3 Days in Kanagawa Prefecture – Odawara, Hakone, Mt. Oyama, Yokohama

    _SAM0186
    Kanagawa Prefecture is located just south of Tokyo. It’s known both for its modern cities such as Yokohama and Kawasaki and its charming old towns such as Hakone, Kamakura and Odawara. These destinations are just less than two hours away from Tokyo, perfect for those looking to escape the fast pace of Tokyo.

    We spent a total of 3 full days in Kanagawa Prefecture, covering Hakone, Yokohama, Odawara and Isehara (Mt Oyama).
    _SAM0207
    We started our trip to Odawara early in the morning. Tokyo is connected to Odawara station by Odakyu Railways, JR and Shinkansen.

    From Shinjuku by Odakyu Line
    From Odakyu Railway Shinjuku Station 小田急新宿駅, take the Odakyu-sen train bound for Odawara and get off at Odawara Station
    Travel time : 1hr 35min by Kyuko Express train, 2hr 14min by regular train
    Fare: 880 JP Yen
    As this is a commuting train, it gets extremely crowded during rush hours and you may hardly find an empty seat. Anyway, this is the cheapest way to reach Odawara from Tokyo by train.

    OR

    From Shinjuku by Odakyu Line “Romancecar”
    From Odakyu Railway Shinjuku Station, take the Odakyu-sen “Romancecar” train bound for Odawara.
    Travel time : 1hr 8min
    Fare: 1770 JP Yen
    Romancecar is a train with all reserved seating. The fare is almost double of the regular fare, but you can sit back and relax, without having to worry about no empty seats available. Advance booking is required

    OR

    From Tokyo Station by JR Railway 
    From Tokyo Station, take a train on the Tokaido-honsen Line bound for Atami and get off at Odawara Station.
    Travel time : 1hr 23min.
    Fare: 1490 JP Yen
    Tokaido-honsen Line is also a commuting train and it gets extremely crowded during rush hours. With an additional fare of 980 JP Yen, you can get a seat on a green car (first class car). The Tokaido-honsen train can be taken from Ueno Station, Shinbashi Station and Shinagawa Station and Yokohama Station. JR Rail Pass is valid.

    OR

    From Tokyo Station by Shinkansen Bullet Train 
    From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen Bullet Train “Kodawa” and get off at Odawara Station.
    Travel time : 35 min.
    Fare: 3540 JP Yen
    Taking the bullet train “KODAMA” is the fastest but most expensive. This option is recommended for tourists who have a JR Rail Pass.
    Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 2.18.47 PM.png
    If you are planning to explore Odawara and Hakone together, it is best to get the Hakone Free Pass. 

    It provides transport from Shinjuku station to Odawara, then to Hakone, plus unlimited use of Odakyu-affiliated buses, trains, boats, cablecars and ropeways in the Hakone area and discounted admission to selected tourist attractions on two or three consecutive days. The pass costs 5140 yen (2 day pass, from Shinjuku station), 5640 yen (3 day pass, from Shinjuku station).

    1. The round trip is to be done by Odakyu Railways from Tokyo to Odawara Station by local or express trains (not including the “Romance Car”). Odakyu’s main station in Tokyo is Shinjuku Station, but the free pass can also be purchased for use from other Odakyu stations.
    2. A surcharge of 890 yen (one way from Shinjuku) and seat reservations are required when using a “Romance Car” limited express train.
    3. Passes purchased inside the free area, e.g. at Odawara Station, do not cover Odakyu trains between Odawara and Shinjuku.
    4. Unlimited usage of the Hakone Tozan Railway (Odawara-Gora), the Souzan Cablecar and Hakone Ropeway between Gora to Togendai, the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Tozan Buses and Odakyu buses within the free area and Numazu Tozan Tokai Buses between Mishima and Moto-Hakone.

