Written by Rose(GREATERTOKYO_Explorer)
Enjoy The Onsen Heaven Of Hakone At An Excellent Ryokan!
This two-day trip itinerary suggestion is ideal for those who wish to fully enjoy the bliss of Hakone's wonderful hot springs and nature. Travel in comfort from Shinjuku to Hakone and stay at the elegant Hotel Hatsuhana, famous for its excellent spas.
Hakone is among Japan's most popular travel destinations thanks to its alluring onsen (hot springs) and beautiful natural scenery. Easy to access from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station, it is a great destination for everyone who wishes to enjoy a relaxing trip.
In this article, we will introduce to you the most convenient way to reach Hakone, a fabulous ryokan (Japanese inn) to stay overnight at and enjoy Japanese-style relaxation, as well as suggestions on what to do in Hakone during the day.
From Shinjuku Straight to Hakone Yumoto! Odakyu Line's Romancecar
The Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar that departs from Shinjuku Station will be your best choice to travel directly to Hakone. Firstly, let’s visit the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center to get some useful travel tips.
Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center is a travel information center located near the entrance to Odakyu Department Store and the Odakyu Line ticket barrier at Shinjuku Station's West Exit.
If you wish to travel to destinations such as Hakone, Kamakura or Enoshima, you can ask here about the best travel deals and convenient tickets. Staff speaking English or Chinese are always present at the center, ready to give you the most insightful advice. Korean, Thai or Russian speaking staff members are also available on an irregular basis.
At this center, you can buy tickets and free passes for all the trains operated by Odakyu Railway. Ticket machines with English language display are also available. If you wish to make the most of a two day trip to Hakone and visit as many places as possible, then do consider purchasing the Hakone Freepass.
The Hakone Freepass can be purchased in its 2-day variant for 5,140 yen or 3-day variants for 5,640 yen. The pass covers a roundtrip on the Odakyu Line and unlimited rides on other means of transportation in Hakone, including the local buses, ropeway and even a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi! (*1)
*1... Please be aware that the Hakone Freepass cannot be used on the Limited Express Romancecar. A separate limited express fee will be required.
However, if you plan to relax at a ryokan, then a ticket on the Limited Express Romancecar will be the right choice for you. You can purchase it at the vending machine. Press the red button on the right side of the screen and select Hakone-Yumoto Station as your destination. You will have to purchase both the passenger ticket and the limited express ticket, the total price being 2280 yen (*This price will be valid from March 17th, 2018).
Your train will depart from platform No. 2, and your seat number is indicated on your ticket. The train will take you to Hakone-Yumoto Station in one and a half hours.
Once in Hakone, Use the Convenient Baggage Delivery Service!
Carrying a big bag around with you can be very tiring, not to mention that it might make it difficult to ride the local means of transportation. The Baggage Delivery Service available at Hakone-Yumoto Station is the answer to all the stress related to luggage.
The office for the Baggage Delivery Service is located near the elevator. With this service, your luggage will be transported directly to your hotel or ryokan in the Hakone area.
Luggage can be accepted from 8:30 – 12:30 at the office, with the limitation of 30 kg weight and 200 cm of total size. The fee range is between 800 yen - 1500 yen/item. However, you will get a 100 yen discount if you show your Hakone Freepass.
When you leave Hakone, if you don’t want to carry your luggage to the station, just leave it at the hotel counter (before 10:00) and ask for it to be delivered to the train station. You can pick it up later at the station between 13:30 and 19:00 on the same day. Please be advised that valuable or hazardous items, oversized baggage and items that unsuitable for handling will not be accepted.
Now that your hands are free, let’s explore Hakone! Right outside the station is a long street filled with traditional restaurants and souvenir shops.
You can choose to have a proper lunch at a restaurant, or buy some hot snack at the food stalls and enjoy it on the way.
Hotel Hatsuhana – A Wonderful Ryokan at the Foot of the Mountain
To the travelers who plan to stay overnight in Hakone, we warmly recommend Hotel Hatsuhana, an elegant accommodation facility that allows you enjoy the best of the Japanese hospitality and the blessing of hot springs.
To reach Hotel Hatsuhana, take the bus towards Motohakone-ko from platform No. 4 of the Hakone-Yumoto Station Bus Terminal and get off at the bus stop called Hotel Hatsuhana Mae.
Hotel Hatsuhana is one of Hakone's excellent hot spring ryokans. The elegant and relaxing atmosphere of this facility is a delicate mix of Japanese traditional aesthetics and modern elements.
The spacious, cozy lobby of Hotel Hatsuhana is decorated with countless cherry blossoms on the floor. These cherry blossoms are the main decorative motive found all around the facility.
You will be warmly welcomed by the professional and attentive staff of Hotel Hatsuhana, and while waiting for the check-in time at 15:00, do relax in the lobby and enjoy the welcome treats: a cup of hot yuzu (citrus junos) tea and a gently sweet walnut mochi (soft rice cake).
Guests can come anytime between 17:00 and 12:00 of the next day to enjoy free coffee and tea.
Elegant and Comfortable Guest Rooms
For your convenience, the hotel will let you decide when to have dinner and breakfast. After reserving the time when you wish to have your meal and getting your key at the reception counter, a staff member will show you to your room and give you a brief introduction of their facilities.
