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Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

Denver, CO
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869 posts
72 reviews
Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

So I'm most likely going to be getting a Hakone Pass card for the 2 days (though probably will only use it for one day, but possibly could go back).

I will be staying in Shinjuku so do I buy the pass at the station at the automated kiosks or is there somewhere else I need to purchase it at?

Now what would be the most direct and easiest way to get to Owakudani? From my research it seems there is a lot of changes and such.

Shinjuku --> Hakone-Yuoto via the Romancercar

Hakone-Yumoto --> Gora via the Hakone Tozan Train

Gora --> Sounzan via Hakone Cable Car

Sounzan --> Owakudani via the Hakone Ropeway

How long would it take then to get to Owakudani one way?

Also this trip will be solely dependent on the weather as well and I know you need to reserve the Romancercar it seems in advance (how does one do this when getting the Hakone Free Pass card?), can I do it the day before or would I need to do it several days in advance?

Just trying to simplify this trip and get the most out of a full day trip here...

13 replies to this topic
Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
6,587 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

I don't know if you need to reserve the Romancecar a day or more ahead or not, but the travel time from Shinjuku to the ropeway is about 155 minutes. From there it's about 8 minutes, with cars about once a minute (don't worry about the many modes of transportation--that's half the fun!).

You can buy the pass at ticket machines, but you might want to get it at the Odakyu Service Center so you can ask about Romancecar reservations. http://www.odakyu.jp/english/center/

Edited: 13 February 2018, 06:37
Denver, CO
Level Contributor
869 posts
72 reviews
2. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

Thanks for the info. And yeah looking a lot closer it seems it's not that back to get to Owakudani considering two are more like cable cars and not actual inter city trains which could get confusing. I was thinking of taking the boat as well, but with only one day that would be pushing it I think and I had better just probably stick to doing Owakudani and maybe the north part of Lake Ashi and whatever else is around there or even in Gora or Hakone-Yumoto areas.

I will also get them at the desk to reserve my Romancecar then considering the website is down for maintenance, plus I will need to check closer to the date for the weather as well...

Edited: 14 February 2018, 01:09
Tokyo and California
Destination Expert
for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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28,406 posts
69 reviews
3. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

>>I was thinking of taking the boat as well, but with only one day that would be pushing it I think and I had better just probably stick to doing Owakudani and maybe the north part of Lake Ashi and whatever else is around there or even in Gora or Hakone-Yumoto areas.<<

It's not pushing it at all. Hakone is a very popular day trip destination among Tokyo residents as well and the vast majority of us complete the loop, including the Lake Ashi Cruise, with rushing. If you start before 10am, you'll be able to complete the loop.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
869 posts
72 reviews
4. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

Good to know, I was thinking that maybe this trip would be too much for a day considering it's almost a 3 hour trip just to Owakudani. That's just 6 hours of transit times which seems a lot for a day and then having to see everything doesn't seem like I would have much time actually there looking at things in the region at all.

I was thinking maybe this is a trip better suited to stay over night and take advantage of the full 48 hours pass since I'd be paying for the whole thing anyways and doing this on another trip if I go back to Japan in the future?

Not sure how early I could go though, would have to find the time tables, but I guess if I left really early in the morning and get there before 9am I could do the whole thing and then get back later in the evening then possibly?

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
6,587 posts
27 reviews
5. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

It's been decades since I did it but it was an enjoyable day--just don't dawdle until the last bus back to Hakone-Yumoto (nice ladies arranged for a shopkeeper to drive us to the station)! Don't think of the section from Hakone-Yumoto on as travel time--It really is sightseeing, enjoying the various modes of transportation. Just follow the crowds from one mode to the next.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
869 posts
72 reviews
6. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

Ok I'll consider it then and will depend of course on the weather. I just have 6 days and I do have a few other plans (hiking mainly) outside of the city, so I do want to spend time in town as well and don't want to push too many out of town things. But if it's easily doable in a day without rushing things, then I'll keep it open and will then just see how the weather is that week to see if I can do any of the trips without rain (May isn't generally the big rainy season, but just enough it could put a hold on some of the outdoor things depending)...

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
6,587 posts
27 reviews
7. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

Although I found Hakone pleasant, I don't count it as a must-see. If I only had time for one day trip, I'd head to Nikko (also a very long day). Do you have hiking areas picked out?

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
869 posts
72 reviews
8. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

I think that's what I'm thinking too. I might want to save that when I'm doing outside of Tokyo excursions on another trip if I go back and spend the night and really take advantage of the 2 day pass.

Hiking I'm thinking of Mt. Takao, maybe Mt. Mitake if it's not too hard to get to, and the one trail in Kamakura (Ten'en Trail).

But yeah places like Hakone and Nikko might just be too much for a day (though I have done train rides in the past that have been 3+ hours in Romania and a few other countries and that's just a lot of sitting and looking out the window. I'd rather be spending my time being more active and saving those when my base isn't going to be in Tokyo.

Any other good hiking spots not that far from the city that I should consider and is easy enough to get to?

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
6,587 posts
27 reviews
9. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

Hiking: It takes so long to get to the mountains from downtown Tokyo! Back when I lived in Japan, I did a lot of hiking but that was 37 years ago (that's when I went to Hakone), but here are my recollections.

Kamakura. I've done the The Daibutsu Hiking Course a couple of times (one more recently). I found it unexciting. Don't know about the other trail. But Kamakura itself is worth a visit if you won't be going to Kyoto.

Takaosan. Went there a lot when I lived in western Tokyo, and some since then. A range of pleasant trails. It was a shock the first time to come to the top of Takaosan from another direction and find it paved and set with restaurants. But not unwelcome. An hour from Shinjuku (some direct trains).

Mitake. A long train ride (about 90 minutes from Shinjuku). I recall enjoying trails on the side opposite the train station.

I would say that my favorite course was this one: https:/… I did it (might not have been this exact route--I don't have my maps) about three times back in the day and once a bit more recently. I recall only once encountering others on the trail. It's about 90-120 minutes from Shinjuku, depending on your rail connections.

Another thought. You will see few old house in Tokyo. Nihon Minkaen is a nice collection of old houses from all over Japan: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3253.html It's an easy 20-minute train ride and 20-minute stroll from Shinjuku Station. It can be seen as a half-day excursion. But it's in a park with a variety of paths and trails. I remember a short but pleasant walk there.

Denver, CO
Level Contributor
869 posts
72 reviews
10. Re: Day Trip Tokyo to Owakudani (and Hakone) Question

I checked out the Koburi pass area, the first links great, but the one to the map part isn't valid anymore and so I can't seem to get a good idea where the map is. I did find the mountain road part after the underpass though on Google, but finding the signs they state and the path seems different to what Street View shows at least at what I assume is the path they are talking about at (35.919260, 139.239175).

I may have to do more research on it, but at least there are some hiking options. And turns out my coworker didn't end up hiking at Mitake anyways as it was raining and he abandoned the trip. So like it says though, I like to save as much money as possible and this being cheaper than Mitake and one you recommended does seem a lot better, I'll have to see if I can get more information online when I have the time over the weekend...

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