    SAM_0189
    Onigiri and green tea from konbini (convenient store) is the best <3
    _SAM0211
    We were so lucky to get a glimpse of the magnificent Mt Fuji from the train on a nice sunny day.
    _SAM0236
    Our first stop was Odawara Castle. Founded in year 1447, it has been under control of different clans, including several samurai lords. A large part of the castle was demolished during the Meiji period (end ‘800). The structure that we can see today is a reconstruction built mainly in the 1960s.
    P2080025
    The castle is surrounded by a beautiful park, and we were so lucky to be able to catch some early blooms.
    P2080038
    The plum trees typically flower in early spring, during February to March.
    P2080006

    P2080003

    SAM_0302
    Ume blossom is often overshadowed by cherry blossom but it does not mean it is not charming at all. The sight of ume trees are really beautiful too!
    _SAM0229
    When in Odawara Castle, one must experience being a Samurai, Ninja or princess. Look out for the costume rental office in Tokiwagi Gate.
    _SAM0242
    The costume rental fee is only 300 JP Yen for adult and 200 JP Yen for child at 12 years old or younger. (Open 9:30 – 3:30PM).
    P2080013
    Here’s my handsome samurai husband!
    _SAM0252
    I tried wearing a traditional kimono with head piece too!
    IMG_5040

    _SAM0268
    We also visited the castle tower for the museum and observatory deck.
    _SAM0272
    The castle tower opens from 9:00AM to 5:00PM (4:30AM) and the admission fee is 500 JP Yen for adult.
    _SAM0273
    Here, one can discover many historical items like samurai armors, weapons, Japanese swords and a huge collection of artifacts.
    _SAM0282
    The observatory deck provides a nice view of the city. On a nice sunny day, one can even see the Mt. Fuji from afar.
    _SAM0275
    Odawara Castle
    Address: 6-1 Jonai, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa
    Admission: 400 yen
    Closed: Dec. 31-Jan. 1, second wednesday of December
    Getting Here: JR Odawara Station, then 10 min walk. The shortest way to reach Odawara Castle from Odawara Station is to leave the station from the East Exit and go up the street on the right side leading to the back entrance (North Entrance) of the castle park, it takes about 10 minutes on foot. From the station to the front entrance it will take about 20 minutes.
    _SAM0307
    Fresh seafood is caught and sold everyday at Odawara Harbour, so the best place to have seafood is the Fish Market located near to the port.
    _SAM0308
    Known as “Odawara Fish Market Den”, it is a gourmet destination where seafood restaurants and shops were gathered under one roof, offering authentic sashimi, rice bowls or grilled items.
    P2080046
    The pricing here here is really reasonable. Our set lunch consists of a seafood bowl with three types of fishes: , deep fried aji (horse mackerel), simmered red snapper and miso soup is only 1700 yen! Shirasu (whitebait) is another famous item in Odawara, remember to order that too!

    Odawara Fish Market Den
    Getting Here: 20 minutes walk away from the front entrance of Odawara Castle Park. Those who don’t want to walk much may take a train and get off at Hayakawa Station that is only a few minutes walk away from the fish market.
    _SAM0311
    Odawara City is the entrance to the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Remember to stop by for a short visit on your way to Hakone.

    From Odawara to Hakone, one can take the the Hakone Tozan line to Hakone-Yumoto station (18 minutes, 300 yen, included in Hakone Free Pass).
    _SAM0319
    Hakone needs no further information, as we all know that it is known for its mountain trails, scenic boat and cable car rides as well as natural onsen (hot-spring baths). Our first stop was Hakone Shrine. The cedar trees lining up at the entry of the shrine are looking magnificent and creating a holy atmosphere.
    IMG_5050
    The Japanese shrine seal book is a very unique and useful souvenir to buy, especially when you keep visiting Japan like us. You can bring it to the thousands of shrines and temples around Japan to collect stamps and special calligraphy by monks (for a fee).
    _SAM0337
    Remember to behave calmly and respectfully in a shrine. If you wishes to pray, at the purification fountain near the shrine’s entrance, take one of the ladles provided, fill it with fresh water and rinse both hands. Then transfer some water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth and spit the water beside the fountain. You are not supposed to transfer the water directly from the ladle into your mouth or swallow the water.

