Bored by the bright lights of the city?
Wish that you could go out and explore nature while bathing in natural hot spring water?
Maybe Hakone is the answer you were looking for.
(I made a little video to try and sell you on it.)
1.5 hrs to 2 hrs from Shinjuku Station depending on what trains you take.
If you have the JR rail pass you can get to Odawara and then transfer to the Hakone Tozan Line.
What is there to see?
Lake Ashi, the giant lake in Hakone is a large volcanic lake. The surrounding area still has a lot of geothermal activity making it also a hotbed for natural hot spring water.
**If you buy the Hakone Free Pass there will be a booklet with a list of discounts. You get a certain amount off with those coupons**
Kappa no Yu
（Cheap! I went here and was happy with the outdoor bath. There was a coupon for this bath in the Hakone Free Pass booklet)
Price: 800 yen, 400 yen for kids
Access: Right outside of Hakone Yumoto Station. It is on the hill to the left of the station
Hakonete no Yu
Price: 1,200 yen, 300 yen for kids (Holidays: 1,600 yen, 400 yen for kids)
Access: 13 minutes from Miyanoshita Station on the Hakone Tozan Line
Hotel Green Plaza Hakone
(I actually stayed here, it was very nice. On a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji from the bath.)
Price: 1,600 yen, 700 yen for kids
(there is a lunch package where you pay for bath and lunch) 3,800 yen, 1800 yen for kids
Access: Get off at Ubako Ropeway Station and the hotel is a 5 minute walk away
Price: 1,400 yen, 700 yen for kids
Access: Free shuttle bus from Hakone Yumoto. 5 minute walk from Tonosawa Station.
One of the most striking sights of the Hakone area is Owakudani. This area is brimming with geothermal activity, which is evident by the smoking hillside and the pools of boiling water.
The minerals in the water turn the shells of normal eggs a striking shade of black. This is why you will see vendors all over the area selling “black eggs.” Unfortunately, it is just the shell that has changed color so it is no different from eating a normal boiled egg.
Lake Ashi is a volcanic lake that has beautiful views of Mt. Fuji (if it is clear out!). There is a giant pirate ship that you can ride across the lake that is free with the Hakone Free Pass. On the southern side of the lake there are two stopping points: Hakone Machi and Moto Hakone. Between the two spots are a lot of interesting things.
There is a part of the old Tokkaido checkpoint, Onshi Hakone Park, and the Hakone detached palace (former vacation home of the royal family). There is also a small part of the Tokkaido road that you can walk down and where you can pretend you are in another time.
Going around Hakone makes for a pretty tiring and long day. It is far from impossible though! However, it is more pleasant if you do shell out for a room.
There is also a way to get some free guides to show you around. Contact Odawara Hakone Systemized Goodwill Guide Club to get your very own free guide!