The Hakone Freepass



If you’re going to visit the Hakone Region, it’s best to do so with the Hakone Freepass. The Hakone Freepass is a discount pass pass offers great value, whether you do a day trip or spend 2 or 3 days in Hakone.

The pass can be used on the various modes of transportation that make up the Hakone Loop and you also enjoy discounted admission to many popular attractions in the area.

When you’re just doing a quick roundtrip on the Hakone Loop you will mostly enjoy the convenience that the pass will offer. Your savings will be minimal but you will not need to get individual tickets and will be able to efficiently transfer between the various means of transportation.

The longer you stay in the Hakone region the more you will benefit from the pass.

Below we share everything you need to know about the Hakone Freepass discount pass.

Read reviews and buy your discount pass:
Hakone Freepass

Hakone Freepass Japan
The Hakone Freepass (Credits : Photo by L1ndus)

What’s the Hakone Freepass?

The Hakone Freepass is a money-saving pass that you can use on most public transport in and around Hakone. In addition to that the pass also offers discounts at several tourist attractions.

The train, the cable car, the ropeway, the pirate ship, and the busses that make up the Hakone Loop are all covered by the pass. There are also some other buses that you can ride for free with the pass. We discuss the full coverage area later in this post.

Places with discounted admission include hot spring resorts, souvenir shops, museums, shrines, etc. You can identify them by the stickers on the doors or booking windows. 

Mt. Fuji seen from the Hakone Ropeway

What is the Hakone Loop?

The Hakone Loop is the route most tourists take when visiting Hakone.

Using a combination of different modes of transportation, including a train, cable car, and even a pirate ship, you get to enjoy the region’s most popular sights including the Owakudani Valley and Lake Ashi.

We also traveled along the Hakone Loop and describe our story here including more info on what there is to see.

What is Covered by the Hakone Freepass

We took a picture of the leaflet we got with our Hakone Freepass and inserted it in this post.

It shows all the buses and other means of transportation you can ride with the pass.

Besides the Hakone Loop, you have these other useful routes:

  • Buses to the Gotemba Outlets. A huge outlet mall with close to 300 stores where you can shop till you drop with views of Mt. Fuji. You also use these buses when you travel to the Fuji Five Lakes region.
  • A bus to the Mishima Skywalk. This is Japan’s largest pedestrian suspension bridge, and it offers views of Mt. Fuji.

I mention these 2 routes as they lead to popular sights in the area. As you can see from the map below, there are more routes than just these two.

Two important remarks:

  • Don’t just jump on any bus. Although most buses are covered by the Hakone Freepass there are exceptions. For example, there are buses that travel from Togendai to MotoHakone but they don’t accept the pass. When in doubt, wave your pass to the driver. At major stops, you will also find employees who can help you.
  • Not all buses run equally frequently. (eg. the ‘W’ service to Komatagake only runs a few times a day) You can use this route finder to plan your route.

Click the map for a larger version as a PDF.

Versions of the Hakone Freepass

The Hakone Freepass comes in different versions:

  • 2 or 3-day passes
  • Passes with and without a round-trip ticket on the Odakyu Lines from Tokyo
  • Child and adult passes

Pass Duration

There is a 2-day and 3-day edition of the pass.

The passes work on a calendar day basis. Regardless of when you use the pass for the first time, that day counts as a full day.

With or Without a Round-Trip to Tokyo

Passes start from either Odawara or Shinjuku (Tokyo).

If you have a JR pass you can ride JR trains from Tokyo to Odawara. That will then be your cheapest option. Without a JR pass it is best to opt for the Hakone Freepass including the round-trip.

These are the 4 most common options to get from Tokyo to Hakone:

  • Tokaido Shinkansen: This is the fastest option and free if you have a Japan Rail Pass (the nationwide pass)
  • JR Tokaido Line and Shonan-Shinjuku Line: Local, Rapid & Special rapid trains between Tokyo and Odawara. Covered by the Japan Rail Pass and Tokyo Wide Pass as well as other regional passes issued by JR-East.
  • Odakyu Romancecar: Romancecar is the name of Odakyu’s limited express train between Tokyo and Hakone. It’s the fastest service from Odakyu between Shinjuku and Hakone. It’s not completely covered by the Hakone Freepass, you need to pay a supplement of 1,200 JPY (one-way) for the limited express fee. The Romancecar requires seat reservations.
  • Local and Express Odakyu trains: These are covered by the Hakone Freepass with round-trip tickets.

There are also buses between Tokyo and Hakone. I haven’t included them in this overview as they are just as expensive or more expensive than the trains even though they are slower and less comfortable.

Child Passes

Children under 6 years old ride for free. Children ages 6 to 11 enjoy a significant discount. See the next section for the prices of the different versions of the pass.

Heiwa No Torii
Heiwa No Torii, the floating Torii gate of the Hakone Jinja Shrine

Is the Hakone Freepass worth it?

Absolutely! I created this table to show how much you would pay with and without the Hakone Freepass.  I simulated what you would pay if you traveled along the Hakone Loop.

As this table shows, even if you are only in Hakone for one day and only do the Hakone Loop, you will already save a small amount of money with this pass. 

If you are in Hakone for 2 or 3 days you will likely also visit other places (eg. we also did some shopping in Gotemba), which means you will save more.

(You may need to scroll left-right to see the full table)

Without Hakone Freepass Hakone Freepass 
AdultsChildren ( 6-11 years)AdultsChildren ( 6-11 years)
With Japan Rail Pass ( JR train to Odawara included in JR Pass)Odawara-Gora (Train)770 JPY380 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Gora-Sounzan (Cablecar)430 JPY210 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Sounzan-Owakudani-Togendai (Ropeway)1.550 JPY770 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Togendai -Moto Hakone or Hakone Machi (Cruise)1.200 JPY600 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Moto-Hakone or Hakone Machi – Odawara (Bus)1.340 JPY670 JPYincluded in the passincluded in the pass
Total5.290 JPY2.630 JPY5.000 JPY1.000 JPY
Without Japan Rail Pass ( departure from Shinjuku with express or local train )6.190 JPY ( 5.290 JPY + 900 JPY)3.080 JPY ( 2.630 JPY +450 JPY )6.100 JPY1.100 JPY
Without Japan Rail Pass- Romancecar ( departure from Shinjuku with limited express train)7.100 JPY ( 5.290 JPY + 1.810 JPY)3.530 JPY (2.630 JPY + 900 JPY )7.050 JPY1.580 JPY

The savings are indeed minimal for a day trip but even then the pass is still worth it as it takes away the burden of buying separate tickets over and over again.

I’m not sure why the website of the Hakone Freepass mentions a greater savings of 910 JPY.  Maybe they use a faster, more expensive train, to Odawara or they may  include a return ticket on the ropeway.  For this comparison I used the cheapest means of transportation for each leg.

Shopping at the Gotemba outlets with Mount Fuji in the backdrop.

Where can I buy the Hakone Freepass?

You can purchase your Hakone Freepass online or at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Centers in Shinjuku and Odawara. There’s also a center in Hakone-Yumoto.

Online you can only buy the pass including the round-trip ticket from Shinjuku. You can indicate when you want to use the pass for the first time during the buying process.  You will get a voucher and with this voucher, you can pick up the pass at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Shinjuku.

To find the center just follow the signs for the Odakyu Line.

The advantage of buying your pass online is that you can pick it up from 7 days before the date of first use. This means you don’t have to queue the day you want to leave for Hakone. This is especially convenient if you want to start your day trip early.

Normally it’s also possible to buy the pass at the Odakyu ticket vending machines but at the time of writing this option was not available.

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