    source: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2057.html
    _SAM0347

    _SAM0349
    There’s a unique 9-Headed-Dragon purification basin at the shrine.  The holy water comes from the each head of the nine-headed dragon.
    _SAM0358
    There is a sacred tree at the shrine, popular as baby wishing tree where people come here to wish for babies and also to  pray for the safe delivery. It is best to wash your hand at Nine-Headed Dragon purification basin before touching the tree.
    _SAM0359
    P2080054
    Ema are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes and hang at the shrine.
    P2080065

    The torii gate at the water’s edge of Lake Ashi is another popular spot for insta-worthy photo.
    5206_bus_1510_hfp
    Hakone Shrine
    Getting Here:  Approx. 38 min. from Hakone-Yumoto Station by Hakone Tozan Bus (H Line), get off at Motohakone-ko bus stop. Approx. 30 min. from Hakone-Yumoto Station by Hakone Tozan Bus (R Line), get off at Motohakone-ko bus stop. Included in Hakone Free Pass.

    *Hakone Tozan Bus R Line (bound for Moto-Hakone) only operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays
    _SAM0369
    Lake Ashi is another well known attraction in Mt Hakone area. It was formed over 200,000 years ago due to an volcanic eruption. It is an extremely picturesque lake and is known for the view of Mt. Fuji and scenic boat rides. Fuji-san was too shy to make an appearance when we were there.
    _SAM0371
    The Hakone Sightseeing Cruise runs between Moto-Hakone Port, Hakone-machi Port and Togendai Port. From Lake Ashi, we took the cruise from Moto-Hakone Port to Togenadi Port. We also bumped into our friendly readers from Melbourne, thanks for saying hi!
    P2080092

    Hakone Sightseeing Cruise (Togendai, Hakone-Machi, Moto-Hakone)
    Hours: 930 am to 4.00-4.30 pm
    Admission: 360 to 1000 yen one way, included in Hakone Free Pass.
    _SAM0387
    From Togendai station,  one can take Hakone Ropeway to see the spectacular view of the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Ashi, the rising volcanic fumes of Owakudani and the grandeur of Mount Fuji on a sunny day.

    Hakone Ropeway (Togendai, Ubako, Owakudani, Sounzan & Gora station)
    Hours: Year-round 9:00am to 16:00pm, except for second Thursday of each month for maitenance. If public holiday falls on these days, maintenance will be shifted to next day.
    Admission: Fares start from 730 one way, 1310 return.  Included in Hakone Free Pass.
    _SAM0388
    We were short of time, so we did not stop by at Owakudani, another must visit places in Hakone. Here you can purchase eggs, cooked in the naturally hot water, whose shells are blackened by the sulfur and which are said to prolong one’s life by seven years.

    Instead, we took the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway near our ryokan to the mountain top.
    _SAM0403
    There is an observation plaza on top, as well as other spots such as Hakone Mototsumiya Shrine.

    Hakone Komagatake Ropeway
    Hours: 9 am to 430 pm
    Admission: 1300 yen return, not included in Hakone Free Pass.
    Getting Here: Odakyu Hakone Highway Bys to Hakone-En station. Included in Hakone Free Pass.
    _SAM0409
    It is time to checked in to our lovely ryokan – Ryuguden.
    _SAM0434
    This has got to be one of best ryokan that I’ve ever stayed in. Surrounded by Lake Ashinoko and mountain ranges, the view from our room is spectacular.
    _SAM0465

    kanagawa1
    The room is very spacious and comfortable with a large bathroom.

