Hakone is a hidden gem in Japan. A complete antithesis of the monstrous, buzzing metropolis of the sprawling Japanese city of Tokyo, Hakone is famous for its tranquillity and nature.

The mountainous town of Hakone is famous for its views of the iconic Mount Fuji whose beauty towers over Lake Ashinoko. It’s the ideal place to visit if you want to marvel at Japan’s MESMERIZING natural beauty while relaxing in one of Hakone’s many hot spring (onsen) resorts.

It’s a great base for hiking and outdoor activities year-round. Cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, trees turn golden in the fall, and snow falls in the winter. It’s bucket-list kinda shit.

While figuring out your itinerary might be easy, deciding where to stay in Hakone is another story. There are a variety of neighbourhoods to choose from and each offers something different to its visitors.

The best area to stay in Hakone completely depends on you, your budget and your itinerary. Lucky for you, I’ve made your job a hell of a lot easier! I’ve compiled the top places to stay in Hakone and categorised them by interest and budget.

By the end of this article, you will be an expert in the areas of Hakone and ready to book your trip.

So, without further ado – let’s get into the good stuff!

Girl hugs giant Totoro from the Studio Ghibli Film in Japan.
I LOVE Japan!
Photo: @audyscala

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Where to Stay in Hakone

Not looking for a specific area to stay in? These are our top recommendations for accommodation in Hakone.

Hakone Shrine
Hakone Shrine, Hakone

Centrally Located Home | Best Airbnb in Hakone

This charming two-bedroom apartment can sleep up to 6 guests. It sits in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by mountains but is just an 8-minute walk away from Hakone-Yumoto station.

The flat is family-friendly and has everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay.

GuestHouse Azito | Best Hostel in Hakone

This conveniently located hostel is perfect for budget travelers. Situated in Hakone-Yumoto, it’s close to public transport connections, bars, and shops. The hostel offers private and shared rooms that are traditionally and comfortably furnished.

Hakone Sengokuhara Prince Hotel | Best Hotel in Sengokuhara

With its spacious rooms, epic views, and incredible location, this is one of the best hotels in Hakone. It’s family-friendly and boasts three on-site restaurants. It’s perfect whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a week of adventure.

Hakone Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Hakone

FIRST TIME IN HAKONE
Tonosawa, Hakone
FIRST TIME IN HAKONE

Tonosawa

The area of Tonosawa, with its perfect spot next to the river, is where to stay in Hakone for anyone wanting a more secluded, mountainous holiday.

ON A BUDGET
Hakone-Yumoto, Hakone
ON A BUDGET

Hakone-Yumoto

This town is the gateway to Hakone and as a result has also become the area’s tourist centre, featuring a whole plethora of shops, hotels, restaurants, museums, and people dressed in 19th-century Edo period costumes

FOR NATURE
Motohakone, Hakone
FOR NATURE

Motohakone

This is the main section of Hakone proper and one which features the area’s most famous sights, the prime two of which are Mount Fuji (this area arguably has the best views), Lake Ashinoko, and Mount Hakone

MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO STAY
Gora, Hakone
MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO STAY

Gora

Gora is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, which is great for outdoor onsen and therefore perfect for city-dwellers looking for a slice of countryside. It can be reached via the Hakone Ropeway, which is quite an adventure in itself

FOR FAMILIES
Sengokuhara, Hakone
FOR FAMILIES

Sengokuhara

The large area of Sengokuhara, to the north of Hakone, is a wonderland of natural beauty and outdoor activities. There are hills here that offer amazing views across a romantic and awe-inspiring landscape; long suzuki grass covers the hillsides becoming a spectacle as the seasons change, particularly in the autumn months

Just 100 kilometers to the west of Tokyo lies Hakone, part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Visitors flock to the area to bathe in Hakone’s famous natural hot springs and to gaze across the serene Lake Ashinoko at the ever-impressive Mount Fuji.

Because of its stunning natural setting, Hakone has become one of the most popular destinations in Japan. Tokyoites enjoy weekend breaks in the clean country air away from the rush of the city.

If it’s your first time visiting Hakone, we recommend staying in Tonosawa. Nestled in the arms of a picturesque valley, this area is renowned for its hot spring resorts.

