If you live in the Kanagawa and Tokyo areas and want to spend a day or two to relax and unwind, then Hakone is the place. Get the Hakone Freepass discount ticket to get there and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the many activities that Hakone has to offer.
The Hakone Freepass is an amazing deal. You benefit from unlimited train and bus rides, use of the ropeway, the option to ride on a ship in the lake, and discounts on restaurants, parks and hot springs. It also includes your round trip fare from your starting station. For the bus ride, there are designated areas where you are allowed to use the Freepass. Be sure to ask the bus driver before getting on the bus or else you will be charged.
The pass is valid for two days, but a one-day trip is also worth the fee; bus and ropeway fares can be a little expensive in Hakone. The two-day pass is ¥5,700 for adults and ¥1,500 for kids. If you wish to stay longer in Hakone, it might be better to opt for the three-day pass. The price is ¥6,100 for adults and ¥1,750 for kids. Tickets can be bought from any ticketing machine at Odakyu Line stations.
I recommend using the Romancecar to go to Hakone since it's quick and you are able to avoid crowds. The Romancecar is a limited express train that runs from Shinjuku Station to Hakone Station, so you won't have to transfer trains. The seats can be reclined and rotated 180 degrees. There are also restrooms inside the train. The Romancecar is reserved seating only so please go to the Odakyu train office to ask for assistance.
Hakone is a popular destination among locals so it is better to get there early to explore many sights and avoid the long lines. Here is my suggested itinerary for a one-day trip. Once you arrive to Hakone-Yumoto Station, you should use the bus or the Hakone Tozan train to get to Sounzan Station. From there, ride the ropeway to Owakudani, famous for its black eggs. Wander around the area and take some snaps of Mount Fuji. Then, take the ropeway to Togendai Station. Get your camera ready to capture a shot of Mount Fuji while riding the ropeway.
Next, ride the cruise ship and alight at the last stop, Hakone Machiko. Walk to the Hakone Checkpoint, and then Ancient Cedar Avenue until you reach Moto-Hakoneko. Relax and take a picture of Mount Fuji along Lake Ashi. Next, walk all the way to Hakone Shrine. Don't forget to take a picture from behind the huge tori gate. You can take the cruise ship at Moto-Hakoneko and return to Togendai Station or you can take the bus all the way to Hakone-Yumoto Station.
I recommend eating at the restaurant at Togendai Station to enjoy the view of Lake Ashi and the cruise ship. Here, you can also plan your next destination. You can relax at one of the hot springs or visit any museum in Hakone. You can also go all the way to Odawara Station and visit Odawara Castle.
If you plan to stay overnight in one of the hotels in Hakone, you can still use the Hakone Freepass the next day and go around to the other sightseeing spots. However, if you return to your starting station, the Freepass will no longer be valid the next day. There are many museums and hot springs in Hakone. One day isn't enough to visit or fully appreciate the entire area.