Where to stay in Hakone without a car: 7 Best areas

Japan is one of my favorite travel destinations. I have visited many cities in Japan, including Hakone. In today’s article, I will help you find the best places to stay in Hakone without a car

I’ll cover the best areas in Hakone for car-free travelers, provide a map, share my own experience of where I stayed in Hakone, and recommend the best hotels for visitors of all budgets.

Hakone is a popular tourist destination in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan. It is easily accessible from Tokyo and is renowned for its hot springs (onsen), and stunning views of Mount Fuji. 

There are many Onsen throughout the area. You can relax in ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inns) and soak in these soothing and mineral-rich baths while enjoying the serene surroundings.

On a clear day, Hakone offers some of the best views of Mount Fuji, Japan’s iconic and tallest mountain. The sight of Mount Fuji rising above Lake Ashinoko or the Hakone skyline is a favorite among photographers and tourists.

One of the highlights of Hakone is Lake Ashinoko. You can take a boat cruise on the lake and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and Mount Fuji. Along the southern shores of the lake lies the famous Hakone Shrine and a torii gate in the water, reminiscent of the one at Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima.

You can visit the Open-Air Museum, which features a diverse collection of sculptures and artwork set in beautiful gardens. Another must-see in the region is the Odawara viewpoint where you can enjoy views of Mt Fuji in the clear days and try the black egg.

Getting to and around Hakone without a car is quite easy, as the region is well-connected by public transportation. 

From Tokyo, you can take a bullet train on the Tokaido line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station. From Odawara, you need to change to the local train/ bus to get to your destination in Hakone.

Another option is to take Odakyu’s Romance Car from Shinjuku Station direct to Hakone Yumoto Station. Hakone-Yumoto Station is a major transportation hub in Hakone, and you can easily access other parts of the region from there.

I recommend purchasing Hakone Free Pass, which includes unlimited use trains, cable cars, ropeways, boats, and buses in the region, as well as some discounted ticket on many attractions.

Within Hakone, you’ll find various cable cars and ropeways that can take you to scenic spots. For example, the Hakone Ropeway offers fantastic views of Owakudani and Lake Ashinoko.

If you don’t have a car and plan to stay in Hakone, there are several areas within the region that are accessible by public transportation.

Where to stay in Hakone without a car?

Map of the best areas to stay in Hakone without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Hakone without a car

The best areas to stay in Hakone without a car are Hakone Yumoto, Gora, Miyanoshita, and Togendai. These areas are on the Hakone Loop, and is well-connected to various transportation options of the region like train, cable car, ropeway, cruise, and buses.

Hakone Yumoto is the gateway to the Hakone region and is easily accessible by train from Tokyo. This area offers a variety of onsen ryokans and hotels. It is well-connected to Hakone Tozan Railway, offering easy access to other parts of the region.

Gora is another popular area in Hakone, known for its hot spring resorts. It is located high on the moutain in the middle of the Hakone region, and is well-connected to the train, cable car, and ropeway. The famous Open Air Museum is near Gora.

Togendai, located at the northern end of Lake Ashi, is a hub for sightseeing cruises and the Ropeway, which takes you to Owakudani. There are numerous of onsen ryokans here, but it is not convenient like Gora and Yumoto area.

In the list below, I will also mention areas of Sengokuhara, Motohakone, and Kowakudani. They all have their own unique charm but not convience compared to Gora and Yumoto. They are only connected to the bus system.

During my trip to Hakone with no car, I stayed in Yumoto at the popular Hakone Suimeisou. It is a great Japanese traditional Ryokan with hot spring amenities, centrally located just a few mins walk from the train station. Great breakfast.

Below is the live map of popular towns in Hakone.

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Hakone, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area and how to get around. I’ll also provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Hakone have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best areas to stay in Hakone without a car:

1. Hakone Yumoto 

Hakone Yumoto, without a doubt, is one of the most popular areas to stay in Hakone, especially for first-time visitors and travelers without a car. It serves as the gateway to the Hakone region and is well-connected by train and bus services.

Being the transportation hub of Hakone, Hakone Yumoto is a convenient base for exploring the region. You can easily access to Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Tozan Bus to visiti major sights like the Open-Air Museum, Gora Park, and Owakudani.

Hakone Yumoto is one of the oldest and most well-known onsen towns in Japan. It has a history dating back over a thousand years as a place for relaxation and rejuvenation in the soothing hot spring waters.

