Hakone is a popular onsen town located in the Ashigarashimo District of Kanagawa Prefecture. Any seasoned Japan traveller would have made the two-hour train ride from central Tokyo to take a dip in Hakone’s hot springs. However, from traditional kaiseki cuisine to hole-in-the-wall delicacies, Hakone is home to delicious offerings that can’t be missed. Next time you find yourself in the Hakone area, check out these local places for great eats.
Getting to Hakone
Hakone is easily accessible from central Tokyo by the Odakyu Romance Car. The Romance Car departs from Odakyu Shinjuku station (which is connected from JR Shinjuku station via underground) multiple times a day, taking a little over an hour to reach Hakone. Additionally, a round trip Hakone Free Pass costs 5,410 JPY (46 USD) for 2-days, or 5,640 JPY (48 USD) for 3-days.
1. Traditional kaiseki-ryōri at Hananoyado Fukuya
If you are planning to stay at a ryokan (Japanese-style inn), be sure to choose a venue that includes kaiseki-ryōri on its menu. Kaiseki-ryōri, or kaiseki, for short, is a traditional, multi-course Japanese dinner. A wide range of special skills and techniques are required to put together a kaiseki-ryōri course, and the food is often so beautiful that it is almost like art.
Hakone is no stranger to kaiseki-ryōri. One sampling of kaiseki-ryōri you should be sure not to miss is the course at Hananoyado Fukuya. The course changes seasonally, featuring local and seasonal flavours and also sushi on the side.
Address: 571-18 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Price: from 29,160 JPY (250 USD)/person
Access: Shuttle bus from Hakone Port bus stop
Contact: +81 460-86-2121
2. Tai gohan from Youraku
For another take on traditional kaiseki cuisine, try out the “tai gohan” offerings from Youraku. Located along the Hayakawa river, Youraku prides itself on meticulous dishes where “tai,” or red snapper, is the star. There are a couple of different menus to choose from, with a takeout option also available, but we recommend the Kyoto-style kaiseki.
All of the ingredients are strictly selected, with red snapper prepared in every way imaginable. You can enjoy “tai gohan” or “tai ochazuke” (tea poured over hot rice), “tai sashimi” and more. If you want to eat at Youraku, be sure to make plans in advance; seats are limited in the shop and you will need a reservation for a kaiseki course.
Address: 84 Tounosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: Lunch from 2800 JPY (24 USD). Dinner from 4500 JPY (39 USD).
Opening Hours: Lunch time 11:30am - 2:30pm (last order). Dinner time 5:30pm - 7:00pm (last order) opened on Fri, Sat, Sun. Closed on public holidays and Wednesdays.
Access: 12-minute walk from Hakone Yumoto station. 1-minute walk from Tounosawa bus stop.
Contact: +81 460-85-8878
3. Black curry from Waku Waku Kitchen
Ōwakudani is a volcanic valley, one of the main attractions in the Hakone area. After checking out the active sulphur vents, be sure to get in line and get a plate for the buffet at Kuro Tamago Kan’s Waku Waku Kitchen. Although there are many delicious options on the menu, our recommendation is the “Genso Owakudani Black Curry,” featuring a pleasant blend of spices and squid ink.
Also popular is the “Black Yakisoba,” and a variety of “Kuro-tamago,” or “Black Egg” treats that you can take home as souvenirs.
Waku Waku Kitchen
Address: 1251 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Price: 1800 JPY (15 USD) for adults, 1500 JPY (13 USD) for children (45-minute lunch, all-you-can-eat course)
Opening Hours: 11 am-3 pm. Open year round.
Access: 1-minute walk from Owakudani bus stop
Contact: +81 460-84-9605
4. "Chikara mochi" from Amazake-chaya
If you need a little pick-me-up, hop on the bus to Amazake-chaya for some “chikara mochi.” Amazake-chaya, a traditional teahouse reminiscent of the Edo period, is well-known for its “amazake” (traditional sweet non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice), but locals also enjoy the “chikara mochi,” or “power mochi.”
There are three different flavour offerings: “isobe” (soy sauce), “kurogoma” (soy bean powder mixed with black sesame) or “uguisu” (soy bean powder, pictured above). Enjoy amazake and oden with your mochi for a complete meal.
Address: 395-1 Hatajuku Futagoyama, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 250 JPY (2.20 USD)
Opening Hours: 7 am-5:30 pm.
Access: 1-minute walk from Amazake-chaya bus stop
Contact: +81 460-83-6418
5. "Onsen stew" bread from Watanabe Bakery
After a long soak in the hot springs, treat yourself to another “onsen” by eating Watanabe Bakery’s onsen stew bread. The bakery itself has been around since the Meiji period, with a variety of different baked goods on sale.
Our recommendation is the rich “onsen stew” bread, freshly-cooked French bread bowl with warm stew in the centre. The stew is filled with different ingredients and warm, just like a real hot spring. The best part? Ending your meal by eating the warm, stew-infused bread bowl!
Address: 343-3, Miyanoshita, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 650 JPY (5.60 USD)
Opening Hours: (April - September) 9:30 am-5:30 pm. (October - March) 9:30 am-5 pm. Closed Wed. and 3rd Tue.
Access: 8-minute walk from Miyanoshita station
Contact: +81 460-82-2127
6. Gratin bread from Pan no Mimi
One of Hakone’s best-kept secrets is the Pan no Mimi bakery. Although the bakery is located in a small alleyway, it is very popular among locals and tourists alike and there is often a line outside the door.
Pan no Mimi orders the bread for its “pan-gratin,” or gratin bread, from Watanabe Bakery itself. The gratin is filled with local seafood and onions, and is extremely rich.
Pan no Mimi
Address: 170 Miyagino, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture
Price: from 400 JPY (3.40 USD)
Opening Hours: 10 am- 5m. Closed on Tues. and Wed.
Access: 1-minute walk from Miyashino Shisho-mae bus stop
Contact: +81 460-82-4480
Hakone: Hot springs and hot eats
To most, Hakone may be known as an onsen town, but there are also a variety of different dining options. Whether you are looking to eat a multi-course kaiseki meal after a soak in the onsen, or just want to pick up some Japanese-style sweets or baked goods, Hakone has an option for every taste palate and every budget.
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