1,250 yen

Fuji Hakone Pass
Available for foreign tourists only, the Fuji Hakone Pass gives you access to both the Fuji and Hakone areas with just one convenient ticket. You can choose either Shinjuku Station or Odawara Station as your place of departure.

Points of purchase: Shinjuku and Odawara Stations

Ticket includes access to the following: Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Tozan Bus (within designated area), Hakone Tozan Cable Car, Hakone Ropeway, Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus (within designated area), Hakone Tourist Attraction Sightseeing Bus, Tokai Bus Orange Shuttle (within designated area), Fujikyuko Line (within designated area), Fujikyu Bus (within designated area)

※Tickets with Shinjuku departures also include one-time, one-way access to the Odakyu line (use of the Limited Express "Romancecar" will cost an additional 890 yen) and the Chuo Highway Bus (within designated area) while ticket is valid.

Ticket validity: 3 Days

Shinjuku Station departure: Adults 8,000 yen | Children 4,000 yen
Odawara Station depature: Adults 5,650 yen | Children 2,820 yen



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