If you are in Tokyo and in need of a quick get-away, the perfect spot is Hakone. Steeped rich in history, there’s everything you need for a relaxing weekend: onsen, great historical sites, amazing local food, and of course, stunning views of Mount Fuji. A well planned quick trip will feed your soul and recharge your spirit.
Take the Odakyu “Romance Car” highspeed train from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station to Yumoto-Hakone station. Make sure you buy a bento box from the amazing Odakyu department store food court for the 90 min. ride. Beer and sake available for purchase on the train.
Once you reach Yumoto-Hakone station (final stop), grab a taxi and head to the fabulous Kai Hoshino Resort. Lounge in your room, listen to the birds while sipping green tea to unwind. Then, change into your yukata robes and go down to the onsen for a soak in the mineral hotspring baths, which is better than any spa you could imagine. Afterwards, dinner is a feast; a traditional kaiseki (multi-course) Japanese meal, paired nicely with sake or wine. Life seriously does not get much better than this!
Start the morning off with a soak in the hotspring and enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast.
Take the bus to the charming Amazake-chaya stop. This historic tea shop is the last standing of its kind, and sipping the sweet amazake in the old wooden building is like stepping back into time. Current family is the 13th generation to operate, that’s 350 years of history!
From there, the leisurely 40 minute hike to Moto-Hakone on the old Tokaido road continues your journey into the past.
Once you reach Moto-Hakone, finish off the day with a leisurely boat tour on Lake Ashi, with views of Mount Fuji and Hakone Shrine.
Head back to Hakone-Yumoto train station via a 30 min. bus ride. Don’t forget to purchase gifts and bentos near the station before getting on the Romance Car back to the hustle and bustle of present day Edo, or Tokyo.
You can reserve your Odakyu Romance Car train ticket online (reserved seating), and pick up at the ticket counter which is in the West Gate area of Shinjuku Station. Cost is approx $45 each for return ticket. Shinjuku station is HUGE, so be sure to leave plenty of time to find the ticket counter and browse around downstairs for your bento box.The Odakyu department store food court is one escalator ride below from the ticket counter.
Hakone is also famous for beautiful local arts and crafts, and its art museums. If you have more than one day, check out these sites in Hakone:
Hakone Open Air Museum
Ride the cable cars and tozan trains for stunning views