Weekend trip to Hakone + Lake Kawaguchiko

Date: Trip taken in January 2023


Many people take a weekend trip to Hakone and Lake Kawaguchiko from Tokyo. Hakone and Lake Kawaguchiko are both known for its onsens and the views of Mt Fuji.


Hakone is a 1.5 hour train ride from Shinjuku train station to Hakone. We bought the Hakone Freepass, which includes many of the transportation networks in Hakone. You can buy it online, in person at a booth, or from a vending machine. Lake Kawaguchiko is a direct bus ride from Shinjuku station where you can purchase tickets online.

Train at night at Hakone

Day in Hakone

After arriving in Hakone the night before, I started the day by taking the bus to Hakone Shrine. It is located close to Lake Ashinoko. If you get to the lake early enough, you might catch a view of Mt. Fuji. The lake has a nice water view and a great place to take a stroll.

Lake Ashinoko with Mt Fuji

The path to the Hakone Shrine is flanked by lanterns through the forest

I grabbed lunch at Bakery & Table Hakone. You can enjoy some pastries with a view overlooking Lake Ashinoko. Try to head there early- there was a line that formed even before it opened!

Food at Bakery & Table Hakone

After lunch, I took the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise across Lake Ashinoko to Togendai. The Sightseeing Cruise was a great way to get across the lake and enjoy the view. It can be quite windy and cold when you are standing outside on the boat.

Hakone Sightseeing Cruise

After getting off at Togendai, I took the Hakone Ropeway (included in the Hakone Pass) to Owakudani. Ōwakudani is a volcanic valley with active sulphur vents and hot springs in Hakone. It was a quick walk around the area to see the sulphur vents. You could sign up for guided tours in advance but they might be canceled depending on the weather and the volcanic activity. One popular thing to try when you are at Ōwakudani is the black eggs. The eggs are cooked in Owakudani’s hot spring pools and their shells are blackened by the sulfur. One myth is that if you eat one of the black eggs, it can prolong your life by seven years.

Sulpher vents at Ōwakudani

Afterwards, I took the train to the Hakone Open Air Museum. It is definitely worth a visit and a place where you can take a few hours to explore the museum. It is a sculpture park with some unique pieces. They even included an exhibit on pieces from Picaso!

Later in the evening, we then caught the bus to go to Lake Kawaguchiko (bus fare included in the Hakone Pass). We got to our hotel which was by Lake Kawaguchiko. There were winter fireworks that were held for 20 minutes that weekend.

Fireworks over Lake Kawaguchiko

Day in Lake Kawaguchiko

We started our day with breakfast at Le pain De Daniel


We walked to Arakurayama Sengen Park to get a view of the Pagoda style temple with Mt. Fuji in the background. The climb up to the view is a little steep but it is worth the view! It would be better to arrive early in the morning- by 11:30 am, the clouds already started to cover the view of Mt. Fuji.

Arakurayama Sengen Park with the pagoda style temple and Mt. Fuji in the background

We stopped by Hōtō Fudō for lunch. They are famous for the hōtō noodles, which is the local specialty. They are flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso soup.

hōtō noodles

Afterwards, we did a sake brewery tour at Ide Sake Brewery. We learned how they make sake and had some different sake samplings.

sake samplings

Finally, we caught the Highway Bus back to Shinjuku in Tokyo and saw this nice view of Mt. Fuji at the bus stop. The bus route was via the Highway bus and was a separate fare.

bus station with Mt Fuji in the background

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