Hakone Free Pass: The Complete Guide & How to Maximise It

Hakone Free Pass: The Complete Guide & How to Maximise It

From unlimited rides on eight different transportation options to discounts at over a hundred outlets, these are some of the best things to do to maximise your Hakone Free Pass!

A mere two-hours journey from Tokyo, Hakone makes for a perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the sometimes-overwhelming city of Tokyo. And with the Hakone Free Pass, it has never been easier and cheaper to get to Hakone from Tokyo, and also within Hakone itself!


Located in the western region of the Kanagawa Prefecture, Hakone is populated with rich volcanic mountains, making it a great place to visit if you are looking to soak in some of the best hot springs (onsens) in Japan. From magnificent sightseeing pirate ships that sit on Lake Ashinoko to the iconic torii gate that overlooks the very same lake, a trip to Hakone will be nothing short of a magical experience that will leave you walking away feeling rejuvenated and renewed!

Here, we will be sharing with you some of the best sights to behold in the quaint town of Hakone that you can get to easily with the Hakone Free Pass. With these tips, we promise that you will stretch your every dollar spent on the pass, maximising your Hakone Free Pass during your trip to Hakone!

What is the Hakone Free Pass?

hakone free pass

Image credit: L1NDUS

The Hakone Free Pass is a hassle-free discount transport pass that offers unlimited access on eight different transportation options within Hakone, including the Hakone Cable Car and Ropeway. With this pass, you will be able to conveniently access the main attractions in Hakone, enjoy discounts at over 500 different locations within Hakone and of course, save on some of that hard-earned cash that you can probably put to better use by stocking up on those Japanese snacks! 

How to get the Hakone Free Pass?

hakone free pass

Image credit: Odakyu

You can choose to either purchase a 2-day pass or a 3-day pass from a ticketing machine, at Shinjuku station, Machida station or the Odawara station. The price of the Hakone Free Pass depends on the choice of station you are departing from, and is shown in the table below: 

hakone free pass

Image credit: Odakyu

You can also purchase the Hakone Free Pass at the Odakyu Sightseeing Centres in Shinjuku station (in central Tokyo) or Odawara station. Alternatively, you can also purchase the Hakone Free Pass online through websites such as Klook and collect the Pass at the Odakyu Sightseeing Centre.

How to maximise the Hakone Free Pass?

hakone map

Image credit: Japan Guide

Now that you know how to get your hands on the Hakone Free Pass, we will walk you through ten different ways that you can use your Hakone Free Pass, to maximise your yen and time spent in Hakone! We have also included a map of Hakone, which highlights some of the important landmarks, railway lines and modes of transport within Hakone. 

Use the Hakone Free Pass to get to Hakone from Shinjuku 

hakone free pass

Image credit: Katokichi

To get to Hakone from Shinjuku, you can use your Hakone Free Pass to first take a local train ride from Shinjuku to Odawara station via the Odakyu line (90mins). 

Upon arrival at the Odawara station, you will have to make a transfer to the Hakone Tozan line and board the local train bound for Hakone. This leg of the journey will take about 15 minutes, where you will disembark at the Hakone Yumoto station.

You are now ready to explore Hakone!

Drop your luggage off at Hakone-Yumoto Station

Hakone-Yumoto Station

Image credit: 663highland

If you are arriving in Hakone with some luggage, you might want to consider dropping your luggage off at Hakone-Yumoto station. You can arrange for luggage delivery from the station directly to your accommodations, especially if you are looking to travel around Hakone luggage-free. 

Similarly, you can also engage their luggage delivery service from your accommodations to Hakone-Yumoto station on your day of departure from Hakone.

With the Hakone Free Pass, you will be able to enjoy a ¥100 discount on your luggage delivery services. 

Explore the Open Air Museum (Chokoku no Mori)

Chokoku no Mori

Image credit: leon&mae

The Hakone Open Air Museum (Chokoku no Mori) brings together elements of art and nature in harmony, to create one of the most unique museum experiences that you will find in Japan. Poised against the scenic backdrop of lush valleys and mountains are some of the most intricate sculptures and exhibits, found in the outdoor section of the museum.  

