There's plenty to do in Hakone. Take a dip in a hot spring, head to the mountains, walk around a stunning lake, and take in the views of Mt. Fuji. Hakone also has volcanic scenery, hiking trails, art museums, pirate ships, and bountiful history. There's no end to what you can do, whether you are going for a day, a weekend, or longer. Here are a few pro-tips on how to get the most out of your getaway from Tokyo -- of course, while keeping that budget nice and low. Planning your trip to Hakone Hakone-Yumoto is the main gateway to Hakone and is a jumping-off point for most of the main sights. If you're getting to Hakone by train (as most people do), you'll arrive at Hakone-Yumoto Station. There are lovely hot springs and a couple of shrines to see in Hakone-Yumoto itself; however, most visitors travel further, heading either to G\u014dra, a town in the mountains, or Lake Ashi, a crater lake with stunning views of Mount Fuji. While you can do both on a day trip, we recommend not burning yourself out and staying overnight instead. After all, Hakone is a place people go to relax. Pro-tip: The Hakone Free Pass (HFP) is almost always a good deal. It gives you unlimited rides on Hakone area transport, plus small discounts to some popular attractions, and you can . Read more about all the different ways of getting to Hakone from Tokyo. Hakone tours and deals There are many ways to enjoy Hakone, and you'll find\u00a0a range\u00a0of package deals on offer for Cheapo travelers. Mt Fuji and Hakone Day Trip One of the most popular packages is an all-inclusive sightseeing day trip from Tokyo that takes you to both Mt Fuji and Hakone. You can take bus tour with Klook -- this costs . However, Viator also offers a similar itinerary, but you . It costs a little more () -- a nice bonus zooming back all the way to Tokyo on the Super Express. If those are sold out, there's two more "bus out, bullet train back" itineraries we suggest, one on Viator (), and a similar Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi option with JTB Sunrise Tours (). The exact itinerary varies between providers. Private guide If you fancy having someone take you around, there are plenty of private guide options. This costs per person. You'll need to make your own way to Hakone though, and the price only includes the guide -- so you'll probably want to pick up the Hakone Free Pass (see below) as well. Outdoor adventures If you like a bit of exercize and a good view, check out this . The hike has an altitude gain of about 500m, includes lunch at a Japanese restaurant, and an onsen hot spring at the end. There are also a number of . Hakone Free Pass If you opt to go on your own, we recommend getting the . This useful 2 or 3-day transport voucher gives you free access to many methods of transportation around Hakone, including: the funicular railway, most buses, the ropeway, and the sightseeing pirate ship that sails across Lake Ashi. The full pass also covers round-trip travel from Tokyo (usually Shinjuku Station) to Hakone-Yumoto Station via the Odakyu Line. However, if you want to take the special limited express Romancecar train, you'll need to buy a separate limited express ticket for ( if bought online) each way. Lake Ashi: Mt Fuji views and more Lake Ashi is at the southern end of Hakone. We recommend visiting the lake early in the day -- for a better chance of seeing a clear panoramic view of Fuji. Getting to Lake Ashi From Hakone-Yumoto Station, take a Hakone-machi (H) Line bus from stand no. 2 on the left side in front of the train station. There are several useful H Line bus stops around Lake Ashi for popular destinations. For reference, it takes about 30 minutes from Hakone-Yumoto Station to the bus stop at Motohakone, the most developed part of Lake Ashi. The bus fare is -- or free with the . Things to do in Lake Ashi There's a lot to do on the southern edge of Lake Ashi. Sights are spread out between the two ports, Hakonemachi-k\u014d and Motohakone-k\u014d. Hakone Shrine 10-minute walk from Hakone-jinja-iriguchi (bus stop no. 150) H Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (30 minutes, without HFP) Free Hakone Shrine draws visitors with its Heiwa no Torii, the red shrine gate that appears to be rising out of the waters of Lake Ashi. It reminds us of Miyajima down in Hiroshima (which is one of Japan's most famous viewpoints!). If you planned to get a photo in front of the Hakone torii gate, we'd ask you to reconsider: there is nearly always a long line leading up to it -- and the photo usually comes out under-lit. The shrine itself has quite a few buildings and is surrounded by tall cedar trees, but the most interesting spot is the gate (well, and the somewhat hidden vermillion bridge nearby). Hakone Checkpoint 2-minute walk from Hakone-sekisho-ato (bus stop no. 154) H Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (40 minutes, without HFP) ( with HFP) The Old T\u014dkaid\u014d Road was once a vital trade route connecting Tokyo and Kyoto. This was during the Edo period (1603\u20131868), when the route was heavily guarded. Travelers had to pass through several checkpoints, with Hakone being one of the most important ones. Hakone Sekisho -- "sekisho" means "checkpoint" -- served