In the middle of June, when the hydrangeas are in full bloom, many people jump onto the trains of Hakone Tozan Railway, which runs between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora. This is the only mountain railway in Japan which can make you feel like you are in the middle of nature while riding a train, which is a real treat for the passengers. Due to the beautiful hydrangeas growing alongside the railway, the Hakone Tozan Train has also been called “Hydrangea Train.”
Hakone Tozan Railway has been operating the Hakone Tozan Line in Japan since 1919. It is owned by the Odakyu Group, a holding company based in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The Hakone Tozan Line included the section from Odawara Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Gora Station is one of the terminal railway stations of the Line and the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. It is the highest railway station in Kanagawa Prefecture with an altitude of 533 metres. From this station, the visitors can continue the upward journey by cable car.
The cable car runs the 1.2 kilometres between Gora Station to Sounzan station. The slope may be very steep, but the cable car races up effortlessly. At the top, the station platform is also sloping. There are so many sightseeing places for you to visit such as: Hakone Gora Park, Hakuundo Tea House and the Hakone Open-Air Museum. Other than this, you may get the chance to use the Hakone Ropeway, which will give you a superb view of the area’s wonderful natural environment.
Hakone Tozan Railway has 11 stations with a single track. There are three signal stops in addition to the regular passenger stations. All of these have siding tracks, with two also having switchbacks. The fare from Hakone-Yumuto to Gora is 400 yen (one-way fare) with trains running every 10-20 minutes. Fares for children are half of the price for adults.
Riding this train will give you a classic feeling of going through a narrow and densely wooded valley over many bridges and tunnels. If you get to travel at night, you will be witnessing thousands of hydrangeas illuminated along the way. These flowers are best seen during the first weeks of July.
What are you waiting for? Hop aboard!