5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Hakone

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

For an unforgettable one day trip from Tokyo, Hakone is an excellent sightseeing spot. We have selected five things to fill your day, from relaxing to getting completely lost. Take a ride on a ropeway and enjoy splendid views of nature, before relaxing in a traditional hot spring bath of healing water. Just some of the things you can do whilst you visit Hakone:

1. Take a ride on a ropeway

 5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Hakone

(image by Hakone Ropeway website)

Hakone Ropeway takes 24 minutes and has 4 stations. The time on board is short, but as a way to see the important spots of Hakone, it is indispensable. The view is so wonderful that on sunny days, you can see as far away as Tokyo Skytree. Take the ropeway from Lake Ashi to Owakudani, riding up the Hakone mountain cable to Sounzan Station through every station. 

Lake Ashi has a circumference of 19 km that was created from volcanic activity about 3000 years ago. You can take a walk while viewing Lake Ashi at Kojiri Fureai Park 5 minutes from the Togendai Station. Within the park, there is a mysterious atmosphere with the many twisted trees. If you are going to Hakone or Old Hakone from here, take the sightseeing cruise ships on Lake Ashi for an elegant tour.

Owakudani Station is another stop, located within a national park. It’s the smoking area of the Hakone volcano which is currently showing the volcanic activity from about 3000 years ago. The tea house black eggs over there are famous since eating one of them is said to prolong your life by 7 years. The smell of hydrogen sulfide is intense, but you can get the feeling of the power of the great nature. A wide landscape unfolds in front of you as you go up the steep slope from Sounzan to Owakudani. You wonder if you are actually walking in the sky. Do not miss out on this moment.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 730 / Child: ¥ 370

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Ropeway
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Ropeway
Tours of Hakone Ropeway

2. Relax in natural hot spring water

 5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Hakone

(image by flickr.com)

Hakone is a town of hot springs with a long history where you can enjoy looking at Mount Fuji while bathing in hot springs surrounded by nature. Because Hakone offers hot springs for resting, skin beauty, curing and much more, baths can also be selected by your bathing purpose. Whether you make it a day trip or decide to stay at an inn, there are numerous ways of enjoying Hakone.

There are numerous ways to enjoy Hakone where the 25,000 tons of warm water that flows daily from hot springs tabs are supplied to spas, resort facilities and hot springs inns. Hakone features many tourist attractions in addition to the hot springs: You can take a ride on the mountain railway train, a gondola lift or a cable car for a magnificent view of Mount Fuji and the national park, or you could visit tourist facilities such as museums and gardens, or you could participate in various seasonal events. Hakone is a diverse region; since the atmosphere and tourist attractions largely differ among the various areas of Hakone.

Admission: ¥ 800 - ¥ 1950 

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Hot Springs
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Hot Springs
Tours of Hakone Hot Springs

3. Go for a cruise on a pirate ship

 5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Hakone
(image by flickr.com)

Tour ships operate on Lake Ashi. Since the circumference of this wide lake is 19 km, there are 3 ports and you can move around and take a tour at the same time. There are 3 kinds of vessels. All of them have a capacity of 500 people, and have the motifs of a French flagship, a British battleship and a Swedish luxury liner. Naturally there are cabins, and onboard features such as 3D art and skylights are standard. There are sculptures of the captain and pirates here and there which are popular as photography spots. Since there are 3 travel courses, trying out each of them is also fun.

If traveling by car, there is the ropeway and cruise set, and if you plan to use different modes of transportation to get around Hakone, the Freepass which also includes train and bus is a great deal. And with that ticket, you can get discounts for art museums and tourist landmarks. You can move around anywhere without worrying about fares since it’s all-you-can-ride for every place. There are summer festivals in early August and at the Setsubun Festival in early February, you can take a cruise to view fireworks. Reservations are necessary. The leisurely view of fireworks from the top of the lake is exceptional.

Why operate pirate ships? During the 1960s when there was an increasing tendency toward leisure, the company president at the time visited Disneyland. Seeing the attractions there, the pirate ships inspired him. It was thought that Western-style ships in Japanese-style Hakone wouldn’t work, but strangely enough when they started operating, they became very popular with the kids. Apparently, there was an onslaught of reservations to get on board. In 2013, the number of passengers was more than 1.8 million people. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics coming, it will probably get even more popular.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 360 / Child: ¥ 180

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Sightseeing Cruises
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Sightseeing Cruises
Tours of Hakone Sightseeing Cruises

4. Get lost in a maze surrounded by outdoor art

 5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Hakone

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

At the Hakone Open-Air Museum, an outdoor art museum that boasts a vast site covering approximately 70,000 square meters, you can enjoy sculptures from Henry Moore, Marta Pan and others.

The park, which is Japan’s first outdoor art museum, was opened in 1969 with the goal of making sculpture art more popular. Approximately 120 sculptural masterpieces are on permanent display across the huge sculpture park. These works of art can be enjoyed while viewing the mountains of Hakone. Calmly walking among nature while enjoying famous sculptures up-close is a real thrill that is unique to the outdoor art museum. There are also play sculptures that children can touch and have fun with, and other features that the whole family can enjoy, such as the maze. 

Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,600 / Child: ¥ 800

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hakone Open-Air Museum
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hakone Open-Air Museum
Tours of Hakone Open-Air Museum

5. Watch people set fire to a field

 5 Things to do on a Day Trip to Hakone

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Wetlands and pampas plains that expand through a wide area of Hakone. The autumn pampas, which has been selected as one of The Top 50 Picturesque Sceneries of kanagawa and The Top 100 Flowers of kanagawa, is visited by many during the early spring when the controlled yamayaki burning of the mountain occurs.

On the slopes of Mt. Daigatake in Sengokuhara, Japanese pampas grass grows all over. At the end of summer, the tips of the grass start to turn gold and the pampas have lush green stems. Entering late fall, the grass takes on a golden color and taking in the sunlight, the scenery becomes a golden carpet. While thoroughly enjoying the pampas, going up the lone path reveals a landscape that resembles a golden sea as far as the eye can see. You can view splendid scenery where the plains are in harmony with the surrounding mountains and wetlands.

The annual custom of yamayaki occurs between mid and late March. The plains’ vegetation and scenery are maintained through fire. About 200 local residents set fire to 18 hectares of the plains, and the growing fire burns the grass down in one shot. The burned plains bathe in the sun’s rays and warm up rapidly so that the spring flora bloom in white and violet and the pampas start to bud.  

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Sengokuhara
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Sengokuhara
Tours of Sengokuhara

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ in depth tour of Zojo-ji ”

Excellent
2 months ago Traveler: Prasanna -   Tour Guide: Kazuharu

We were looking for an in-depth understanding of Zojo-ji, and it is not one of the popular spots in Tokyo. Kazuharu prepared and came with lots of notes and tried his best to answer all our questions. He was patient and enthusiastic.
read more

“ The best way to get around Tokyo ”

Excellent
5 months ago Traveler: Catarina -   Tour Guide: Mitsuru

Mitsuru was very careful when planning our visit, and made sure we got exactly the experience we wanted from Tokyo, with the right balance of tourist hotspots and local finds. His patience when explaining local habits and teaching us how to ride the tube were the reason we were able to get around the rest of the country, and his impecable guidance made it able for us to cover all of Tokyo in the l...
read more

“ Delightlful .... ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Jerome -   Tour Guide: Aki

Aki was very easy to work with and accomodating to our group of 6. As requested, he put together a 3 day itinerary for us based upon our interests and desired activity level. He is quite knowledgeable about "all things Tokyo" as well as the Japanese culture and history. He is a master of the Tokyo transit system and without him we would have had a difficult time navigating around. We asked Aki...
read more

“ KOJI--OUR WONDERFUL GUIDE! ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: JEFF -   Tour Guide: Koichiro

In the midst of the ongoing COVID drama sweeping the world, my partner and I decided to continue on with our trip to Japan. We were a bit nervous and wary but ended up having an incredible, once in a lifetime trip and a large part of this was our time with Koji. Koji has youth and energy, knowledge about Japanese culture, food and life, and was a wonderful host during our stay in Tokyo. We felt...
read more

“ Great guide ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Kerry -   Tour Guide: Yasuro

Though it rained most of the day we had a good look around Tokyo. Yasuro was a polite patient guide with great knowledge.
read more

“ March 7 2020 Tokyo ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Teresita -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Due to lack of time I decided to hire a Tokyo local guide to make use of our time,most especially for 7 hours. I did not regret to choose Noriko ,she was professional ,punctual ,very knowledgeable and she can feel the feelings of what we really wanted to see. We were so happy because we saw the places we wanted in 7 hours time. We recommend Noriko to all travellers who wanted to see in a short ...
read more

“ First day in Tokyo ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Nathan -   Tour Guide: Nobu

Nobu was wonderful. He accepted our last minute booking and met us at our hotel at 10am. A lot of things where closed, but Nobu had a great iteneriary for us. He spoke great english and did a great job of explaining the local culture and history.
read more

“ einen Tag in Tokio, einen Tag Teezermoniechmarkt. ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Maria -   Tour Guide: Yukiko

Es war wunderschön .Yukiko Hat uns mit ihren liebenswürdigen Art und viel Wissen über die Geschichte Tokios und besten Deutschkenntnissen, Tokio zu einer der Liebenswertesten Städte der Welt gemacht, man kann sie nur empfehlen und wir hatten wunderschöne Tage, sollten wir mal wiederkommen,Dann nur mit Yukiko.Liebe Grüße aus Rosenheim Marisa, Susanne und Tanja
read more

“ I had a wonderful time with Juliana. ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Arnold -   Tour Guide: Juliana

OMG, I had a fabulous day with Juliana. She was very informative and very professional while showing me around Tokyo. I've requested to Juliana to take me to the snoopy museum. Despite being closed because of the virus, she took me there anyway to visit the Peanut cafe and Snoopy town. That's when i learned she too was a Snoopy fan. Her command of the English language is very fluent. I have learn...
read more

“ 8 hour tour worth every penny! ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Chris -   Tour Guide: Maru

Maru was quick to respond to my request and assembled a nice customized itinerary for our day in Tokyo together. The shrine we visited was incredible! She has good local knowledge and is very personable and friendly. Maru's English is excellent and she was able to help me put together a few key phrases that I used during the rest of my stay in Japan. I would highly recommend her!
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started