Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hakone 箱根: Transport, Stay and Orientation


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
Our destination was Hakone-Yumato and we wanted to utilise the baggage delivery service. Please be noted that the baggage checking is accepted till 12:30 pm. Handling cost depends on your baggage size and you get a ¥100 yen discount for Hakone Free Pass users. According to information on their website, if you want to forward your baggage from hotel to Hakone-Yumato station, the baggage checking is accepted till 10 a.m and checked baggage can be picked up from 1 pm to 7 pm of the same day. However I saw this poster at the baggage forwarding office in Hakone-Yumato stating that the cut off time is 12:30 pm. So I think better to reconfirm. :)


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
After leaving our luggage at Hakone-Yumato station to be forwarded, we went around a little before checking in the evening. The hotel we (actually Little P did all the leg work) reserved in Hakone was Fujimien (ロッヂ富士見苑), 2-3 minutes by bus from Togendai Station. Based on the map above, you might think it is was far from Hakone-Yumato station but it worked out just fine after the sightseeing we did (that's another post...). We took a bus from Togendai station to Minami-onsenso station.


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. 
The main attraction in Fujimien itself goes to the onsen! There are two public hot spa bath, separated by gender. It overlooks to the beautiful outdoor area. In fact, all the rooms in Fujimien overlooks the view of the majestic Mount Fuji.


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... 

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