Local attractions are Haya River, Sukumo River, Soun-ji Temple, Amida-ji Temple, Hien Waterfall, History Museum, and Forest Adventure Hakone

Best hotels in Hakone Yumoto:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hakone Suimeisou, popular 3-star hotel, conveniently located within walking distance from Hakone Yumoto Station and Sounji Temple. It has public hot-spring baths and paid private hot-spring baths.
  • Mid-range ($$): Masutomi Ryokan, good value for money traditional Japanese style accommodation, located only 5 mins walk from Hakone Yumoto Train Station. 
  • Mid-range ($): Yumoto Fujiya Hotel, this accommodation is located only 3-minute walk from Hakone Yumoto Train Station, a short ride from Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Museum of Art, and Hakone Venetian Glass Museum.

2. Gora

Gora is a picturesque area in Hakone, known for its hot spring resorts, beautiful scenery, and cultural attractions. Gora is located in center of the region, and well-connected to the Railway, the cable car, and the ropeway.

Many accommodations in Gora offer private onsen (hot spring baths) for guests to enjoy, and you can experience the traditional Japanese onsen culture here.

One of the major attractions near Gora is the Hakone Open-Air Museum. It’s a unique art museum set in a beautiful outdoor park, featuring sculptures, art installations, and a hot spring foot bath. The museum is within walking distance from Gora Station.

Gora Park is another lovely attraction in the area. It’s a beautifully landscaped garden with seasonal flowers, a French-style garden, and a quaint greenhouse. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll here and even have tea in a historic European-style building.

Gora is a great starting point for various hiking trails in Hakone. The Hakone Hiking Course and the Old Tokaido Road are two popular options for hikers, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

In Gora, you’ll find a range of accommodations, including ryokans, luxury hotels, and boutique guesthouses. Many of these establishments provide the quintessential Japanese experience with tatami mat rooms, kaiseki meals, and onsen baths.

Best places to stay in Gora:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa, wonderful hotel, with onsen, close to major attractions. The hotel offers a free scheduled shuttle bus from/to the JR Odawara Train Station and Gora Station, which is a bonus for car-free travelers. It also offers free parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Tensui Saryo, great accommodation, ideal for couples, families, and group of friends. Close to Gora Station, Hakone Gora Park, and Hakone Open-Air Museum.
  • Budget ($): Emblem Flow Hakone, popular good value for money accommodation, next to Gora Station, a convenient point of the Hakone Cable Car and Ropeway up to Sounzan and Owakudani, then to Togendai next to Lake Ashi. It has private rooms, family rooms, and dorm rooms.  

3. Sengokuhara

Sengokuhara is not the best option for car-free travelers, but it is doable. It’s a good choice if you prefer a peaceful atmosphere and want to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. The area is accessible by bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station. 

Sengokuhara area is famous for its extensive Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Fields that turn a golden hue. You can take scenic walks among these tall grasses and enjoy the autumn foliage.

Sengokuhara is home to several art museums and galleries. The Pola Museum of Art is a prominent attraction, featuring a diverse collection of Western and Japanese art. The Hakone Glass Forest Venetian Glass Museum is another interesting spot for art enthusiasts.

The Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands is a unique attraction that showcases various plant species, including wetland and alpine plants. It’s a great place to explore, especially during the spring and summer months.

Some best hotels in Sengokuhara:

  • Mid-range ($$): Senkyoro, beautiful accommodation set on a hill, 30 minutes above Hakone Yumoto, easily accessible by bus and car. You can hike to the top of Mt Kintoki to view Mt. Fuji.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hakone Highland Hotel, great hotel, located in front of g the Museum of Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince across the Hayakawa River.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hakone Fuga (Adult Only), this ryokan located in the Sengokuhara Onsen district of Hakone, within walking distance from Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands. Offering Free shuttle service from Hakone Tozan Bus Sengoku Information Centre.

4. Motohakone

Motohakone is located on the shores of Lake Ashi, and it’s a charming area to stay in if you want to enjoy the lake’s scenic beauty. You can take a cruise on Lake Ashi and visit Hakone Shrine. Accommodations in this area range from traditional ryokans to modern hotels.

Motohakone is accessible by bus from various parts of Hakone, including Hakone Yumoto and Odawara. You can also reach it via a scenic boat ride across Lake Ashi. 

