10 Awesome Sightseeing Spots on the Odakyu Line: Enjoy Mountains, Ocean, and Onsen on the Outskirts of Tokyo!
Thinking about doing a mini trip near Tokyo? Then we recommend going somewhere along the Odakyu Line! Just take a single train from Shinjuku, Tokyo’s biggest transit hub, and escape to a mountain, ocean, or hot spring getaway! This article will introduce ten great spots for those who want to enjoy some time in Tokyo but also take a little excursion out of the city.
Feb 25 2021 (Mar 03 2021)
*This article was written in collaboration with the Kanto District Transport Bureau, local municipalities, and local railway companies.
The Odakyu Electric Railway has three lines: the Odawara Line, which runs from Shinjuku Station to Odawara Station; the Enoshima Line, going from Sagami-Ono Station to Katase-Enoshima Station; and the Tama Line, running from Shin-Yurigaoka Station to Karakida Station. The lines are quite convenient for getting to excellent shopping and leisure destinations such as Shimo-Kitazawa Station, highly popular among the younger generations for its retro resale shops and concert venues; Katase-Enoshima Station, with its great beach; or Isehara Station, the closest station to the mountain trekking trails of Oyama.
In addition, Odakyu’s premium express train, the “Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar,” runs comfortable direct routes between Shinjuku Station and popular areas including Hakone-Yumoto Station and Katase-Enoshima Station and is fully reservation-based with Wi-Fi installed for all passengers.
In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, each of the spots introduced in this article follows various thorough safety measures. For details, please see the official site of each facility or the homepage of the local tourism association.
Hakone-jinja Shrine: Power Up at One of the Most Gorgeous Photo Spots in Japan
Since ancient times, Hakone-jinja Shrine was revered by countless warrior generals as a place to receive divine blessings of good luck on the battlefield. Inside the grounds, there is also another shrine called Kuzuryu Shrine Shingu, which is famous as a power spot for people seeking a love match. After praying at the shrine, head back down the main pathway and descend the stairway at the end to reach “Heiwa no Torii,” a huge torii gate floating on the waters of Lake Ashinoko. Stand at the end of the flagstone path that juts into the water below the gate and have your picture taken from a slight distance so that it almost looks like you are floating on the lake. Lake Ashinoko is beautiful in the middle of the day, but if you can go in the morning, the crowds are smaller and the place gives off quite a mystical atmosphere.
Amasake Chaya: Try a Traditional Fermented Japanese Rice Drink!
Amazake—a drink made from malted rice—is so nutritious that it is sometimes called a “drinkable IV!” It has a natural, gentle sweetness despite having no added sugar, and it warms you from the inside out as you drink it. Amasake Chaya has been in operation since the Edo Period and currently is run by its 13th-generation owner. Since its founding, the teahouse has continued to make amazake in exactly the same way for roughly 400 years. The building’s charming traditional exterior and thatched roof give it a lot of character, and the teahouse is a perfect place to stop for a break during your sightseeing.
Apart from the amazake, we’d also like to suggest trying the “chikara mochi,” sticky rice cakes coated with faintly sweet “kinako” (toasted soybean powder). The mochi is grilled over premium “binchotan” charcoal, so it is wonderfully puffy with the perfect chewiness.
Hakone Yuryo: Rejuvenate at a Hot Spring Resort Just 3 Minutes From the Station!
This is a day-trip hot spring resort accessible from Hakone-Yumoto Station by a free 3-minute shuttle bus ride. The public baths include both an indoor and relaxing outdoor bath, but there are also nineteen private rooms with amazing open-air outdoor baths—the largest such facility close to Tokyo! It’s a wonderful place to escape and relax in your own private bath.
In addition, the “irori ryori,” fresh ingredients cooked right in front of you over coals in a traditional sunken fireplace, is highly recommended. It’s an experience that is a treat to see as well as to taste. As the food is grilled over the coals, the heat thoroughly penetrates the ingredients, releasing mouth-wateringly delicious aromas.
The facility is open until 8:00 pm on weekdays or 9:00 pm on weekends and national holidays. The shuttle bus will drop you off back at the station upon your return, so it’s a fantastic place to end your day of sightseeing.
Hotel de Yama: A Resort Hotel With Views of World Heritage Site Mt. Fuji!
This classical resort hotel situated on the shore of Lake Ashinoko boasts more than seventy years of history. Inside, the hotel’s two restaurants respectively serve authentic French cuisine and traditional Japanese “kaiseki” (multi-course) cuisine.
The hotel is privy to its own natural hot spring and offers indoor baths with water jets that massage the muscles as well as a luxurious outdoor open-air bath that is surrounded by trees and allows guests to soothe their eyes as the hot spring water moisturizes their skin.
Another point that sets this hotel apart is its vast garden, which offers beautiful views of Mt. Fuji, a World Heritage Site. On the morning after your stay, we recommend taking a peaceful stroll through the garden’s array of blooming seasonal flowers (which include azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and roses) and down to nearby Hakone-jinja Shrine.
Climb Mt. Oyama - The View From the Top Is Worth it!