as a customs and immigration station, where officials would check travelers' paperwork and belongings before allowing them to pass. Today, it's a museum showcasing Edo period customs and traditions. Parts of the Old T\u014dkaid\u014d Road still exist, and visitors can walk some of it in Hakone. The closest part of the road to the checkpoint is Cedar Avenue, which gives you a little sample of what to expect on a proper hike. Amazake-chaya: A traditional teahouse Amazake-chaya (bus stop no. 322) K Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (23 minutes, without HFP) Sweets and drinks around If you have spare time, it's worth going to Amazake-chaya. This rustic little teahouse is situated alongside the Old T\u014dkaid\u014d Road and has served as a pit stop for travelers to the region since before Tokyo was, well, Tokyo. It's been run by the same family for about 400 hundred years. A fun way to spend an hour or two is to add a visit to the teahouse on your way to Lake Ashi from Hakone-Yumoto. The bus stop for Amazake-chaya is on the K Line route; it takes about 25 minutes to get there from Hakone-Yumoto. At the teahouse, enjoy a cup of the warm, sweet, nutritious rice drink known as amazake (it's not actually tea), together with some homemade mochi (sticky rice cakes). Then, carry on walking along a preserved section of the Old T\u014dkaid\u014d Highway to Motohakone. The walk, over cobblestones worn smooth with age, takes about 30 minutes. For more details on hiking the Old T\u014dkaid\u014d Highway, see our guide to three\u00a0stunning hikes in Hakone. Onshi Hakone Park 1-minute walk from Onshi-k\u014den-mae (bus stop no. 153) H Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (35 minutes, without HFP) Free Onshi Hakone Park is a serene area that isn't overrun with people like some other spots in Hakone. It features a variety of walking paths, picnic areas, and seasonal flowers, such as cherry blossoms and azaleas. You also shouldn't miss the view of Mount Fuji from the observation deck. The park is a short walk from Hakone Checkpoint and Cedar Avenue. Hakone Sightseeing Cruise 1-minute walk Motohakone-k\u014d (bus stop no. OH67) H or K Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (32\u201335 minutes, without HFP) one-way, round-trip (free with HFPass) Feel like a buccaneer (or Luffy from the anime One Piece) aboard the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise. You'll set sail on a golden boat that resembles a pirate ship from Motohakone Port to T\u014dgendai Port -- where you can get the ropeway up to \u014cwakudani. During the trip across Lake Ashi (25 to 30 minutes), visitors can see the beautiful Hakone mountains and the famous torii gate of Hakone Shrine. The cruise is also an excellent way to get a closer look at Mt. Fuji, especially on clear days. Note: You can also get the ship from Hakonemachi Port -- which is closer to Hakone Sekisho -- but the circuitous route only goes one way and will take you to Motohakone first before stopping at T\u014dgendai. \u014cwakudani: The Great Boiling Valley As the whole Hakone area is a hot-spring hotspot, a visit to \u014cwakudani, The Great Boiling Valley (not to be confused with the snow monkey haunt of Jigokudani), is a must-visit on\u00a0any Hakone tour. Riding a\u00a0gondola up the mountain, you pass over an ominous, sulfuric landscape that looks like the lair of Smaug. Getting to \u014cwakudani You can reach \u014cwakudani via the J Line bus (or car, though parking is expensive) but most people visit via the Hakone Ropeway, which travels between T\u014dgendai and S\u014dunzan. S\u014dunzan is closer to G\u014dra, reached via the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. From T\u014dgendai, the ropeway takes 30 minutes and costs ; from S\u014dunzan, it's 10 minutes and . Or with the Hakone Free Pass rides on the Hakone Ropeway are free. There's also no admission to \u014cwakudani. Things to do in \u014cwakudani Once you reach \u014cwakudani, you are invited to try the area\u2019s signature black eggs -- hard-boiled eggs that have been cooked in steaming, mineral-laden water. Supposedly they're lucky and you can add years to your life by eating them, but mostly it's the novelty of it, the hellfire and brimstone surroundings, and the distinctive smell that make it worth the trip. Note:\u00a0There are various side trails and hiking routes around \u014cwakudani, but they are sometimes access-restricted because of noxious volcanic gases. Currently, only the short nature trail loop around \u014cwakudani is open but requires advanced reservations (online in Japanese). While the main gondola route generally remains open, people with asthma or other respiratory conditions might want to give \u014cwakudani a wide berth. G\u014dra: Museums in the mountains G\u014dra is up in the mountains, at an elevation of 533 meters (1,749 ft). Take your time with G\u014dra as there are plenty of museums, activities, and sights to see. Getting to G\u014dra G\u014dra is closer to Hakone-Yumoto. The Hakone Tozan Train runs between G\u014dra Station and Hakone-Yumoto Station and takes around 40 minutes. Coming from Hakone-Yumoto, G\u014dra is the last stop. It's deceptively far from