Chokoku no Mori

Image credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbera 

Head over to the famous Symphonic Sculpture (which in fact more closely resembles a tower than an actual sculpture) and ascend the spiral staircase to the viewing gallery at the top – the vantage point of the museum park. From there, you can enjoy great views of the surrounding greenery as well as an aerial view of the colourful stained glass interior of the “tower”.

With your Hakone Free Pass, you can take the Hakone Tozan Railway (towards the terminal station of Gora) from Hakone-Yumoto station to Chokoku No Mori station (30mins). With that, the Open Air Museum is just a few minutes walk away from the Chokoku No Mori station. 

Do remember to also flash your Hakone Free Pass when you purchase your admission tickets to the Hakone Open Air Museum to enjoy a ¥200 discount!

Take a stroll in Hakone Gora Park

Hakone Gora Park

Image credit: Photogra Fer

The Hakone Gora Park is a French-inspired landscape park that features a magnificent fountain and a rose garden. On top of this, the park also has two different greenhouses, one housing a flower garden and the other a tropical botanical garden. 

Flash your Hakone Free Pass for free admission to the Gora Park (which would otherwise cost you ¥550 to enter).

Gora Park is a mere five minute walk from the Gora terminal station, which is one stop away from Chokoku No Mori station. With the Hakone Free Pass, you can easily get to Gora Park from the Open Air Museum or pretty much anywhere along the Hakone Tozan Railway line.

If you are looking for a spot to wind down and take a quiet walk at, then Gora Park might just be the place for you!

Ride on the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani


Image credit: Brian Sterling

Your trip to Hakone will be incomplete without riding on the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani!

Enjoy the stunning view of the active sulfuric hot spring sources of Owakudani Valley during your ride on the Ropeway’s gondola.

mount fuji

Image credit: Garberus

On a clear sunny day, you can also catch a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji and the vast body of Lake Ashinoko. There is really no better spot to snap some Instagram-worthy pictures than on the Hakone Ropeway as you will be overlooking some of the most impressive sights of Hakone and Japan! 

Offering a regular service every other minute between Souzan station and Togendai station, the entire journey on the Ropeway takes about 30 minutes. The best part of this is that the Hakone Ropeway ride is complimentary for all those with a Hakone Free Pass. 

Hakone Tozan Cablecar

Image credit: Japan Guide

To get to Souzan station (eastern end of Ropeway), you can take the Hakone Tozan Cablecar from Gora station, which is also covered by the Hakone Free Pass. The western Togendai end of the Ropeway can also be accessed by taking the sightseeing boat that sails across Lake Ashinoko. 

While services on the Hakone Ropeway have been temporarily suspended due to recent volcanic activity, you should definitely make use of your Hakone Free Pass to ride on the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani if the conditions permit. Hence, do remember to check out the operating hours of the Hakone Ropeway before actually heading down, so that you don’t make a wasted trip.

Cruise Lake Ashinoko on a sightseeing pirate ship

Lake Ashinoko pirate ship

Image credit: 663highland

Set sail on one of the most scenic sightseeing rides across Lake Ashinoko (Lake Ashi)! 

Formed as a result of an eruption of Mount Hakone more than 3000 years ago, Lake Ashi has become one of the most prominent landmarks in Hakone. It is said that you can enjoy some of the best views of both the lake and Mount Fuji on either the sightseeing boat rides or from Moto-Hakone, which is located at the southern end of the boat pier. 

With the Hakone Free Pass, you can enjoy free (yes free!) sightseeing rides on a “pirate ship” across Lake Ashi. 

The entire ride from one end of the lake to the other end takes approximately 30 minutes, and can be accessed from Togendai, Moto-Hakone or Hakone-machi. These three access points can be easily reached via the Hakone Ropeway or affiliated bus and train lines for free, with the Hakone Free Pass. 

If you are feeling fancy, you might want to ride in the premium special cabin of the Hakone Sightseeing Ships. Holders of the Hakone Free Pass are entitled to a one-way discount for tickets to the Hakone Sightseeing Ship Special Cabin.

Do note that the Hakone Free Pass is only valid for the Hakone Sightseeing boat rides (pirate-ship themed boats) but not the Izuhakone boat rides.

