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Hakone: 6 Major Areas, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

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This brief area guide of Hakone features the best places to visit in Hakone's six major areas: Hakone Yumoto, Gora, Miyanoshita, Sengokuhara, Lake Ashi, and Owakudani, along with information on how to access Hakone from Tokyo and the cost-efficient Hakone Freepass.

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Hakone: Enjoy Hot Springs, Art, and Nature

Hakone is a hot spring town in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture, just two hours by train from Tokyo.

After prospering as a stop on the historical Tokaido road connecting Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Kyoto, Hakone is now a popular travel destination offering magnificent natural scenery and excellent art museums.

Read on to learn about the six main areas in Hakone and the best places to visit in each of them, as well as tips on how to travel to and around Hakone.

The 6 Major Areas in Hakone

1. Hakone Yumoto
2. Miyanoshita
3. Gora
4. Sengokuhara
5. Sounzan and Owakudani
6. Lake Ashi and Moto-Hakone
How to Travel to and around Hakone

If you travel to Hakone from Tokyo, use the cost-efficient Hakone Freepass, a convenient ticket that includes transportation to and within Hakone, as well as rides on the Lake Ashi cruise and Hakone Ropeway.

The Hakone Freepass can also be purchased online through *EMot Online Tickets. (*This service can only be used with smartphones.)

Book the Hakone Freepass

1. Hakone Yumoto: The Gateway to Hakone

Hakone Area Guide: Must-See Places, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

Hakone Yumoto is where the trains from Tokyo arrive and it is considered to be the gateway to Hakone. There are many places to explore here, including souvenir shops and old historical buildings.

Hakone Area Guide: Must-See Places, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta
Hakone Yumoto is also where most of the local hot springs are located. There are over 40 hot spring inns around the area. Day-use hot springs and footbaths are also available.

Book a Spa and Onsen Experience at Yumoto Fujiya Hotel

2. Miyanoshita: At the Intersection of Japanese and Western Styles

Hakone Area Guide: Must-See Places, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Fujiya Hotel. Photo by Pixta

Miyanoshita has been a popular hot spring resort since ancient times. It is home to Fujiya Hotel, a high-end ryokan (traditional inn), and numerous antique shops that add to the historical ambiance of the area.

The mix of Japanese and Western-style architecture that can be seen here is truly impressive.

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3. Gora: Home to Hakone Open-Air Museum and Gora Park

Hakone Area Guide: Must-See Places, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Gora is an area situated 700 meters above sea level. Formerly a town with villas, this area continues to attract many visitors with its pleasant streetscape and natural settings.

Hakone Area Guide: Must-See Places, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Many of Hakone's iconic spots are located in Gora. These include the Hakone Open-Air Museum where you can enjoy art installed outdoors, or Gora Park, which has been gathering attention lately for its handicraft workshops.

The Hakone Museum of Art, the longest-standing art museum in Hakone, established in 1952, is also located here, making Gora one of the main sightseeing areas in Hakone.

Book tickets for the Hakone Museum of Art

4. The Sengokuhara Highland Resort

The Little Prince Museum

Sengokuhara is 20 minutes away from Gora Station by bus. Major attractions in this area include the Hakone Glass Venetian Glass Museum, the Pola Museum of Art, and Choanji Temple, which is particularly famous for its fall foliage.


The Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field, which glistens like gold in autumn, is also a famous place in the area. Many visitors agree that fall is the best season to visit Sengokuhara.

Book tickets for the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

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5. Sounzan and Owakudani: Stunning View from the Ropeway

Hakone Ropeway

From the windows of the Hakone Ropeway, which starts from Sounzan, you can enjoy the magnificent natural views of Hakone. You can even see Mt. Fuji on a clear day!

At Owakudani, you can get a closer look at an impressive active volcano. this area can be easily reached by the Hakone Ropeway.

6. Lake Ashi and Moto-Hakone: A Dazzling Lake and Hakone Shrine

Mt. Fuji and Hakone Pirate Ship

Lake Ashi was created by a volcanic eruption about 3,000 years ago.

A cruise boat shaped like a pirate ship operates between Togendai and Moto-Hakone Port, offering travelers stunning mountain views of Hakone from the lake.

Hakone Shrine

Hakone Shrine is located in Moto-Hakone. It is best known for the red torii gate by the lake. If you are visiting Lake Ashi, why not stop by Moto-Hakone as well?

Book the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise Ticket
*If you're using the Hakone Freepass, the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise is covered by the pass.

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How to Travel to and around Hakone

There are many ways to access and travel around Hakone, such as the Odakyu Romance Car, Hakone Tozan Railways, Hakone Cable Car, Hakone Ropeway, and the Hakone Tozan Bus.

Here are some tips for each type of transportation.

From Tokyo to Hakone: Take the Odakyu Romance Car from Shinjuku Station

Hakone Area Guide: Must-See Places, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

If you depart from Tokyo, take the limited express train Odakyu Romance Car. It goes directly to Hakone-Yumoto Station from Shinjuku Station. The fare costs 2,470 yen and the ride takes about 80 minutes.

Please note that if you're using the Hakone Freepass, you'll need an additional separate seat ticket in order to ride the Romance Car.

Access Gora via the Hakone Tozan Railway

From Hakone-Yumoto Station, take the Hakone Tozan line to access the Gora area. Hakone Tozan Railway is a switchback railroad, which means the train goes up the steep slope in a zigzag manner.

Hakone: 6 Major Areas, Scenic Views, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

One of the highlights of riding this train is the scenery that changes seasonally. The fare costs 460 yen, and it takes 40 minutes to travel from Hakone-Yumoto Station to Gora Station.

Head up the Mountain via the Hakone Tozan Cable Car

The Hakone Tozan Cable Car connects Gora Station and Sounzan Station. The mountain tram slowly climbs up the 200-meter slope in vertical intervals. You can walk up the slope, but boarding the railway is a hands-down easier option.

The one-way fare is 430 yen, and it takes 11 minutes to travel from Gora to Sounzan Station.

Enjoy a Bird’s-Eye View with Hakone Ropeway

The Hakone Ropeway connects Sounzan Station and Togendai Station. From the window, you can see stunning views of both Hakone and Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan.

The fare is 1,550 yen, and it takes 51 minutes to travel from Sounzan to Togendai Station.

Take Advantage of the Hakone Free Pass or a Rental Car

The Hakone Freepass is a convenient discount transit pass for visitors who wish to explore Hakone.

Hakone Freepass gives you access to almost all of the public transportation available in Hakone. The shortest pass is valid for two days (adults 6,100 yen, children 1,100 yen) and is available for purchase at stations along the Odakyu Line.

For more details, visit the Hakone Navi Official Website (English and Simplified Chinese).

Book the Hakone Freepass

Enjoy Exploring Hakone

Hakone is directly connected to Tokyo's Shinjuku Station, making it easily accessible from anywhere in Tokyo and Kanagawa. It is a popular destination where nature and history exist in harmony. Please make a point of visiting this famous historic town and experience its charms for yourself.

Book the Hakone Freepass

Main image by Pixta

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横浜に育ち、古都鎌倉の高校に通い、大学は超都会の渋谷、イギリスのロンドン留学時はなぜか日本食のイベントを立ち上げて料理人、現在はライターをしている未熟者です。 ブログ:一期一会

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