Bordering Tonosawa to the east is the relatively large area of Hakone-Yumoto: the gateway to Hakone. It’s the best place to base yourself if you’re backpacking Japan on a budget, as there are plenty of cheap accommodation options here.

Motohakone sits at the center of Hakone and features the main bulk of sightseeing activities in the area. Attractions include Lake Ashinoko and Mount Hakone itself, making it the best place to come if you’re visiting for nature.

To the northwest of Motohakone is the region’s main town area of Gora. This area features more shops and urban amenities than other areas, including parks, a selection of hotels, and a number of restaurants.

And lastly, there’s Sengokuhara. Located to the north of Gora this large area features its own small mountains, a slew of hotels, restaurants, museums, and more. This is the best place to come if you’re deciding where to stay in Hakone with your family.

All the areas in and around Hakone are beautiful, but some are quieter than others whilst some are better for hiking and tranquillity. Let’s explore them in more detail…

Hakone’s 5 Best Areas to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look at each of these areas in more detail. We’ve included our top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you know exactly what to expect.

1. Tonosawa – Where to Stay in Hakone for your First Visit

A beautiful hiking trail in Kyoto, Japan.
There are a large amount of hiking trails for every level of ability!
Photo: @audyscala

The area of Tonosawa, with its perfect spot next to the river, is where to stay in Hakone for anyone wanting a more secluded, mountainous holiday.

Here you can dip into one of several onsen, for which Tonosawa is famous, among the stunning views.

The atmosphere in this small town is exquisitely charming. With its old wooden houses lining the streets and peaceful atmosphere, this is a slice of old traditional Japan. For first-time visitors, this is the best place to get a taste of Hakone.

Senkei | Best Budget Hotel in Tonosawa

In place of a hostel, you can stay in this budget hotel with its very reasonable rooms. Choose from clean Western-style rooms or traditional tatami (Japanese-style straw mat) rooms; both come with private bathrooms and views of the stunning mountainside.

There’s a delicious breakfast served in the rooms every morning. The onsen are well maintained and perfect for relaxation.

Fukuzumiro Ryokan | Best Hotel in Tonosawa

There’s nothing quite like staying in a Japanese Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), especially one that was built over 100 years ago! Treat yourself to a world of Japanese hospitality and comfort; this is the kind of hotel you will never forget.

Private Onsen for 2 | Best Airbnb in Tonosawa

If you’re looking for a traditional ryokan experience, this is where you should stay! Enjoy your very own onsen with dinner (about 6 courses) and breakfast included. Over 70 tons of fresh hot spring water flows into their onsens each day. Only 15 mins away from Yumoto Station on foot (5 mins by shuttle bus). This a full legitimate Japanese experience.

Things to See and Do in Tonosawa

  1. Eat traditional soba (buckwheat noodles) at Soma.
  2. Try a bit of ziplining at Forest Adventure Hakone.
  3. Climb Mount Tonomine…
  4. … And admire the Buddhist temple of Amidaji halfway up.
  5. Check out the charming unmanned Tonosawa Station sandwiched between two tunnels.
  6. Get lunch at Kinjiro’s Rice and Makunochi Bento.
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2. Hakone-Yumoto – Where to Stay in Hakone on a Budget

This town is the gateway to Hakone and as a result, has also become the area’s tourist center. It’s got a whole plethora of shops, hotels, restaurants, museums, and people dressed in 19th-century Edo period costumes.

Staying here is convenient for a quick trip to Hakone if you’re visiting Tokyo since it’s the closest area in Hakone to the capital. It’s also loaded with accommodation, meaning you’re more likely to find a cheaper place to stay here.

GuestHouse Azito | Best Hostel in Hakone-Yumoto

Close to the train station and bus stop, this budget hotel and hostel is the perfect place for budget travelers. Everything is very clean – even the shared bathrooms. Guests have the choice of private rooms or well-designed bunk beds in a dorm.

Yumoto Fujiya Hotel | Best Hotel in Hakone-Yumoto

This hotel sits just across from the main train station. It offers spacious rooms with beautiful views of tree-covered mountains. There’s a swimming pool and hot spring on-site, and the hotel is ideally located for exploring the area.

