A view of Lake Ashinoko in the caldera of Mount Hakone with Mount Fuji and a boat in the background

Things to do in  Hakone

A blissful escape from Tokyo’s bustle

Just a short hop from Tokyo on the Shinkansen bullet train, the Japanese mountain town of Hakone offers a blissful escape from the big city. Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone’s main draws are its serene onsen (hot springs) and Mt. Fuji views. The town is also home to cultural attractions, including world-class art museums, such as the Hakone Open-Air Art Museum, which displays modern art, and historic sites including the Hakone Shrine on the banks of Lake Ashi and the 15th-century Odawara Castle on the edge of town.

Top 9 attractions in Hakone

Lake Ashi (Ashi-no-ko)

In the shadow of Mount Fuji, Lake Ashi (Ashi-no-ko), is a scenic spot in Hakone National Park. Considered sacred by the Japanese, it is home to the famous Hakone Shinto shrine. Visitors come to see the shrine, take a boat out on the lake, or enjoy the many hiking trails in the area.More

Pola Museum of Art

Located within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, the Pola Museum of Art opened in September 2002. This is the former head of the Pola group’s private collection, which features more than 9500 works of art, including many from the French Impressionism and École de Paris eras.The museum sits within a forest of 300 year-old beech trees and is predominantly made up of glass, creating a sense of seamlessness with the natural environment that surrounds it. In addition, a large part of the building is located underground. The museum’s permanent collection includes works by artists such as Cezanne, Monet, Picasso, and Renoir, plus there are also modern temporary exhibits, with sculptures, ceramics, and glassware alongside paintings by both Japanese and European artists.A museum cafe and restaurant gives visitors a chance to relax beside huge windows that open out onto lush green forest, and there’s also a 670-meter nature trail for those who wish to explore the forest further.More

Hakone Ropeway

Tokyo’s Hakone Ropeway is the second-longest cable car in the world. Visitors come to experience the thrill of a cable car ride, with views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi along the way.More

Narukawa Art Museum

In a beautiful setting by Lake Ashinoko in Hakone, the Narukawa Art Museum Art holds a collection of more than 4000 Japanese (nihonga) paintings. Literally meaning ‘Japanese-style painting’, nihonga art follows traditional Japanese artistic conventions, and more recently has expanded to incorporate Western-style techniques too.This is a small museum, yet each exhibition room has plenty of room for visitors to appreciate the art. In addition, there’s an impressive observatory lounge (and cafe) providing simply stunning panoramic views over Lake Ashinoko and the floating torii gate of Hakone Shrine from its huge glass windows. What’s more, on a clear day, the views extend to reveal the mighty Mount Fuji in the background.There’s also a pleasant garden at the site, and don’t miss the museum’s unusual collection of kaleidoscopes.More


With steaming volcanic hot springs and sulfur fields, visiting Owakudani feels like stepping onto a different planet, less than an hour’s drive from Tokyo.More

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

With Mount Fuji as its dramatic backdrop and the stunning Lake Ashi below, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is magnificent from all angles. A popular detour for travelers visiting Tokyo, the park has ample opportunities for trekking and boat cruises.More

Hakone Open-Air Museum

The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a 200-acre park dotted with fascinating sculptures. When it opened in 1969, it was Japan’s first open-air museum; now its collection includes more than 1,000 sculptures, with about 120 on permanent display. Artists whose sculptures are exhibited include Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Constantin Brâncuși.More

Hakone Komagatake Ropeway (Komagatake Ropeway Line)

Japan's highest aerial tramway, the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway (Komagatake Ropeway Line) is a popular way to take in some of the most scenic views in Japan and the so-called Nagano Alps. The ropeway runs from the edge of Lake Ashi to the summit of Mount Komagatake, carrying passengers 3,115 feet (950 meters) into the sky.More
Little Prince Museum

Little Prince Museum

Hakone’s Little Prince Museum is a fun destination for kids and all fans of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic storybook from the 1940s. The museum includes a reproduction of a French village, gardens, and displays relating to the French author’s life and work, as well as a good French restaurant and a gift shop.More
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All about Hakone

When to visit

Hakone is an appealing destination year-round, but it's particularly attractive in spring. The sakura trees blanketing the surrounding mountains start to bloom between late March and early April, creating Hakone’s most iconic image, that of pink cherry blossoms framing snow-capped Mt. Fuji. Visiting in fall is also popular, as the town is decked with lush fall foliage, and, come October, Hakone’s unique susuki (pampas grass) turns a silvery gold.

Getting around

Thanks to its efficient network of buses, trains, and even cable cars and ropeways, Hakone is a breeze to get around using public transportation. The most economical way to explore Hakone is by obtaining Odakyu's Hakone Free Pass, which includes a round-trip ticket on the express train from Shinjuku Station to Odawara or Hakone-Yumoto, as well as unlimited rides on the Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Tozan Bus (within a designated area), Hakone Tozan Cable Car, and Hakone Ropeway.

Traveler tips

Hakone is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo so it can get uncomfortably crowded, especially on weekends. Beat the crowds by visiting Hakone on a weekday or by spending the night there—most day-trippers arrive mid-morning and leave by early evening. Visitors also tend to follow a well-worth path around Hakone, so dodge them by mixing up your sightseeing with some off-the-beaten-path spots or start your day at Lake Ashi, which most people visit last.


People Also Ask

Is Hakone worth a visit?

Yes, Hakone is absolutely worth a visit. The town is home to some of Japan’s most stunning scenery—including Mt. Fuji—and blissful experiences, such as soaking in an onsen. Plus, it’s very easy to get to Hakone from Tokyo so you don’t even need to give up much of your time in the city.

Is one day enough for Hakone?

Yes, Hakone’s compact size and efficient tourism infrastructure means that you can see all of the town’s highlights in just one day. If your time is limited or you have concerns about wasting time navigating public transit, book a guided tour that includes the must-see attractions.

What is Hakone known for?

Hakone is known for its natural beauty, hot springs, and unbeatable view across Lake Ashi of Mt. Fuji. Hakone is a cultural hot spot with some excellent art museums, including the Pola Museum of Art, home to Japan’s largest Impressionist collection, and Hakone Venetian Glass Museum.

How long is the bullet train from Tokyo to Hakone?

The bullet train doesn't travel directly to Hakone. JR Tokaido Shinkansen takes around 30 minutes from Tokyo or Shinagawa stations to Odawara. Then, the Hakone Tozan train continues to Hakone-Itabashi Station—a journey of less than two hours. Alternatively, Odakyu’s Romancecar takes around 85 minutes from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station.

Can I use the JR Pass from Hakone to Kyoto?

No, you can't go directly from Hakone to Kyoto using the JR Pass. You will need to take the Hakone Tozan train (not covered by the JR Pass) to Odawara Station. From Odawara Station, use the JR Pass on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen train to Kyoto Station (just under two hours).

How long does the Hakone Loop take?

Circling the Hakone Loop typically takes between six and eight hours. Starting and ending at Hakone-Yumoto Station, the loop takes visitors around Hakone’s top attractions using multiple methods of transport (train, cable car, ropeway, boat, and bus), which are all included in the Hakone Free Pass.

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