Escape to Hakone by Car – 1 or 2 Day Itinerary

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If you’re in Tokyo for a few days, it can sometimes get too crowded, too urbanised and just too much city. So, if you want to escape to Hakone, it is the ideal day trip or even overnight stay from Tokyo. There you can enjoy a more relaxed, nature-orientated and quieter side of the Greater Kanto region. Of course, you can take the romantic way there, via romance-car, the name of the express train for couples. But, for car enthusiasts or those just wanting to experience the roads of Tokyo, grab a car and take your ride out to the twists and turns and natural spectacles the area has to offer.

Large Torii at the entrance of Hakone Shrine

This our ideal 1-day itinerary, but for a more relaxed journey you could definitely space it out for an overnight stay as well.

Our car of rental of choice was the latest incarnation of the Toyota 86 – check our sister sites’ for the full car profile. In fact, it is generally quite difficult to reserve a manual car, due to the overwhelming popularity of AT transmissions. Especially from the domestic rental dealerships, Toyota included. That being said, the car still has some guts under the bonnet, even with its auto slusher, we just accepted the situation. Where the car really shines, is in its handling, its low centre of gravity, really inspires confidence around those twists and turns. This was our ride out of Tokyo’s concrete confines and out towards Hakone’s

Of course, if you want a broader choice of better cars and manual gearboxes for that matter, why don’t you check out Omoshiro Rentacar.

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1 Day Escape to Hakone Itinerary

For the one day Hakone Day Trip, we are including a visit to Hakone Shrine, Lunch, Owakudani Mountain and finally drop by Odawara Castle. I would recommend a weekday for less traffic and crowds at the various sightseeing spots.

Odawara Castle

This is how our estimated schedule would go, pending traffic and crowds:

9 am – We take the car from the rental place

11:30 pm – Arrive at Hakone Shrine

Noon – Lunch, Walk around Hakone Shrine, Take Photos, etc

1 pm – Drive to Owakudani

1:30 pm – Arrive at Owakudani, walk around, buy souvenirs, try black egg

2:30 pm – Drive to Odawara Castle

3:30 pm – Visit the castle and walk around the grounds.

4:30-5 pm – Drive back to Tokyo

7-7:30 pm – Return your rental car

Overnight Escape to Hakone Itinerary

For our recommended overnight trip, we are including a visit to Hakone Shrine, Lunch, Lake Ashi cruise, Onsen visit, Dinner, Overnight stay, Owakudani mountain, Odawara Castle and return home. I would recommend a weekday trip for less traffic and crowds at the various sightseeing spots.

Hakone Shrine’s famous Torii on the limits of Lake Ashi

This is how our estimated schedule would go, pending traffic and crowds:

10 am – We take the car from the rental place

12:30 pm – Arrive at Hakone Shrine

1 pm – Lunch, Walk around Hakone Shrine, Take Photos, etc

2 pm – Take the Lake Ashi Cruise

4-4:30 pm Drive to Hakone Onsen

7 pm ~ Hotel Checkin, Dinner, Another Onsen visit, etc

10 am – Hotel Checkout, Drive to Owakudani

11:30-12 pm – Arrive at Owakudani, eat lunch, buy souvenirs etc

1:30-2 pm – Drive to Odawara Castle

3 pm – Walk around Odawara Castle and the grounds, Take photos, etc

4:30-5 pm – Drive back to Tokyo

7-7:30 pm – Return your rental car

Other Transportation Options

Car is not your only option, with public transport available in various forms including dedicated express and bullet train options. Buses operate from a lot of the main stations such as Odawara too, ropeways can be used to access Owakudani too. There are also ferry services that operate tours across Lake Ashi. You can probably use some of the local taxi services from the station also if you have a larger budget.

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