You may have experienced one of the world’s fastest trains – the Shinkansen. Why not a different kind oh experience in Japanese train? Sit back, relax and enjoy the Japanese mountain’s train with breathtaking views of nature from its windows. Hakone Tozan Railway the only train that can offer you such an experience. Hakone is a very attractive town with its Onsen-Spa (Hot Springs) resort in Kanagawa Prefecture, very close to Japan’s highest mountain, Mt Fuji.
The Hakone-Tozan Railway began operating in 1919 between Odawara Station (14 metres above sea level) to Hakone Yumoto Station(108 metres above sea level). In 1930, the line was extended to Gora Station (553 metres above sea level), where most travellers continue up the mountain by the Hakone-Tozan Cable Car.
There are 2 sections of the Mountain railway. The lower part is from Odawara Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station, which is used more for convenient access from Tokyo.
On the upper section between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora Station, the scenery is spectacular. It takes approx. 40 minutes to ride, in which you will go through 13 tunnels and across 53 bridges straddling spectacular culverts.
The train climbs 12.5:1 gradient and there are 3 switchbacks for ascending steep sections.
This amazing train runs through the most enchanting scenery you will find. It will leave you the most amazing memories, no matter which season you went.
In spring, enjoy Japan’s famous Sakura (Cherry Blossom) through the windows.
In summer, you can admire breathtaking hydrangea (Ajisai) while blossoming along the tracks.
In autumn, looking at all the beautiful koyo (Autumn foliage) from the windows is such a treat.
In winter, watching the white snow falling, would just facinate you along this train ride.
From Odawara Station
1. Visit Odawara Castle
Odawara is famous for Odawara Castle. This is where the Hojo family ruled the Kanto region during Sengoku Period (The warring states period). It is 10 minutes walk from the station.
2. Eat at Odawara Hayakawa Gyoson
For Seafood lovers, this restaurant – Odawara Hayakawa Gyoson- would be a delight.
Situated right next to the ocean, it is just 5 minutes by taxi from the station.
From Hakone-Yumoto Station
Eat the delicious Onsen Manju
Hakone Yumoto is the gateway to Hakone Spa Resort. There are more than 40 spa-style accommodation houses in this area.You will find various restaurants and souvenir shops around, that you will surely enjoy.
If you like Red Bean Pastry (a type of traditional Japanese sweet), you must try it, it is called Onsen Manju.
Between Tonosawa Station and Ohiradai Station
In this area, you can enjoy breathtaking views, at a height of 43 metres from the bridge built in 1917.
From Chokoku no Mori Station
Hakone chookoku no mori bijutsukan
Whether or not you’re into art, Hakone Open-Air Museum (Hakone chookoku no mori bijutsukan) is a very interesting place to visit. Among the many beautiful pieces, it displays the work of Picasso and many other famous artists. Over a thousand pieces of unique sculptures and other artworks are displayed inside and in the open-air. It takes only a short 2-minute walk from the station.
From Gora Station
Opened in 1914, Gora Park (Gōra Kōen) is the first French styled landscaped park in Japan. It is located on the steep slopes above Gora Station. Here you can enjoy most stunning seasonal flora and gardens. For an additional fee, visitors can experience various craft activities such as pottery, flower arrangement, glass blowing etc. in the Crafthouse.
hakone Gora Park*Japanese Only
One of the main reasons why Hakone is very popular is its easy access from Tokyo and surrounding areas. Take the Odakyu Romance car line from Shinjuku station (Tokyo) for an 85-minute trip that will get you to Odawara station, where Hakone Tozan Railway departs.
There are hundreds of accommodation options, of various styles in Hakone. Choose from the latest modern hotels to the more traditional Ryokan (Japanese hotel): Hakone Onsen Accomadations Guide
Follow the link below for cheaper deals travelling to Hakone: Hakone Navi