Hakone is a beautiful region near Mt Fuji, so when our friends and their two girls came to visit, Hakone was definitely on our itinerary as it is also amazingly child friendly.
We live on the Odakyu line, so getting there is relatively straight forward and inexpensive as the Odakyu company offer a Hakone Free Pass, which from Shinjuku is only ¥5140 for an adult for two days. The Free pass allows a round trip on the Odakyu line and unlimited travel on the Hakone transportation- buses, trains, cable cars, rope way and the Hakone Sight seeing cruise.
This is excellent value for money, especially as the pass also entitles you to a variety of discounts in the Hakone region.
We bought the two day pass and planned to do the circuit one day and the Hakone Open Air Museum the next.
We arrived in Hakone-Yumoto and caught the bus to Hakone-Machi-Ko.
Lunch next to Lake Ashi before we joined the queue for the sightseeing cruise. The wind was blowing do it was rather chilly on the water, so we were relieved to get to Togendai-ko and head over to the queue for the rope way.
It was long.
50 minutes later, we were finally on our way up. The kids really enjoyed the trip despite being tired.
We decided, however, to complete the transportation day on day 2, as the queues were still long, and we had 5 very tired children, so with that we headed over the hill on the rope way and off to the hotel.
Day 2, saw us catching the Hakone Tozan Cable Car back to Souzan and the rope way to Owakudani.
The children didn’t appreciate the sulphur smell, but they did enjoy eating the black eggs!
We headed down to Gora again and caught the train to Chokoku-no-mori where we visited the Hakone Open Air Museum.
A few hours there and we headed back to the station to continue the journey down to the valley and back to Hakone-Yumoto.
Hakone-Yumoto station has a baggage service that will deliver your baggage to your hotel and vice versa, meaning that you are able to explore the area baggage free. We made use of it on Day 2, and it made our life MUCH easier. It also is part of the Hakone Freepass Discount collection so it only cost us ¥700 for a cabin sized bag.
The trip is tiring on the children, but there are plenty of things to keep them occupied.
This is my second trip, the last time was when our 3 were aged 7,6 and 2. It is perfectly doable with young children but strollers can be cumbersome at times.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Hakone region, and while its a manageable (adult) day trip from Tokyo, I’d recommend doing it over two or three days- making full use of the passes available.
The Hakone Freepass is available from all Odakyu Stations.
It costs ¥5140 for an adult 2 day pass from Shinjuku and ¥5640 for a 3 day pass.
For further information, please visit the Odakyu website.