Last Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Two Days in Hakone

History, Nature, Hot Springs & More

Donny Kimball
19 min readSep 8, 2017

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Mount Fuji as seen from the shore’s of Hakone’s Lake Ashi in Kanagawa Prefecture

Welcome back to another one of my area guides where I detail all the things you need to know for a successful, hassle free trip! This time, we’ll be looking at the charming Hakone area in the western reaches of Kanagawa Prefecture. Hakone is a popular weekend destination for many Japanese. One of the best things about the region is that it easily appeals to all visitors. Be it from history, nature, hot springs, pirate ships, and even an anime pilgrimage, Hakone has it all!

If you’ve never heard of Hakone before know that it is nestled high in the mountains about two hours west of Tokyo. Most of the area is centered around Lake Ashi and within the borders of the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. The region is rich in both natural beauty and ancient history. In fact, during the Edo period (1603–1868), Hakone was consider the “entry point” into the Tokyo area. Those traveling from Kyoto on the Tokaido highway knew only a few more days remained before reaching the capital.

Hakone’s mountainous terrain can make it a navigational challenge and especially so for the buses. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth visiting. To help make sense of it all, I’ve put together a one-and-a-half to two-day itinerary that you can follow. While it’s possible to explore Hakone in a day trip, you’ll get a lot more out of overnighting here. Besides, who wants to wake up at the crack of dawn just to rush from attraction to attraction! Budget time for the stay and find yourself a classic ryokan with a hot spring.

Before continuing though, a quick word of advice. This area guide is going to be VERY LONG so grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and get ready to do some serious reading. I’ll be outlining all the information you need to get the most out of a trip to Hakone while avoiding several common pitfalls.

Buy the Hakone Free Pass

An overhead map of where to find the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Shinjuku Station

There are many ways to get yourself to Hakone but before discussing that, let’s first talk about the Hakone Free Pass. These passes are sold…

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Donny Kimball

I'm a travel writer and freelance digital marketer who blogs about the sides of Japan that you can't find in the mainstream media. https://donnykimball.com/