Translated by Allie
Hakone Tozan Line - Climb The Mountain By Train And Enjoy The Scenery!
Written by Jumpei Kawashima
Hakone Tozan Railway is a unique mountain railway going up Mt. Hakone on its steep slopes. It offers amazing scenery every season. This article introduces the charms along the exciting Hakone Tozan Line.
If you are planning to travel to Hakone, you should know that there are various ways to explore this area. The one we warmly recommend is taking the Hakone Tozan Line. It is a mountain railway that goes up steep slopes.
We will introduce the wonderful scenery one can see on the Hakone Tozan Line and how to reach it from Tokyo.
Climbing the Mountain while Enjoying the Scenery
Hakone Tozan Line runs from Odawara Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station and further down to Gōra Station. The ride takes you through beautiful natural surroundings.
Mt. Hakone is a pretty steep mountain. The train climbs steep gradients, and sometimes there is a height difference of three meters between the first and the last car of the train. They use a switchback system to zigzag up steep slopes like in the picture above.
Superb Scenery Changing Every Season
Hakone Tozan Line goes through the forest and each season offers a stunning scenery.
In the season of cherry blossoms, you can get to experience spring here on Mt. Hakone. The sakura trees bloom along the mountain trail creating a magnificent view.
If you visit here in June, you will see beautiful hydrangeas. The train runs really so close to the flowers, so close that you will feel you can touch them! The lush greenery of the summer is really refreshing.
Hakone is also famous as a place to see wonderful fall foliage, for example from the Hayakawa Bridge which is on Hakone Tozan Line. The colors of the fall spread out across the mountain once the autumn arrives.
The train stops on the bridge for about 10 seconds to let you see the breathtaking view during fall foliage season. Hayakawa Bridge is located between Tōnosawa Station and Ōhiradai Station.
It snows in the winter in Hakone. So you will get to ride on a train on a mountain covered with snow, which sounds really amazing, doesn't it?
How to Reach the Hakone Tozan Line from Tokyo
If you want to take the Hakone Tozan Railway from Tokyo, you need to change the train at either Odawara Station or Hakone-Yumoto Station. We will explain how to travel from Tokyo to the Hakone Open-Air Museum as an example.
1. Change to the Hakone Tozan Line at Odawara Station
Odawara Station serves two lines: the JR Tōkaidō Main Line and the Odakyū Odawara Line. If you are around Tokyo station, you should take the JR Tōkaidō Main Line. However, if you are around Shinjuku station, you should take the Odakyū Odawara Line, to avoid changing trains to get to Odawara station.
If you travel to Odawara Station by JR Tōkaidō Main Line, you will need to go to the left when you get out from the ticket gate of JR Tōkaidō Line. Then you will see the ticket gate of the Hakone Tozan Railway on your right. Hakone Tozan Line leaves from platform 11.
Platform 11 is located in the front edge of the Odakyū Odawara Line platform. So it is really convenient to hop on the Hakone Tozan Line if you use the Odakyū Odawara Line.
You can recognize the trains of Hakone Tozan Railway's on their color, which is red as you can see it in a picture above. This train will take you to Hakone Yumoto Station.
2. How to Change Trains Towards Gōra Station at Hakone Yumoto Station
When you get off the train at Hakone Yumoto Station, you should take a train towards Gōra Station which leaves from platform 3. Hakone Tozan Line has five trains - some of them are more than 60 years old, but others have the latest design. The one we took this time was the second oldest train.
We really enjoyed the steep slopes and superb view!
Getting off at Chōkoku-no-mori Station
When you go out from Chōkoku-no-mori Station, please go left. You will reach the Hakone Open-Air Museum in about two minutes on foot. By the way, the ride from Odawara station to Chōkoku-no-mori Station costs 670 yen.
Hakone Tozan Line will let you experience wonderful nature and stunning views throughout the year. If you take the trains on this line, you can visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum as well. It is really worth checking it out! You will be amazed at the breathtaking views along the Hakone Tozan Line!