Visit the torii gate and Hakone shrine

torii gate

Image credit: Guilhem Vellut

Easily spotted along the shores of the magnificent Lake Ashi, the waterfront torii gate is one of three entrances to the main sections of the Hakone shrine. Eclipsed by the dense forestation, the compounds of the main shrine only starts to become more visible after passing through the main gate and a few flights of steps. 

hakone shrine

Image credit: Japan Guide

Immerse yourself in the peaceful and quiet calmness of Hakone as you slowly make your way to the shrine, and enjoy some of the most beautiful and mystical views of the mist-shrouded shrine!

The torii gate and Hakone shrine can be easily reached from the Moto-Hakone boat pier, after your Hakone Sightseeing Ride. The Moto-Hakone boat pier is also a 35-minute bus ride away from the Hakone-Yumoto station via bus line H on the Hakone Tozan Bus. Hakone Free Pass holders will get to ride on both the Hakone Sightseeing boat tour and the Hakone Tozan Bus for free.

Bask in the hot springs of Hakone


Hakone is home to some of the most beautiful natural hot springs and ryokans, which are fed by a steady stream of fresh and high-quality water from the many nearby springs. 

Did we mention that the Hakone Free Pass also offers discounts on some hot springs and beauty salons? 


Image credit: akiraorc

One such place where you can enjoy a discount with the Hakone Free Pass is the popular Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, which boasts some of the most unique onsen experience with their open-air wine bath and authentic coffee bath. You can also opt for their outdoor baths for a soak, while being surrounded by the elements of nature.

What better way to end your day than to unwind and relax in some of the famous hot springs of Hakone – without even having to break the bank! 

Shop till you drop at the Gotemba Premium Outlets

Gotemba Premium Outlets

Image credit: myself

With over 200 different stores and a 50-metre high Ferris wheel, the Gotemba Premium Outlets offer a wide range of fashion, sports, cosmetic and electronic products from reputable brands all over the world. 

Located at the foot of Mount Fuji on the outskirts of Gotemba city, it is recommended that you plan for a day trip to the premium outlets so that you can explore the full offering of the massive shopping mall, without having to rush through your trip. Some shops also offer exclusive discounts and privileges with the Hakone Free Pass, so do remember to enquire with the respective vendors about any ongoing discounts when you are there!

While the Gotemba Premium Outlets are located out of Hakone, with the Hakone Free Pass, you can get to the outlets from Hakone easily and for free! The Hakone Free Pass is valid on the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus, which operates two buses every hour from Hakone (Sengoku or Togendai) to Gotemba station (bus lines V and W). You can then take the free shuttle bus from Gotemba station to the outlets. 

Stop over at Odawara Castle 

Odawara Castle 

Image credit: Odawara Castle

On your journey back to Tokyo, you can make a quick stop at the medieval Odawara Castle a popular sighting ground for sakura viewing during the months of March and April. 

Featuring many interesting historical exhibits of Odawara, you will get a chance to learn about samurai culture and even try on shiny armours on the castle grounds. At the highest floor of the castle, you will get an unhindered and picturesque view of the vast Sagami Bay – 60m above sea level.

Your Hakone Free Pass will also grant you discounted entry into the Odawara Castle History Museum and the Odawara Castle itself.


Image credit: Japan Guide

With so many different perks and offerings, the Hakone Free Pass should be an indispensable item on your trip to Hakone! 

From unlimited rides on various transport options to discounts on visits to different onsens, restaurants, hotels and museums, there are so many ways to ensure that you make the best of your Hakone Free Pass to maximise its value. 

You can check out some of these other promotions and perks with the Hakone Free Pass here

Do also share some of these money-saving tips with your friends who might be thinking of making a short trip to Hakone – they might just decide to thank you with some delicious Japanese snacks with those extra dollars saved!

Also read: Tokyo Nightlife Guide: Kampai at These Popular Areas!

About Author

Daniel Lim
Daniel Lim

Daniel recently returned from his Exchange Programme in the United States, where he got to embark on his first ever solo travels around a few countries in North America and Europe. You can sometimes find him at the airport watching planes take off, marvelling at them as they roll down the runway and lift off into the skies; reminiscent of his very own travel experiences. He thoroughly enjoyed himself in his most recent travels, and hopes that you too, will be able to find your own unique travel experiences as you write your very own story.


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