2 Bedroom Garden House | Best Airbnb in Hakone-Yumoto

If you want to be surrounded by Hakone’s beautiful nature but can’t spend too much money, then check out this guesthouse. You will be conveniently located near a 7-11, many museums, restaurants, and shops. The Mt. Kintoki hiking trail is also right nearby.

Things to See and Do in Hakone-Yumoto

  1. Choose from a selection of outdoor pools in the beautiful and traditional Tenzan Onsen.
  2. Learn about the area at the Hakone Town History Museum.
  3. Check out the antique toys and models on show at the Antique Toy Museum.
  4. Try out glass-blowing at the Glass Art Experience Workshop, close to the train station.
  5. Pay your respects at Kumano Shrine, one of the oldest in the area.
  6. Try and buy some sweet and tender traditionally made tofu at Hagino Tofu.
  7. Walk a section of the Old Tokaido Road – the ancient walking route between Tokyo and Kyoto.

3. Motohakone – Where to Stay in Hakone for Nature

Motohakone

This is the main section of Hakone and one which features the area’s most famous sights: Mount Fuji (this area arguably has the best views), Lake Ashinoko, and Mount Hakone. As a result, this area is often full of tourists – especially during the holidays.

This area can be quite pricey – especially by the lakeside onsen, which are of course stunning. But the beauty of the area – the lake’s shores, volcanic valleys, and hiking trails – make everything, including the price, very much worth it.

Centrally Located Home | Best Airbnb in Motohakone

This Japanese-style wooden building sits right on the shore of Lake Biwa. This large house is perfect for groups and families wanting to stay a stone’s throw from restaurants and natural attractions. The house offers all. the comforts of home, including a full kitchen, wifi, and laundry facilities.

Hakone Villa Bizan | Best Hakone hotel in Motohakone

With balconies that look over the lake, this charming hotel is in the best location for a bit of peace and quiet. The owners will make sure your stay goes smoothly and help you with local recommendations.

Rooms are decorated in a warm, modern style and there is a restaurant and bar downstairs to enjoy in the evening.

Moto-Hakone Guest House | Best Affordable Hotel in Motohakone

If you’re looking for a Ryokan in Hakone that doesn’t break the bank, try out the ryokan-style accommodation on a budget. You can dive into the Japanese lifestyle here, soaking in the onsen and sleeping in yukata on tatami mats.

Things to See and Do in Motohakone

  1. Ride the Hakone Ropeway and marvel at the incredible vistas it affords.
  2. Take a pirate ship (yep, really) sightseeing cruise on the lake for great views of Fuji.
  3. Check out the recreation of an Edo-period Tokaido Highway Checkpoint.
  4. Visit the former Imperial Summer Palace.
  5. Take the funitel up to the awesome volcanic valley of Owakudani…
  6. … And try a kuro-tamago, an egg with a black shell boiled in the volcanic water!
  7. Eat from a delicious and eclectic menu at the cute Bakery and Table restaurant.
  8. Take a stroll around Hakone-en, a lakeside wetland garden with woodland plants.
  9. Go to the Peace torii (shrine gate).
  10. Visit the less touristed Hakone Shrine.
  11. Admire the beautiful Japanese paintings on show at Narukawa Art Museum.
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4. Gora – Most Beautiful Place to Stay in Hakone

Gora, Hakone

Specifically created to be an onsen town – hot springs were discovered here as the railroad was being built in the early 20th-century – Gora is very popular for where to stay in Hakone. Hotels in Gora get very busy (so book in advance), but this also means that the town has quite a bustling energy to it. Even if you don’t end up staying here, a visit to Gora should definitely feature on your Hakone itinerary.

Gora is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, which is great for city-dwellers looking for a slice of countryside. It can be reached via the Hakone Ropeway, which is quite an adventure in itself.

Tent Twin Room for 2 | Best Airbnb in Gora

This is a private room for two with a shared bathroom. And for those who like the real Japanese experience, the room has Japanese style mattress on a tatami floor! They have shared bathrooms on the 1st and 2nd floors. There is a bar and lounge area on the 1st floor where you can order food and drinks from the menu. Two hot springs are located inside the main building and are free to use 24-7, until check-out. They also provide an option for breakfast which can be ordered when you check-in.

