We travelled to Hakone from Tokyo (Shinjuku Station) via Odakyu Line.
If Hakone is in your travel radar, you are most probably know of Hakone Free Pass. It is call free pass because it gives unlimited use of selected trains, cablecars, ropeways, boats and buses.
There are a couple of options in terms of Hakone Free Pass, so you would need to decide a few things before you get the pass.
1 - a 2 day or 3 day pass
2 - if you are doing a round trip from Tokyo or in other words, do you need a pass that include the train ride to and fro Hakone from Tokyo.
We stayed a night in Hakone, and would be travelling back to Tokyo to get to Nikko. Little P's cousin, R and two friends (T and Y) was to continue to Osaka. Little P and I bought the 2 days ticket, departure from Shinjuku (¥5,140) while R, T and Y got the 2 days ticket departure from Odawara (¥4,000). We bought both types of ticket from Shinjuku Station.
We are not romantic people and went with the non "Romancecar" option. The difference between the 2 type of trains was about ¥890 and 30 mins. After all, the "Romancecar" was limited express train. Train to Hakone goes to Odawara (小田原) and in Odawara, changed to another train to get to Hakone-Yumato Station (箱根湯本駅). Here's the link for Transfer/Fare search on Odakyu Line. The search function includes "Use Limited Express "Romancecar" or "Do not use Limited Express "Romancecar".
|At Odawara Station, train times towards Hakone-Yumato/Gora, as of 4th Nov 2014|
|At Hakone-Yumato Station, train times towards Odawara/Shinjuku as of 4th Nov 2014|
We also found NTIEast free wi-fi service in Hakone. We wanted to get the card upon arrival in Tokyo but they have none in stock. To be honest, somehow we didn't really find a lot of hotspot to utilise the free wi-fi.
As we took the normal, non romantic train, there wasn't any reserved seats option. We didn't sit together so it was harder to share food. Also, it did feel a little strange to eat in normal train (non Shinkansen). We were starving and only had our breakfast by the time we reached Odawara. Nothing fancy, just bread bought from Family Mart.
I was so hungry that while everybody was busy checking out the free wi-fi hotspot, I went and grab a packet of hazelnut cookies.
Here's a map I borrowed from the Hakone Tozan Bus website. I really like this map, very informative and easy to read, especially since we took the public transport that was listed here too.
|Source: Hakone Tozan Bus|
|Clockwise, from top left: Our room, lounging area with free wi-fi (only at reception area), at reception counter - the smallest and cutest working post box I've ever seen, souvenirs sold at the reception area.|
Onsen in the morning, followed by a cold milk from vending machine overlooking the Mount Fuji, and then yummy buffet breakfast. Such a bliss~
Side note: The cheese & onion chips is so evil...