Friday meant leaving Kyoto for Hakone (箱根町), a mountain town east of Mt. Fuji. Hakone is a bit touristy, but it’s a beautiful area and accessible by train.
From Kyoto, we took the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Odawara and picked up a “Hakone Free Pass” there. This pass was an amazing value, and made travel for the weekend extremely easy. At around $42 each, this provides train travel from Odawara to Hakone, mountain train travel farther up the mountain, bus access around Hakone, boat access on Lake Ashinoko and scenic ropeway access over Hakone mountain.
The trip from Odawara up to Hakone itself takes a while. The train to Hakone is quick, but soon after you’re on a train especially designed for the mountain pass which slows things way down. There were some amazing views out the side, especially as it pulled off to the side to let other trains pass. After 5 hours of traveling, we made it to our ryokan.
One of the go-to activities to do on a long train ride is to pick up some food in the airport to enjoy on the train. We grabbed a small sampling of pickles and some sushi.
This trip ended up being more involved than we thought. It involved:
- A local train from our hotel to the main train station.
- A bullet train from Kyoto to Odawara station.
- Another local mountain train from Odawara to the Hakone area.
- A bus from the train station to our hotel.
- A few blocks walk with our luggage up to our hotel.
By the time we arrived it’s fair to say we were exhausted. Next time we’ll have to travel a lot lighter.