Hakone Guest House Gaku | Affordable Hakone hotel in Gora

Experience Japanese culture and meet new people in this fun guesthouse. Rooms a large, neat, and feature soft futon beds. The shared living room provides space to relax and have a chat with fellow travelers, while the rooftop terrace boasts incredible panoramic views of the area.

Hakone Gora Kanon | Best Hakone hotel in Gora

Newly decorated and very comfortable, this warm and welcoming hotel offers the ideal mix of fantastic location and modern Japanese design.

Sitting just on the banks of the river, guests can spend time relaxing in the stone rooms or enjoying onsen with views that look out over the treetops.

Things to See and Do in Gora

  1. Chill out at the Hakone Gora Park with its pretty rose garden, tropical greenhouse, and fountain.
  2. Stop for traditional tea at the tea house here.
  3. Go to the Hakone Art Museum and admire its beautiful moss gardens.
  4. Take a look at the Hakone Museum of Photography celebrating the natural beauty of the area.
  5. Grab a coffee whilst you’re there!
  6. Eat traditional-style tonkatsu (pork cutlet with egg and rice) at Tamura Ginkatsu-Tei.
  7. Glimpse into the past at Hakone Meissen Antique Museum.
  8. People-watch in the morning at Cafe Meissen near Gora Station.

5. Sengokuhara – Where to Stay in Hakone for Families

Sengokuhara, Hakone
Photo: Seiya Ishibashi (Flickr)

Sengokuhara is a wonderland of natural beauty and outdoor activities. The hills here offer amazing views across a romantic and awe-inspiring landscape.

There are also golf courses for those interested in a game, as well as many Japanese cottages and hotels set away from the more touristy places further south.

The area is a lot quieter as a result, making it the best place to stay if you’re traveling with the whole clan.

Centrally located home with 4 beds | Best Airbnb in Sengokuhara

This charming Japanese apartment is located in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by mountains. It’s baby and child-friendly and provides a crib, children’s toys, and children’s tableware. It’s got all the comforts of home, so you’ll have a solid base for exploring Hakone.

Hakone Sengokuhara Prince Hotel | Best Hotel in Sengokuhara

Want a hotel with scenic views? Gotcha.

Look out over the vibrant mountains and lush green scenery. These views can be enjoyed from your room, the onsen, and pretty much everywhere else in the hotel. Rooms are modern and cozy, and there are three restaurants on-site to choose from.

Japan Countryside | Best Hostel in Sengokuhara

With its amazingly helpful and kind staff, this guesthouse stands out above others in the area. The owners here will go out of their way to make sure your stay is the best it can be.

Located just across the road from a bus stop, it’s easy to travel around Hakone from here.

The rooms are simple but clean and come with views of the mountains. The guesthouse also has a cafe so you don’t have to go far to grab some tasty food.

Things to See and Do in Sengokuhara

  1. Visit the subterranean Pola Museum of Art – also offering a serene forest trail.
  2. Gaze upon the Susuki Grass Fields, which are particularly known for their beauty in autumn.
  3. Browse the jewelry and glassworks at Lalique Museum Hakone.
  4. Try some very good sushi with interesting options (and an English menu) at Hakone Sushi.
  5. Go to the Little Prince Museum honoring 100 years of the book and its author.
  6. Stroll around Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands.
  7. Eat delicious baked goods, including egg tarts, at Hakone Rusk.
  8. Play a spot of golf at Hakone Country Club.
  9. Chill out at the parkland of Sengokuhara Plateau.
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Hakone

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Hakone and where to stay.

What To Pack For Hakone

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

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Keep your laundry organized and stink free
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Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Hakone

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Hakone

Nestled among some of Japan’s most beautiful places and settings, Hakone is one of the most beautiful and relaxing stops on any Japan trip.

It’s the ideal place to stay near Mount Fuji for anyone keen on visiting this incredible pilgrimage site, as well as those looking for a quieter escape from Tokyo.

If you’re still not sure where to stay, we highly recommend Gora. This stunning destination has a bit of everything and isn’t as touristy as other areas.

GuestHouse Azito is our top recommendation for accommodation in Hakone, offering traditional accommodation for a budget-friendly rate.

For something more upmarket, check out the Sengokuhara Prince Hotel. It’s got cozy rooms, epic views, and a host of activities to keep you entertained.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Hakone and Japan?