Hakone is one of the most famous hot spring (onsen) resort towns in Japan, located in the southwestern part of Kanagawa prefecture. Accessible under two hours by train from Tokyo, it is a popular tourist spot to break away from the hectic city life for a relaxing onsen experience.
Most people perceive that an overnight stay in the onsen ryokan (traditional Japanese inn with hot spring bath) would be too expensive. However, there are cheaper alternatives to consider if you are on a budget. Given the convenient access of Hakone from Tokyo, you may make a day trip to soak in one of the many lovely onsens in the region. Or you may also choose to stay overnight in one of the many affordable Airbnb or budget ryokans so that you have more time to explore Hakone. This article will guide you to the best onsen day packages and affordable ryokan and vacation rentals in Hakone that you can enjoy without burning a big hole in your wallet.
Explore Hakone’s hot springs in a day
If you only have a day to spare in Hakone, make sure you check out the popular hot spring resorts personally! Immerse yourself in the Japanese bathing culture and you will know why everyone loves an onsen experience. Here are the 4 best budget public baths you can explore for a day trip in Hakone:
1. Tenzan Tohji-kyo
Unlike many other Japanese onsen ryokans, Tenzan Tohji-kyo welcomes guests with tattoos. Besides, with 5 male baths and 6 female baths on the premises, you will be able to hop around the different baths in this large and beautiful ryokan. Soak in the lovely artificial waterfall formed by the many hot water baths. Feel the water temperature rise as you ascend to the baths at the higher levels. Do head to the traditional sauna by rubbing some salt onto your body for a good sweat. After enjoying all the relaxing onsen baths, take a power nap at the tatami rest area just in front of the baths.
Tenzan Tohji-kyo (天山湯治郷)
Address: 208 Yumoto-jaya, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: 12.90 USD
Opening Hours: 9am - 11pm daily (enter by 10pm). Closed for 5 days in mid-December for maintenance.
Access: 10-minute shuttle bus ride (100 JPY or 1 USD) from Hakone-Yumoto Station.
Contact: +81 460-86-4126
2. Hakone Yuryo
Opened since spring 2013, Hakone Yuryo is a refined public bath built on the former site of the Hakone Begonia Garden. Forget about your worries and stress as you enter the traditional hot spring resort, complete with indoor and open-air baths, sauna, and relaxation spa facilities.
While you are here to unwind and soak your troubles away, don’t forget to tuck into a hearty meal of authentic Irori cuisine affordably priced from 2,900 JPY (28.60 USD). Traditionally, Irori cuisine is cooked carefully over charcoal fire in a sunken hearth. In addition, enjoy some drinks and soft-serve ice cream at the take-out counter, or shop at the Miyagean gift shop for local specialties.
Hakone Yuryo (箱根湯寮)
Address: 4 Tonosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: 13.80 USD (1,400 JPY)
Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm on weekdays, until 10pm on weekends (last entry 1 hour before closing).
Access: 3-minute free shuttle bus ride from Hakone-Yumoto Station.
Contact: +81 427-49-1230
3. Hakone Green Plaza Hotel
Hakone Green Plaza Hotel’s natural hot spring baths come from the reputable Sengokuhara Onsen in Hakone. This is a splendid location where you can marvel at the beauty of Mount Fuji while enjoying a one-of-a-kind soak in the open-air onsen. Female guests will be delighted to know that the view from the female open-air bath is especially spectacular. Do hop indoors for the equally-relaxing large indoor bath too!
After the relaxing bath, enjoy a rejuvenating massage or chill over a drink with your buddies at the Soleil Lounge in the hotel. If you want to give yourself a little treat, dine at the on-site restaurant for a delectable meal prepared using fresh seasonal ingredients.
Hakone Green Plaza Hotel (ホテルグリーンプラザ箱根)
Address: 1244-2 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: 15.90 USD (1,600 JPY)
Opening Hours: Friday - Tuesday 1pm - 12am; Wednesday - Thursday 3pm - 12am for non-hotel guests
Access: 3-minute walk from Ubako Station on the Hakone Ropeway, or 5-minute walk from Ubako Bus Stop
Contact: +81 460-84-8611/ +81 570-092-489
4. Hakone Kowakien Yunessun
Not everyone can be at ease with wearing their birthday suits in front of so many strangers in traditional Japanese onsens. At the theme-park style Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, there is the traditional no-clothes zone as well as the Yunessun spa zone, where you can wear swimsuits and enjoy a bath with the opposite sex! There are numerous amusing baths at Yunessun spa zone. Enjoy a soak in your favourite beverages like red wine, green tea and coffee. There is also the special fish spa for fishes to nibble away the dead skin on your feet.
For an authentic Japanese bathing experience, just proceed to “Komorebi No Yu” and “Mori No Yu” (no-clothes zone) where the high-quality cypress bath and open-air bath are. Unwind from the hustles of city life as you relax in the baths amidst the scenic mountains of Hakone. This is certainly a family-friendly hot spring resort that you can spend a fulfilling day in!
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun (箱根小涌園)
Address: 1297 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: From 18.80 USD (1,900 JPY)
Opening Hours: Please refer to official website
Access: Please refer to official website
Contact: +81 460-82-4141
Affordable overnight stay around Hakone
If possible, try to make time for an overnight Hakone trip so that you can enjoy the charming region at leisure. Besides the must-do onsen, Hakone is blessed with natural beauty since it is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Stay in one of these nice economical accommodations and explore the above-mentioned lovely onsens at the same time!
