Hakone Get Away | Motivist Japan
Last weekend, we took a daytrip to Hakone to explore the area.
Going to Hakone is very affordable and easy. It is one of the recommended places if you want a quick get away from the busy life of Tokyo. We set a budget of 15,000 yen per person to see how much we can stretch this budget for the whole day.
First, we need to buy the Odakyu Hakone Pass. You can buy this by going out in Shinjuku West Gate and going to up to second floor where you will find the Odakyu Sightseeing Center. Odakyu Sightseeing Center offers different pass that you can buy at a cheap price which includes unlimited bus rides, cable car fares, ropeway as well as boat rides. For this trip, we bought the Hakone Free Pass which costs 5,700 yen per adult. The pass is valid for 2 days so if you want to stay in a ryokan or hotel, to fully explore the area, then this is a great buy for you.
The free pass does not include the romance car train (faster way to arrive in Hakone). You can add 1,100 yen to upgrade to romance car train. We decided to upgrade so we can arrive early and avoid the crowd. Yes, it is still crowded though Japan is not yet open for tourists, the government is subsidizing the travels within Japan and it can save you at least 50% of the total cost of your hotel and fare. Please do not lose your free pass card as this will be your train and entrance pass in Hakone.
We left Tokyo around 8:20 and arrived in Hakone at 9:46. We decided to go which is the farthest area so by the time we finish, we will be near the main station.
First stop, the ropeway. From Hakone-Yumoto station to Gora station took us about 44 minutes. We still need to take the cable car to go up to the ropeway area which took us another 20 minutes. Good thing ropeway lines were not jampacked as it used to be and next thing we know, we were 100 ft above the ground. It was a very sunny day and Fujisan decided to show up. It was a great experience overall. Total of 8-minute ride to Owakudani station which is famous for the kurotamago or black egg.
This is also the place where you can see up-close the smokes coming out of the dormant volcano. There are posters in the area that says that the place is not advisable for those who has lung issues. Actually upon arrival, place smelled like rotten eggs which is the scent of sulfur mist being emitted by the dormant volcano.
ARRIVING IN OWAKUDANI
At this point, we were hungry and ready to eat lunch. Since there’s only one proper restaurant in the area it took us 15 minutes to have our seat ready. For lunch, I decided to have tonkatsu as I needed more energy to burn for the rest of the day. I paid 1,500 yen for the meal. It is quite expensive compared to normal tonkatsu price in Tokyo but then again, there’s no other restaurant in the area. After our lunch, we went to the Omiyage shop to check out the famous black egg that said to add 7 years to your life. We wanted to try what the fuss is all about. By the way you cannot buy 1 piece of egg, you need to buy 5 pieces at minimum. This costs 500 yen.
Overall, the egg tasted the same. It is a normal boiled egg with a black shell. However, it is still fun to try. It will not hurt knowing you will have additional 7 years of life.
NEXT STOP SIGHTSEEING CRUISE IN LAKE ASHINOKO
We headed back to ropeway and back to cable car to go to Kowakidani and took a bus that will bring us to the cruise. The bus trip took us 20 minutes. We were 2 stations past the correct station, so we had to walk around 7 minutes back to the correct station. We arrived around 2:40 and the last cruise will depart at 3:10 pm. Good thing we made it in time. Unfortunately, we can no longer line up to the famous inari shrine, but we were able to see it while on cruise, so it was fine. During the whole cruise, Mt. Fuji was visible while the sun shines brightly. It was a perfect weather. Not too cold and not too hot.
After our cruise trip, we rested for a bit in the Evangelion corner shop. Hakone is the location of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime and you will likely see the anime characters inside or outside the shop.
Since I had a heavy lunch, I settled for the matcha/vanilla soft serve ice cream for 380 yen. You can never go wrong with matcha soft serves in Japan.
After a quick rest, we decided to go to Odawara castle. To go back, we needed to take the ropeway back and cable car to the local station. By the time we reached the ropeway line, the crowd was huge. It was around 4:40 so the shops were starting to close, and everyone is headed home. It took us around 20 minutes to finally ride the ropeway back to the cable car. From Gora station to Odawara station, it will take us 1 hour and by the time we arrived it will be closed to visitors. Unfortunately, we need to cancel this plan and just decided to go back to Hakone-Yumoto and explore the area instead.
Hey it's Autumn by the way.
Hakone is a reminiscent of the old Japan. It acted as a final checkpoint for people who wanted to visit the Edo area which is now known as Tokyo. It boasts 17 hot spring sources, ryokans included. The best way to enjoy Hakone is to stay in one of this ryokan and experience bathing in onsen. It was almost 7PM and most of the tourist attractions are probably closed so off we go to Tokyo. We needed to buy the romance car ticket again since this is not included in the free pass. We paid additional 1,100 yen for the ticket to go back to Tokyo. Do not toss your free pass ticket yet as you still need it until you arrive in Tokyo. If you lose the ticket, you will need to pay 2,330 yen.
By 8:30PM we are back in Tokyo. That was a fun 12-hour trip. Definitely worth of the quick getaway. We decided to buy “ekiben” and eat inside the train. It costed me 1.000 yen and a 150 yen bottled drink.
Free pass: 5,700
Romance car x 2: 2,200
Black egg: 500
Soft serve: 380
Total cost: 11,430 yen
I brought a bottled water with me, so I was hydrated the whole time except when it was time to go back since my bottle was almost empty at this point.
11,430 yen is below our budget. This trip is surely worth the money and time. If ever you come to Japan and you want to just have a quick break from school, definitely recommended that you visit Hakone.