There are various types of guest rooms at Hotel Hatsuhana, each designed to satisfy the tastes of the guests. There are various types of rooms available. The Japanese rooms with a view over Sukumo Valley are a popular choice for those who wish to experience staying in an authentic Japanese space. These rooms are provided with traditional futon bedding. If you wish to sleep in a bed, you can choose a room floored with tatami mats and Western beds.
For those who wish to take their time and enjoy the onsen without worrying about the operating time of the hotel baths a room with a hot spring open-air bath would be a perfect choice.
Every room is provided with a tea set and yukatas for the guests. Do change your traveling clothes to the soft and comfortable yukata, and immerse yourself in the vibrant green of the scenery outside your window.
When putting on the yukata, just remember to put the left side of the yukata over the right one, and wear a yukata jacket when getting out of your room.
Japanese-style Relaxation - Hot Spring Baths with Forest View
Hotel Hatsuhana strives to provide customers with unforgettable moments of delight and enjoyment by offering hot spring baths along with sauna, jacuzzi, spas and relaxation rooms.
In addition to the spacious indoor baths with full-wall windows looking out to the magnificent landscape of Mount Yusaka, the outdoor baths will give you the pleasurable balance between hot water and cold breeze. Soaking in the onsen bath is an extremely relaxing experience. You'll feel all the fatigue going away from your body.
While enjoying your bath, you will be able to hear the birds chirping and the sound of the leaves in the wind. The ideal length of time of sitting in an onsen bath is up to 10 minutes This is all you need in order to get out refreshed and relaxed.
Women will feel especially pampered here at the spa named Yamazakura which is exclusive for ladies. This spa includes three separated open-air hot spring baths with different temperatures and a relaxation room where sweet fragrances linger in the air.
Picture courtesy of Hotel Hatsuhana
In one of the open-air hot spring baths, you can even lie down and rest your head on a cushion, level your gaze with the water surface and see the border between water and forest, between yourself and nature, melt away.
Some tips on hot spring bath etiquette: Please clean your body thoroughly before entering the bath, do not let your hair or towel touch the water, and don’t use the public bath if you have tattoos or any communicable diseases.
Gracefully Arranged Delicious Japanese Cuisine
Meals at Hatsuhana are prepared by professional chefs, using fresh and carefully selected seasonal ingredients. For dinner, a traditional kaiseki multi-course meal will be served. Appetizers are one-bite sized and artistically arranged on fine tableware. Each dish is a miniature artwork of flavor, colors, and composition.
The main dishes are just as refined and nutritious: hot pot, soup, rice with grilled fish. Finally, you will be given a choice of dessert from among various Japanese and western sweets, and a cup of green tea.
The breakfast consists of a set meal with typical Japanese dishes such as fried fish and rice, and homemade tofu. A specialty of Hatsuhana, this dish with its perfect warmth and smooth texture will get you ready for a new day.
Morning Activities at Hotel Hatsuhana
Before check-out at 12:00, take your time to enjoy a morning bath, breakfast and a cup of coffee in the lobby. Also, don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop within the facility and check out the famous crafts and specialties of Hakone such as Yosegi marquetry items and the delicious manju.
Every 30 minutes from 8:15 to 12:45, Hotel Hatsuhana offers a free shuttle bus service to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Enjoy the hospitality of the lobby while waiting for the driver to comes and announce the departure of the bus.
What to Do Next in Hakone?
Hakone’s beautiful nature and vibrant culture can satisfy the tastes of all kind of visitors - from those who seek pure relaxation to those who want to involve themselves in the most thrilling experiences. We would like to recommend two places you could stop by on the way back to Hakone-Yumoto Station.
With its red torii (shrine gate) outstandingly visible from the shore of Lake Ashi and the main shrine located high up on the mountain, Hakone Shrine is a must-visit destination once you are in Hakone.
Hop on the bus to Motohakone-ko and get off at the bus stop called "Hakone jinja iriguchi". If you still have time after visiting the shrine, do consider strolling along the shore. You may come to a spot where Mount Fuji is visible from, or you may even find one a restaurant with a wonderful view of the lake.
Manjuya Nanohana - Taste Delicious Treats!
Located right outside Hakone-Yumoto Station, Manjuya Nanohana is a sweet shop specialized in manju, a traditional Japanese confection made with flavored dough and sweet red bean paste.
Here you will find homemade hot manju steamed in the store and various other seasonal sweets. Their most popular products are the onsen manju and the manju called Tsuki no Usagi which are filled with chestnut paste. The manju are fresh, made in the workshop adjacent to the store.
Enjoy Your Time in Hakone!
Hakone is a truly exciting area offering so much to experience and discover. The route introduced in this article might be the perfect choice for travelers who seek a relaxing trip at a leisurely pace, enjoying the hospitality of an excellent Japanese inn and the blessings of Hakone's hot springs and beautiful nature.
Hakone Ryokan Route Summary
Shinjuku Station → Hakone Yumoto Station → Hotel Hatsuhana → Hakone Shrine → Manjuya Nanohana → Hakone Yumoto Station
Supported by Odakyu Electric Railway Co.,Ltd.