If you enjoy making new friends when on a holiday, Hakone Tent may just be the ideal choice for you. Opened in June 2014, Hakone Tent is a modern countryside onsen guest house remodelled from an old Japanese inn. Depending on your budget and preference, stay in either the dormitory (separated by gender) or private room. Just like other hostels and guest houses, feel free to use the shared kitchen or chill in the restaurant and bar and interact with other fellow travellers.
What sets Hakone Tent apart from other hostels is the natural onsen baths with water direct from the famous Owakudani hot springs. Relax in the sulfur-rich white hot water baths that is said to cure frozen shoulders, neuralgia, skin problems, blood circulation and so on. As the hot spring baths are open to guests anytime of the day, you can enjoy a curative soak for a long day out even late at night, when all other public baths are closed!
Address: 1320-257 Gora, Hakone, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 34 USD for a dorm bed
Number of Guests: up to 3 guests
Access: 2-minute walk from Gora Station on the Hakone Tozan Line
Contact: +81 460-83-8021
Susumu’s Gora Rm is just 2 stops away from the start of Hakone Tozan Railway at Ohiradai Station. As one of Hakone’s 17 hot spring areas, there are plenty of nice public baths in the neighbourhood. Not only does the English-speaking host offer to pick you up at Ohiradai Station, he will also provide you with local tips on what to do in Hakone. The best part of it all, free ticket to the nearest hot spring is provided if you stay here! Furthermore, with the train station just a stone’s throw away, getting around to explore other sights in Hakone is very convenient too.
Susumu’s Gora Rm
Address: Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, ohiradai, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 41 USD for a twin-sharing room
Number of Guests: up to 2 guests
Access: 3-minute walk from Ohiradai Station on the Hakone Tozan Line
Located near the terminal station on the Hakone Tozan Line, Ryokan Oyado Hakone Hachiri no Yu is a new onsen ryokan opened in April 2016. Although its location is slightly off the beaten path, you are assured of a quiet and peaceful stay. Nonetheless, everything you need is within convenient access. There is an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy a hearty Japanese meal. The Sengoku and Sengoku-annaisho bus stops are a 2-minute walk from the ryokan, while the supermarket and convenience store are also a short walk away. You can also explore the beautiful Hakone Gora Park and Hakone Open-Air Museum nearby.
Of course, this traditional Japanese inn has 2 on-site natural hot spring baths with milky white water that you can use anytime you wish. The onsen is known to improve your health, lower your high blood pressure and treat skin diseases. Reservations can be made at the front desk if your prefer a private bath.
Ryokan Oyado Hakone Hachiri no Yu
Address: 116 Miyagino, Hakone, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 74 USD for a single room
Number of Guests: up to 6 guests
Access: 500-metre (1640 feet) walk from Gora Station on the Hakone Tozan Line
Cradled in the midst of a tranquil and lush setting, this two-story house is the perfect spot for a romantic weekend getaway for the entire family. Aside from the usual package of amenities, the rental also offers an open-air wood cypress hot spring bath that guests can use without any additional cost, so you can soak in the onsen for as long as you want to! It also enjoys close proximity to a range of attractions, such as the Hakone Pora Art Museum, Glass Forest Art Museum, and the Little Prince Museum. As if those weren’t enough to entice guests, the host has also kindly provided a free pickup at the Hakone Tozan Railway Sculpture Forest station, so the accommodation will be within easy reach after a long flight!
Two-bedroom house with private onsen
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken, Japan.
Price: from 75 USD
Number of guests: 6
Access: 2-minute walk from Pola Museum station
This property is so unique, it’s worth every ounce of adoration. It features cozy wooden sleeping pods which promise comfort and privacy at the end of a thrilling day. The friendly host is also more than happy to recommend guests the best hot springs to try out near the guesthouse, so a pleasant onsen experience is guaranteed when you opt for a stay here! Upon your return from the onsen, you can mingle around with the other guests in the bar next to the guesthouse while sipping on some local plum wine. Should you wish to explore other parts of Hakone, the Hakone Yumoto station is also within easy reach.
Brand new guesthouse with sleeping pods
Address: Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa, Japan
Price: from 73 USD
Number of guests: 2
Access: 10-minute walk from Hakone Yumoto station
Izakaya Guest House is a traditional and unassuming Japanese-style lodging strategically located near Hakone-Yumoto Station, the gateway to Hakone. Although there is no shower facility on-site, it’s not a problem when the popular Tenzan Tohji-kyo (no. 1 onsen above) is just nearby. Entrance to Tenzan is cheaper, thanks to the host’s discount coupon!
For budget hearty meals in the neighbourhood. check out the on-site restaurant, or the cold soba noodle house nearby. Explore your way around town easily with useful tips from the friendly host and convenient access to public transport. With a reasonable price, great location and awesome host, Izakaya is certainly a good base for you to explore Hakone!
Izakaya Guest House
Address: Hakone, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 30.80 USD for a triple-sharing room
Number of Guests: up to 3 guests
Access: 10-minute walk from Hakone-Yumoto Station
A tight budget should not stop you from enjoying Hakone
As you can see from the list above, there are many reasonably-priced options for a day trip or overnight onsen experience in Hakone. Having a tight budget for your holiday should not stop you from enjoying the superb Hakone hot springs. Let the natural mineral water cleanse your mind and wash your troubles away as you enjoy your soak and marvel at the scenic beauty all around. Go ahead to plan your trip to the mountainous town soon!