One of the most iconic and historic attractions in Motohakone is the Hakone Shrine, specifically the red “Torii” gate that stands in the lake. It’s a beautiful spot for photography and offers a unique spiritual ambiance.

The Hakone Detached Palace is a former imperial residence in Motohakone. It’s now open to the public and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. You can explore the palace grounds and enjoy the scenic beauty.

The Hakone Checkpoint is a historical site in Motohakone that was once used as a checkpoint on the Tokaido Highway in the Edo time. It’s a fascinating place to learn about Japan’s history and see a well-preserved checkpoint structure.

Best places to stay in Motohakone:

  • Budget ($): RoheN Resort&Lounge HAKONE, popular 3-star accommodation, located above the shores of Lake Ashi, close to ferry dock, great sunset views, easy access to the bus to Gora Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Odakyu Hotel de Yama, located right next to Lake Ashi, featuring a large Japanese garden and natural hot spring baths surrounded by lush trees. You can book  shuttle buses to Moto-hakone Port, for sightseeing cruise ferries.  
  • Luxury ($$$): The Prince Hakone Lake Ashinoko, this accommodation is set on the shores of Lake Ashinoko, offering hot-spring baths with the views of the lake. Free shuttle bus from JR Odawara Shinkansen Station to the hotel.

5. Miyanoshita

Miyanoshita offers a traditional and upscale experience in Hakone. It’s a serene area with beautiful landscapes and luxurious ryokans known for their exceptional service and hot springs.

Miyanoshita is easily accessible from Hakone-Yumoto and Gora by train. In the area, you can explore Kumano Shrine, Dogashima Valley Promenade.

Best hotels in Miyanoshita:

  • Luxury ($$$): Fujiya Hotel, a 5-star Meiji Era architecture hotel in a quiet location, offers a free shuttle to Miyanoshita Train Station if you book in advance. 
  • Budget ($): Tsukinoya, 2-star good value for money historic accommodation, located a 7-minute walk from Hakone Open-Air Museum. Well-connected to the bus from Odawara station.
  • Budget ($): Onsen Guest House Tsutaya, popular 2-star great value for money ryokan, close to the bus stop, so you can catch it to get around.

6. Togendai

Togendai is a scenic area situated at the northern end of Lake Ashi. It is well-connected to the sightseeing cruise tour and the rope way.

Togendai’s proximity to the lake allows for easy access to water-related activities, including sightseeing cruises on traditional pirate ship-style boats.

Togendai serves as the lower station of the Hakone Ropeway, which takes you on a scenic journey up the mountains to Owakudani, an active volcanic valley known for its sulfurous fumes and black eggs. 

Some of the best places to stay in Togendai:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori, great 4-star accommodation located 2-minute walk from Togendai Station on Hakone Ropeway. Shuttle service (free) to Odawara Station, which is great for those who don’t drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hakone Lake Hotel, 3-star hotel, located a 3-minute walk from Togendai Ropeway Station, 5-minute walk to Lake Ashi. only a 15-minute ropeway ride from Owakudani. 40 mins bus ride from Hakone Yumoto Train Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Villa Hakone Stage, great hotel, located near the Togendai Station, offering free private parking. Within walking distance to the lake.

7. Kowakudani

Kowakudani is known for its volcanic activity and hot springs. It’s a unique place to stay if you’re interested in the local atmosphere and experiencing the hot spring culture of Hakone. 

Kowakudani is located right next to Gora, and easily accessible from Hakone-Yumoto Station by bus and train. There are several ryokans and accommodations with private onsens.

Recommened places to stay in Kowakudani:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hakone Kowakien Tenyu, 5-star hotel, offers stunning views of the Tonomine, Myojogatake and Mount Asama. It is within walking distance from Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, Tenyu Bus Stop, and Kowakien Bus Stop. free shuttle service. 16 mins bus ride from Kowakudani station.
  • Budget ($):  Mizunoto, 3-star accommodation, 11 mins walk from Hakone Open Air Museum, 70 mins train ride from JR Tokyo Station on the Hakone Tozan Line and Shinkansen (bullet train).  
  • Budget ($): Hakone Kowakien Mikawaya Ryokan, 3-star accommodation, featuring open-air bath and free private parking.

In conclusion

The best places to stay in Hakone without a car include Hakone Yumoto, Gora, Miyanoshita, and Togendai. They offer a wide range of tourist amenities and are well-located on the Hakone Loop, making them great locations for car-free travelers.

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There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your trip to Hakone, especially if you don’t drive.

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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