How to Stay in Tokyo for Free: Part 8 – Day Trip from Tokyo – What to Do in Hakone

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How to Stay in Tokyo for Free: Part 8 – Day Trip from Tokyo – What to Do in Hakone

Million Mile SecretsHow to Stay in Tokyo for Free: Part 8 – Day Trip from Tokyo – What to Do in HakoneMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Emily:   Have you always wanted to visit Japan?  You can get there for a fraction of the cost with a few credit card sign-up bonuses!

My boyfriend and I recently flew from Austin to Japan for ~$200 round trip in Business Class.  And for 3 weeks of lodging (including some fancy hotels), I spent ~$450!

Japan is a beautiful country with LOTS to see and do, from high-rise skyscrapers to old temples to hot springs.  I loved Tokyo for its energetic neighborhoods, shopping, and delicious restaurants.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
I Enjoyed Visiting Mt. Hakone and Seeing the Geothermal Activity in the Area

Wherever you go, you’re sure to have an amazing time!  In this series, I’ll go into detail about where I stayed in Tokyo, what to do, and some of my favorite restaurants, and show you how you can do it, too!

How to Stay in Tokyo for Free Trip Report Index:

What to Do in Hakone

1.   Ride to Mount Hakone

To reach the cable car that would take us to Mount Hakone, we had to walk to a train stop ~15 minutes from our hotel.

It was a beautiful, peaceful walk.  And we didn’t see any other people until we got on the little train.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
Here Comes the Train!

It was a ~5 to 10 minute train ride to the cable cars.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
Excited to Ride to the Top of the Mountain

And from the train, we bought our tickets and hopped on the cable cars.  Tickets can be purchased at the main train station.  It’s the station a stop or two away from the train stop near our hotel.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
From the Cable Car, We Had Sweeping Views of the Valley

The views were gorgeous!

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
Tickets Can Be Purchased at the Main Train Station

It cost ~$26 for the two of us for the round-trip journey, which included round trip tickets to and from the train stop near our hotel.  And it was a great experience!

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
Obligatory Selfie Inside the Cable Car

We finally reached the top, and were rewarded with even more beautiful views.  There isn’t a whole lot to do once you reach the top.  It would’ve been cool to walk on some nature trails, but perhaps it’s too dangerous to get too close.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
We Spent ~15 Minutes at the Top Taking in the Beautiful Surroundings

But then decided to get on another cable car and head back down to visit the lake.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
On a Clear Day, You Can See Mt. Fuji from Lake Ashi

We even had time to wander around a bit before we caught the last train back towards our hotel.

There were pretty pathways…

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
I Never Pass up an Opportunity to Explore

…with gorgeous flowers.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
These Periwinkle Flowers Were Eye-Catching!

And after an afternoon of sightseeing, we were excited to go back and relax at the hotel!

2.   Cruise on Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi is a “must-see” during your trip to Hakone.  And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a cruise around the lake in a pirate ship!

Just be sure to plan accordingly, because we didn’t leave enough time to enjoy a cruise AND take the cable car trip.

How To Stay In Tokyo For Free Part 8 Day Trip From Tokyo What To Do In Hakone
You Can Cruise Around the Lake on a Pirate Ship!

We left our hotel at ~10:00 am, and the cruise was full by the time we arrived.  So get an early start to your day (~8:00 to ~9:00 am) to make sure you get a seat on the boat.

3.   Visit the Hotel Onsen

At the hotel, you can visit two large on-site onsens (hot springs).  Onsen is a mineral hot-spring spa said to promote healing and health.  I visited the onsen once during my stay, and it was relaxing.  But I didn’t get any pictures to respect people’s privacy.

It wasn’t the greatest spa/baths I’ve been to, but it was nice.  (As a side note, the best spa/bath experience I’ve had was at the Grand Wailea hotel in Maui).

Bottom Line

There isn’t a lot to do in Hakone.  But it was a great place to relax and see some natural beauty.

If you decide to make the ~90 minute trip from Tokyo to this mountainous town, don’t miss the cable car ride to Mount Hakone or the cruise on Lake Ashi.

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Hi there, we were just in Hakone and there are two HIGHLY recommended places I’d like to add:

Hakone Open Air Museum — a stunning setting with fantastic sculpture in the green hills

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298171-d1008883-Reviews-Hakone_Kowakien_Yunessun-Hakone_machi_Ashigarashimo_gun_Kanagawa_Prefecture_Kanto.html

A really fun and kitchy Hot Springs park (Kowakien Yunessun where you can soak in Sake, and tons of different liquids, probably 20 different themed hot springs

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298171-d1008883-Reviews-Hakone_Kowakien_Yunessun-Hakone_machi_Ashigarashimo_gun_Kanagawa_Prefecture_Kanto.html

In Hakone, I would stay at a half-board Ryokan for at least one night. In Dec 2015, we were able to get a room with indoor private hotspring bath at Ichinoyu Honkan for 20,000 yen plus tax, including multi-course traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner for two people. It was the highlight of our trip.

Emily, I was wondering where did you spend the rest of your time in Japan? How did you score the remaining 2+week of lodging for $450?

Hi. Thanks for all the tips and logistical information on how to do what you did. It’s very helpful. I have a trip coming up in January that I booked using delta Skymiles for delta one/business tickets that includes 3 days in Ṭokyo. I am currently planning on staying at the intercontinental in ṭokyo with IHG points and an annual night certificate. However I don’t have any idea what we will do there!

@Amit. I stayed at the Intercontinental Tokyo in April. It’s a beautiful hotel. There is a LOT to do in Tokyo. I recommend going to the Robot Cabaret one night. You’ll never forget it!

Hi Amit, You’ll love your time in Tokyo! I also like to look at Tripadvisor and guidebooks for ideas on what to do. The go-carts seem like a really fun experience if you can do it. When you’re there, be sure to take pics and tag us on Instagram. We love seeing other people travel with miles & points! 🙂