    The ryokan’s indoor onsen also comes with a beautiful view. Source of the springs is Takogawa Hot Spring near Lake Ashi and a soak in the onsen is good for neuralgic pain, sore muscles, relief from fatigue and etc.
    kanagawa
    For dinner, we experienced some authentic flavors of Japan in the hotel, which specializes in kaiseki. Every courses were well executed, and we really enjoyed our dinner with some atsukan (warm sake).

    Ryuguden (Ryokan)
    Add: 139 Motohakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-shimo-gun Kanagawa, 250-0522 Japan
    Tel: 81-(0)460-83-1121
    Getting Here: Four free shuttle buses for Ryuguden run each day to Odawara Station (starting and returning at The Prince Hakone, reservations required). Odakyu Hakone Highway Bys to Hakone-En station. Included in Hakone Free Pass.

    DAY 2
    _SAM0469
    It started snowing the next morning, hence the view from our room is really stunning.
    _SAM0484

    _SAM0488

    P2090099
    Our ryokan also serve Japanese style breakfasts, which consist of multiple dishes and feature local and seasonal specialties. It was so good that I finished the big bowl of rice, so satisfying!
    IMG_5150
    Our ryokan is located within Prince Grand Resort Hakone and there are many amenities such as golf course, restaurants, work shop, souvenir shop and aquarium located within the same area. We were there during winter, so we got to experience snow sledding, so fun! 2 hours for 800 yen.
    _SAM0522
    Yosegi-zaiku (寄木細工) or Japanese traditional parquetry, is a specialty of Hakone. Using different types and colors of woods, the crafter will assemble them to create distinctive, brilliant patterns. We had the opportunity to make our own yosegi coaster here at Prince Grand Resort Hakone.

    Prince Grand Resort Hakone
    Getting Here: Odakyu Hakone Highway Bys to Hakone-En station. Included in Hakone Free Pass.
    _SAM0595
    Hakone is such a beautiful place, even during winter.
    _SAM0601
    From Hakone, you can take the train to Odawara station via the Odakyu line. Alight at Isehara station, then head to bus terminal #4, take the Kanagawa Chuo Kotsu Bus (300 yen one-way) to the base of Mt. Oyama (25 min) and a short 15 minute walk uphill to the Oyama Cable Car Station.
    _SAM0602
    Mt Oyama is famous for wooden “koma” (spinning tops), you can play a game by guessing how many koma you spotted while walking uphill to the cable car station.
    kanagawa-001
    The hike up to the cable car station can be quite tiring but the slope is full of atmosphere, with tiny shops and restaurants. We stopped by for a tofu kaiseki lunch at Ogawaya (とうふ処 小川家) as Oyama is also famous for tofu. The delicate flavor and elegant presentations, which are almost like works of art, will delight your eye and your palette. Average spend is about 3000 yen per pax.
    Ogawaya (とうふ処 小川家)
    Add: 637 Oyama Isehara Kanagawa
    Tel:0463-95-2270 (+81-463-95-2270)
    Hours: 11:30~16:00, 17:00~19:00
    Getting here: Located on the way up to Oyama Cable Car station.
    _SAM0650
    We were here during early February, and Mt Oyama was snowing heavily, making the scenery looking so beautiful.
    _SAM0654
    Mt Oyama is actually a famous spot for red leaf viewing during autumn. The view on the way up to the mountain is truly magical, we heard.
    _SAM0715
    We rode on Oyama’s brand-new cable cars to the Oyama Afuri Shrine, where the view from the shrine is rated two stars by Michelin Green Guide 2015 . Costing 450 yen one-way, the cable car service begins at 9 am and departs every 20 minutes.