Lake Ashi, so you may find yourself overstretched if you plan to do both in a day. To get to G\u014dra from Lake Ashi, you can follow the circuitous route via \u014cwakudani that involves taking the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, the Hakone Ropeway, and the Hakone Tozan Cable Car, alighting at the terminus in G\u014dra. This takes well over an hour, before you account for time spent in transit or at \u014cwakudani. Things to do in G\u014dra If you only have time to see one or two museums, take a look at our personal favorites below. But if you want to take it slow, then there are plenty of others to find here and elsewhere around Hakone. G\u014dra Park 5-minute walk from G\u014dra Station (free with HFP) Even those without a botanical bent will appreciate this delightful mountainside park. The views across to the steep and sometimes misty mountains opposite make for a great setting in which to appreciate the glasshouses of tropical plants, trees, and shrubbery. There\u2019s also a traditional teahouse for you to enjoy a cuppa the Japanese way. G\u014dra Park scores bonus points for being quiet with no lines of tourists, and has free entrance with the Hakone Free Pass. Hakone Open-Air Museum 2-minute walk from Chokoku-no-mori Station Hakone Tozan Train from G\u014dra (2 minutes, without HFP) ( with HFP or with online discount) There are over a dozen museums in Hakone, but our favorite has to be the Hakone Open-Air Museum. This expansive outdoor sculpture museum on the side of a mountain has lots of fun interactive art and a breathtaking setting. It showcases over 100 modern and contemporary pieces by renowned artists from all over the world. They often have limited-time exhibitions -- just like the shy, giant pink cat we spotted. Pola Museum of Art Pola-bijutsukan (bus stop no. 439) S Line bus from G\u014dra Station (15 minutes, without HFP) ( with HFP) The Pola Museum of Art is a beautiful facility with a great collection of Impressionist artists, including Matisse, Monet, and Renoir. The museum's building is also a work of art in itself, designed by architect Ban Shigeru to blend into the surrounding forest. Its spacious galleries and scenic location make it a popular destination for art lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. Note: You can go direct from Hakone-Yumoto Station, but there are limited bus departures per day and it takes around 40 minutes on winding roads. Hot springs Onsen in Hakone are too numerous to count. However, some picks that may be of particular interest to international guests are Yunessun, Hakone Yury\u014d, and Tenzan. Hakone Kowakien Yunessun 2-minute walk from Yunessun-mae (bus stop no. 138) H Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (20 minutes, without HFP) From ( discount with HFP) Yunessun\u00a0is a kind of\u00a0hot spring\u00a0theme park, with sprawling grounds and baths both inside and out. They have lots of fun baths, including tubs filled with wine, coffee, and herbs (separately, of course), as well as a water slide. The most important thing to note is that this is a co-ed, swimsuit-wearing onsen. It\u2019s a good choice for those who want to try the hot spring experience but are just too shy to go starkers, or those who want to share the experience with friends or family of different sexes. Read more about Yunessun. For admission, you can buy discounted tickets online. Hakone Yury\u014d 16-minute walk from Hakone-Yumoto Station Shuttle bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (3 minutes, free) From (\u2013 discount with HFP) Hakone Yury\u014d boasts several outdoor and indoor hot spring baths, offering guests the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in therapeutic waters while taking in the surrounding nature. There are both public and private baths available. Entry for the public onsen starts at . The private onsen is considerably more expensive, starting at for two hours, but you can get a discount with a Hakone Free Pass. There is also an atmospheric restaurant in the facility where you can cook your food over an open hearth. Tenzan Onsen 2-minute walk from Okuyumoto-iriguchi bus stop Free shuttle or K Line bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station (6 minutes, without HFP) Tenzan\u00a0is a standard hot spring, with beautiful rock-lined rotenburo (open-air baths) against the mountainside. The onsen offers a free shuttle bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station, but what makes this spa notable is its acceptance of tattoos, somewhat rare in the world of Japanese baths. The official policy is that inked patrons aren't exactly welcomed -- guidelines say you need to come alone -- but you won't exactly be booted out, either. Just be discreet, and you should be fine. While on the way to Hakone, why not jump off at Odawara Station and see Odawara Castle? Looking for more day-trip recommendations? Consider checking out top day-trip destinations like Kawaguchiko and Kamakura. While we do our best to ensure information is correct, it's subject to change. This article was first published in January 2015 and has been contributed to by Carey Finn and Chris Kirkland. Last updated in April 2023 by Alexandra Ziminski.