Hakone Freepass: A 3-Day Adventure Exploring Mt. Fuji
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Hakone Freepass: A 3-Day Adventure Exploring Mt. Fuji

If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo for a few days, surely the majestic Mt. Fuji is on your bucketlist. Look no further than Hakone, a picturesque town located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than two hours of a scenic train ride from Tokyo. This guide will explore the Hakone Freepass, whether its worth buying and how to maximize your time in Hakone.

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What is the Hakone Freepass?

One great way to explore Hakone is with the Hakone Freepass - a convenient ticket that covers transportation to, from, and all-around Hakone. Included here is your transportation from Shinjuku in Tokyo to Hakone, several cable cars and bus lines around Hakone, and a boat cruise through Lake Ashi valid for a 2 or 3-day pass.

Another great thing about Hakone Freepass is it gives you discounts to almost 70 facilities around Hakone. So before paying for the full entrance fee, mention that you have the pass.

Though you can do a day trip to explore Hakone and see Mt. Fuji, it would be best for you to stay for a few days and explore. We recommend having the 3-day pass to fully enjoy your time here.

A pirate ship sailing on Lake Ashi, with Mt. Fuji in the background, included in Hakone Freepass
Pirate ship cruise on Lake Ashi with Mt. Fuji in the background

Where to buy the Hakone Freepass?

For convenience, you can buy it online ahead of time. Note that you have to exchange your voucher for a physical ticket at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center (Shinjuku or Odawara).

You can also purchase your Hakone Freepass at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center. The pass comes in 2-day and 3-day options, with the latter being perfect for a comprehensive exploration of Hakone. The 3-day pass from Shinjuku is ¥6,500.

To level up your experience, you can upgrade to the Romancecar, a luxurious limited express train service for an additional ¥1,200. If you don't want to pay extra, your Hakone Freepass will still take you to Hakone for no extra cost from Shinjuku Station. This will only be about 30 minutes slower than Romancecar.

Protip: Consider the weather before deciding if you want to purchase the Romancecar as you don't want to pay the extra fee without a scenic ride. If you're short on time, the fee can still be worthwhile.

Start your 3-day adventure:

In this guide, we'll show you how to make the most of your 3-day adventure with the Hakone Freepass, departing from Shinjuku.

Train arriving at Gora Station, free access with Hakone Pass
Tozan Cable Car, Gora Station, Hakone

Day 1: Departure from Shinjuku to Hakone

Your journey begins at Shinjuku Station, one of Tokyo's major transportation hubs. Hop aboard the Odakyu Romancecar that will take you directly to Hakone-Yumoto Station in about 85 minutes, or take the Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Hakone for almost 115 mins. Enjoy the scenic ride as you pass through charming countryside landscapes and gradually leave the city behind.

After arriving by train, you'll likely want to make your way to Gora, the main town in Hakone. The Tozan train from Hakone-Yumoto Station will be your best transport option, as it takes you up the mountain with incredible views.

With the 3-day pass, Day 2 is your only full day and you would want to use that time to do the famous Hakone loop.

So for Day 1, we recommend visiting any of these spots which are not along the loop:

  • Hakone Open-Air Museum. A diverse collection of modern and contemporary sculptures in beautifully landscaped gardens. You can have a quiet time and wander through the art-filled grounds. Online tickets are Â¥1,800.
  • Hakone Gōra Park. Located at the the heart of Gora and close to the train station. Regular price is Â¥550 but it's 100% free with your Hakone Freepass. Gora Park is a great spot with a beautiful botanical garden. You can visit a tea room and participate in a traditional tea ceremony or join in the Hakone Craft House glass bead making and pottery.
Vase and chicken made of glass from Venetian Glass Museum, discounted entrance with Hakone Freepass
Venetian Glass Museum, Hakone
  • Hakone Venetian Glass Museum (Glass Forest). Japan's first art museum specializing in Venetian glass. We were surprised to see all the intricated pieces of art here. General admission is Â¥1,800, minus Â¥100 Hakone Freepass discount.
  • Choanji Temple. This is an ancient Buddhist temple with a cemetery & wooded gardens featuring more than 200 disciple statues. Free entry.
  • Sengokuhara Susuki Grass Fields. This is a picturesque area featuring rolling fields of pampas grass at the base of a mountain. Free entry for this quick 30-minute stop.
  • Pola Museum of Art. European & Japanese art in a serene modern underground museum that offers a forest trail. Tickets can be bought online for Â¥2,200.
The garden of the Venetian Glass Museum, Hakone, discounted entrance with Hakone Freepass
Venetian Glass Museum

Day 2: Hakone Sightseeing

As this will be your full day, it is best to explore the Hakone Loop on this day. Here's how to make the most of your day:

The boarding platform of Hakone Ropeway.
Hakone Ropeway
  • Tozan Cable Car. This will take you from Gora station to Owakudani Station, where you will now take the Hakone Ropeway. This is a scenic ride as you ascend to the mountains.
  • Hakone Ropeway. This can be confusing if you wanted to go to Lake Ashi as it is not one straight cable line. Note and remember that you have to disembark at Owakudani to take the Hakone Ropeway.
    • Owakudani. Before continuing on, disembark at Owakudani and explore this unique geothermal area known for its sulfurous hot springs, volcanic activity, and black eggs boiled in the naturally mineral-rich waters. Don't forget to try one of these famous eggs, said to add seven years to your life! Whenever you're ready, continue on the second leg of the ropeway to Togendai, and be on the lookout for a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in the distance.
Traveling over Owakudani hot springs on the Hakone Ropeway.
Owakudani Sulfur Vents
  • Lake Ashi Cruise. As mentioned earlier, you can take a boat cruise to cross Lake Ashi, and the best part, its a pirate ship! Cross Lake Ashi to Moto-Hakone or Hakone-Machi and admire the landscape around and, if the weather permits, catch a glimpse of iconic Mount Fuji.
  • Mishima Skywalk. Optionally, you can take a detour on the Tokai Bus to the longest suspension bridge in Japan, offering great views of Mt. Fuji. Discounted entrance is Â¥1,000.
Heiwa no Torii reflecting in Lake Ashi, famous shinto shrine gate in Hakone
Heiwa no Torii, Hakone
  • Hakone Shrine. Once you arrive at either Moto-Hakone or Hakone-Machi, take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Hakone Shrine. Set against the backdrop of towering cedar trees and the serene waters of Lake Ashi, this Shinto shrine is well visited for great photo opportunities.
  • Hakone Tozan Bus. Once your content with your views of the mountain, you can make your way back to Gora using the bus included in your Hakone Freepass.
A pirate ship sailing on Lake Ashi, with Mt. Fuji in the background.

Day 3: Onsen Relaxation and Return to Tokyo

After a day packed with sightseeing, why not treat yourself to some well-deserved relaxation in one of Hakone's renowned hot springs? Many ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) and public bathhouses offer day-use options, allowing you to soak in the therapeutic waters and unwind before your journey back to Tokyo.

Check out our favorite onsen, Hakone Yuryo, which even has a discount with your Hakone Freepass.

Another great option is Yumoto Onsen an open air bath and can be reached by foot from Hakone-Yumoto Station.

In the afternoon, board a train or bus back to Hakone-Yumoto Station, where you can catch the Odakyu Romancecar bound for Shinjuku. If you didn't purchase this add-on you'll have to then make your way back to Odawara station first. From Odawara, you can purchase a train to Tokyo, or further onwards to Nagoya, Kyoto and beyond.

Important Info about Hakone Freepass

More important information about the Hakone Freepass:

  • The Hakone Freepass can be bought online here or in person at Odakyu stations such as in Shinjuku. It can also be purchased from the vending machine at Odawara Station. Cash, Suica/Pasmo and credit cards accepted. Note that if your ticket is discounted, such as if you only need one-way transit between Shinjuku and Hakone, then you'll need to purchase it in person. For simplicity, you can also purchase your pass on Klook for the same price as buying it for cash in person.
  • Check out this useful Hakone Freepass map to help with your planning.
Woman admiring the view of Mt. Fuji from Hakone Park.
  • Hakone is over 20km away from Mt. Fuji. You will not be going right up to the mountain in this area, but you can still get some excellent views from Lake Ashi, Owakudani, and Mt. Taikanzan.
  • Be aware of the operating times of your various methods of transport. For example the ropeway and boat stop operation at 4pm many parts of the year.
  • The pass offers unlimited transport - in case you want to go through a second or third pirate ship ride. Just be aware waiting times during peak season can be quite lengthy.
  • The Hakone Freepass saved us each nearly Â¥2,000 on transit. Not only does it save money, but it's a lot easier to flash your card rather than pull out your wallet at every checkpoint.
  • Do not forget to mention your Hakone Freepass when paying for entrance fees. Many of the spots you visit will come with a discount for showing your card.

Where to Stay in Hakone?

So now that we've seen the best things to do in Hakone, let's now look at a place to stay. Most of the hotels in Hakone offer a public bath (onsen) and it is one of our favourite things we've done in Japan. Imagine soaking in a hot tub after a day of exploration - just perfect!

Here are our recommendations:

Emblem Flow Hakone. This hotel is located close to Gora Station. It has an onsite restaurant and access to public hot springs.

Hotel Green Plaza Hakone. This hotel is located close to Ubako Station, also with an onsite restaurant and a view of Mt. Fuji from the public hot spring.

Hakone Hotel - Located close to Lake Ashi, you can find rooms overlooking the water with the view of Mt. Fuji. They have an onsite restaurant and a public hot spring as well.

Guesthouse Azito - Located close to Hakone-Yumoto station, this is a budget-friendly option, and offers dormitory-type stays and traditional Japanese-style rooms. There is no public hot spring onsite but several nearby onsen are in the area.

Final Takeaways

With its stunning natural landscapes, cultural attractions, and relaxing hot springs, Hakone offers a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. And with the Hakone Freepass in hand, exploring this idyllic destination is not only convenient but also cost-effective. So pack your bags, grab your pass, and embark on a memorable 3-day journey through the scenic wonders of Hakone, Japan.

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