    The new cable car features a large window on the descending side so that passengers can enjoy the view of Mt. Oyama’s great nature.
    _SAM0664

    _SAM0667
    At the peak is Oyama Afuri Shrine, which was built more than 2000 years ago.
    _SAM0671
    On a clear day, one can enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Fuji, Enoshima Island and Tokyo.
    _SAM0713

    _SAM0681
    Be sure to bring a water bottle so you can fill up with the shrine’s auspicious fresh spring water.
    _SAM0688
    Mt. Oyama doesn’t see many foreign tourists, but we have fallen in love with this beautiful and charming mountain.
    _SAM0718
    From Mt Oyama, we traveled to Yokohama to spend a night there, explore the city a bit before going to Tokyo.
    P2100185
    First stop was Yokohama Red Brick House. Formally the Customs Inspection House for Yokohama Bay’s shipping activities in the early 1920’s, these handsome red brick buildings have been converted into one of Yokohama’s most popular family or date spots.
    _SAM0778
    Inside the building there are many unique shops and restaurants. My favourite Bill’s is in here and there’s no queue!

    Yokohama Red Brick House
    Hours: 1st Building: 10:00am-7:00pm / 2nd Building: 10:00am-8:00pm(Restaurants open until 11:00pm)
    Getting Here:
    6 min. walk from Nihon Odori or Bashamichi Station: Minato Mirai Line
    15 min. walk from Kannai or Sakuragicho Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line
    yokohama-111
    Minato Mirai 21 is a famous spot for night scenery in Yokohama. There are many attraction and shopping malls located here too, such as Landmark Plaza, World Potters, Cup Noodles Museum, Sky Garden Observatory and etc.

    Minato Mirai
    Getting Here: Most attractions are within a 10 minute walk from either Minato Mirai or Sakuragicho station.
    _SAM0743
    For dinner, we went to Kissho at Landmark Tower for shabu-shabu. From the restaurant we get to admire nice views of Yokohama Bay.
    kanagawa1-001
    Our shabu-shabu dinner course consists of sashimi, onsen egg, noodles, beef slices, vegetables and etc. The soup base is actually very clear, almost tasteless so that you can focus on the beef taste. Hence, some of us liked it and some did not enjoy the broth. Average spend is about 6000-7000 yen per pax.

    Kissho @ The Landmark Tower
    Hours: 11AM–3:30PM, 5–10PM daily
    Tel: +81 45-222-5522
    TH_YHBAY_EN_main_visual_03,0
    We stayed overnight at Yokohama Bay Hotel that has the best location with easy access to almost everywhere! The Hotel is located in the Minato Mirai 21 waterfront area of Yokohama, hence the great view from our room. It is attached to a mall so there is always things to see and do. The room is spacious, modern and clean.

    DAY 3
    _SAM0763
    We really enjoy the hotel’s breakfast too – great selection of both western and Japanese cuisine, almost everything is freshly made to order and the view from the buffet restaurant is amazing.
    _SAM0757
    The Yokohama Bay Hotel 
    Add: 2-3-7 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Pref., Japan 220-8543
    Tel : (81) 45 682 2222
    Getting Here:
    A minute walk from Minatomirai Station, Minatomirai Subway Line.
    Approximately 10 minutes walk from Sakuragicho Station,which is serviced by the JR Keihin Tohoku Line (Negishi,Yokohama Line) and Municipal Subway Line.
    _SAM0794
    We were so blessed with great weather in Yokohama! From the hotel, it was a 5 minutes walk to Cup Noodles Museum.
    _SAM0806
    I’ve been wanting to visit the Cup Noodles Museum and it felt so surreal to be here, looking at hundreds to thousands of Nissan Cup Noodles on display.
    _SAM0807
    The first instant ramen was introduced by Momofuku Ando in year 1958. His story is truly inspiring, after we watched a short clip about this legendary man.
    _SAM0830

    _SAM0847

    _SAM0863
    Do you know that you can make your own cup noodles here for a small fee of 300 yen?
    _SAM0871
    In a cup that you design, select your favorite soup from among four varieties and four toppings from among 12 ingredients. Altogether, there are 5,460 flavor combinations.
    P2100225
    We also tried Cup Noodles soft serve at the noodles bazaar located on 4F. It was surprisingly good!
    P2100229
    _SAM0934
    Before making your way out, remember to drop by the souvenir shop! There were so many Nissin related merchandises for sale.

    Cup Noodles Museum
    Add: 2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama 231-0001 Japan
    Tel: General information: 045-345-0918 / Chicken Ramen Factory reservations: 045-345-0825 (Reception hours: 10:00-18:00, holidays excluded)
    Hours: 10:00-18:00 (last admission 17:00) Holidays: Tuesdays (when Tuesday is a holiday, closed the following day), year end / new year holidays
    Admission: Adults: 500 yen (tax included) / high school age children and younger admitted free
    Getting Here: 8 minute walk from the Minatomirai line Bashamichi Station/12 minute walk from the JR/Shieichikatetsu Sakuragicho Station
    _SAM0945
    Lunch was an exciting affair, at Magurodonya Miuramisakiko in World Potters. It is also known as one of the better sushi joints in Yokohama.
    _SAM0954
    We were so lucky to be there on a Saturday afternoon because they have a giant tuna cutting show every Saturday. We watched in awe as a big fat tuna is cut right in front of our eyes. The chefs were really entertaining and animated too, everyone had a good laugh.
    P2100242
    It’s a typical conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, but the chefs will make you fresh sushi if you request it.
    P2100250
    The sushis were really good, with thick, luscious and sweet seafood on top. You must also order the grilled tuna collar bone when you are here, so delicious and fatty!

    Magurodonya Miuramisakiko, Yokohama World Porters
    Add: World Porters 1F
    Tel: 045-222-2161
    Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    P2100266
    After lunch, we headed to YOKOHAMA HAKKEIJIMA SEA PARADISE, one of the top aquariums in Japan. It is a very large amusement park with specialty shops , great restaurants, a marina and a hotel located among wide grass and flower gardens.
    SAM_1024
    The highlights for our visit is the daily marine mammals shows in which animals put on a series of performances.
    _SAM1008

    _SAM1016

    _SAM1047
    The Fureai Lagoon is where visitors can pet a dolphin, beluga whale, and walrus. It is very safe, even for children, and the trainers and staff are very attentive.
    _SAM1050
    Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
    Hours: Weekday 10am to 10pm, Weekend 9am to 10pm
    Admission:
    3000 yen (Aqua Resorts)
    3000 yen (unlimited rides at Pleasure Land) or individual rides at 300-1000 yen
    5050 yen (Aqua Resorts and unlimited rides at Pleasure Land)
    Getting Here:
    By Keikyu Railway and Kanazawa Seaside Line: Take the Keikyu Main Line from Yokohama to Kanazawa-Hakkei (20 minutes, 280 yen, frequent limited express trains) and then the Kanazawa Seaside Line from Kanazawa-Hakkei to Hakkeijima (7 minutes, 260 yen, frequent trains).
    By Japan Railways and Kanazawa Seaside Line: Take the JR Negishi Line from Yokohama to Shin-Sugita (15 minutes, 220 yen, frequent trains) and then the Kanazawa Seaside Line from Shin-Sugita to Hakkeijima (18 minutes, 310 yen, frequent trains).
    _SAM1064
    We also headed to Mitsui Outlet Park Yokohama Bayside for some shopping fun.
    _SAM1072
    My favourite Franc Franc can be found here!

    With approximately 85 outlet shops which are mainly directly-managed by major brands, there is sure something for everyone!
    _SAM1061
    Mitsui Outlet Park Yokohama Bayside
    Add: 5-2, Shiraho, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, 236-0007
    Hours: 10 am to 10 pm daily
    Getting Here: Torihama Station: Kanazawa Seaside Line

    That’s all for our three eventful and fruitful days in Kanagawa Prefecture. Located on south of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture has got so much to offer in terms of food, culture, scenery and shopping. Next up, 3 days itinerary in Tokyo!

    1 Comment

    Leave a Reply