At an elevation of 1,252 meters, Mt. Oyama has long held religious significance, and visitors can enjoy climbing to Afuri Shrine which sits near the summit. Making the climb solely by foot is possible, but there is also a cable car that can whisk you up 678 meters to Afuri-jinja Station in a flash. Get off at Afuri-jinja Station and climb an additional 90 minutes by foot to reach the summit of Mt. Oyama, where you can see sweeping views of Sagami Bay and the cities below. On a clear day, it’s even possible to see all the way to Tokyo Skytree in the distance! (*The trail to the summit is quite steep, so bringing proper hiking gear is a necessity.)
On the way down, enjoy walking through Koma Sando, a pedestrian street lined with shops selling souvenirs and tasty bites that runs from Oyama Cable Car Station to the bus stop. The street is named after Oyama’s local craft, the “Oyama Koma” (spinning wooden top), which is painted in bright eye-catching colors. Also, the area’s tofu, made with Oyama’s famous water, is a local specialty that you’ve got to try, and it can be found served in tofu kaiseki meals in town as well as made into sweets which can be purchased along the street!
Stay At a Traditional "Shukubo" Pilgrim's Lodge in Oyama
At the base of Mt. Oyama, long loved as both a religious and recreational place, you can experience a stay at a special type of lodging that is a bit different from a typical “ryokan” (Japanese inn). Called “shukubo,” most of these lodgings were originally created by associations that served people in a specific industry or area and were organized as places where members could stay to pray for safety and success of a project, but nowadays anyone is welcome. Japanese typically associate shukubo with spartan lodgings intended for people undergoing strict religious training, but the shukubo at Oyama have an at-home atmosphere where guests can relax comfortably. In addition to enjoying healthy Japanese food which features Oyama’s famous local tofu, traditional Japanese rites such as “oharai” (a purification ritual) and sutra copying can be experienced while staying at one of the shukubo. Mt. Oyama is a nature-filled area that is easily accessible from Tokyo and offers some unique experiences that can only be found there, so be sure to check it out.
Houkokuji Temple: Stroll Along a Beautiful Path Through a Bamboo Thicket
Houkokuji is a temple built nearly 700 years ago in Kamakura that is famous for its bamboo thicket. To the right-hand side of the entrance stands the Hondo (main hall), inside of which is a statue of “Shaka Nyorai” (the historical Buddha Shakyamuni), the primary object of worship at the temple, and in front of this is a magnificent dry landscape garden.
Proceeding further into the grounds, a lovely walking path winding through a bamboo thicket can be found, which received three stars from the Michelin Green Guide. We recommend taking a walk here in the morning hours and enjoying the refreshing, peaceful scenery.
Following the path through the bamboo thicket to the end, you will come upon a little teahouse called Kyuko-an, which offers lovely views of the bamboo garden. As the breeze blows through the garden, the sound of the rustling bamboo leaves creates a supremely comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.
Enoshima: A Paradise with Beaches, Food, and Shopping!
Enoshima is a small island that is just 5 kilometers in circumference and is connected to the shore by a bridge. Located roughly an hour from Tokyo, the place buzzes with beach-goers during the summer.
Here, you can enjoy fresh seafood at the many restaurants lining the shore, do some casual shopping at the various shops in the area, or take a walk around the island and soak in its nature.
There is a shrine on the island, and in addition to lines of shops selling Japanese-style goodies and knick-knacks that you often find near a shrine, there are also many fancy cafes, and with the grand backdrop of Mt. Fuji to the west, it is truly a wonderful location.
There are also plenty of spots that kids love visiting, such as Chigogafuchi (a spot with tide pools filled with sea critters that is also a prime place to watch the sunset) and the Enoshima Iwaya Caves, which will make you feel like an explorer! It’s the various types of activities that suit people of all ages that makes Enoshima so popular.
Enoshima Sea Candle: A Must-See View of Mt. Fuji and the Sunset-Stained Sea
Located in the Enoshima Samuel Cocking Garden, known for its beautiful multi-colored flowers, is the Enoshima Sea Candle, a symbol of Enoshima. The tower really does resemble a candle, with a body that gets fatter towards the top and a lightning rod that sticks up like a wick. Those who climb all the way to the top can enjoy sweeping views of the ocean and Shonan’s cities from an observation deck that is 101.5 meters above sea level.
We definitely recommend timing your visit to the Sea Candle to match up with the sunset. The view of the setting sun dyeing the ocean and Mt. Fuji orange as it sets is an incredibly beautiful sight to behold! There are also seasonal light-up displays outside which are recommended as well!
Gen Hotel Kamakura: Stay at an Exquisite Modern Japanese Hotel in a Prime Location
Just a 1 minute walk from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, this hotel is located on Kamakura’s main street of Wakamiya Oji, in a prime spot for easily visiting Kamakura’s many sightseeing spots. The front desk is unmanned and a self-check-in procedure is used, eliminating face-to-face contact as well as the need for Japanese language conversation, and helping reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Although designed with the latest modern technology, this hotel is actually located on part of the grounds where a very influential person’s estate stood 800 years ago. Various artifacts from roughly 300 years ago have been found in this historical place, and the grounds of the hotel actually house recreations of a well, torii gate, and Inari shrine (a shrine to the god Inari) that used to stand there.
The hotel has only 15 guest rooms, but they vary in size from twin rooms to a 50 square meter room that can sleep up to six people. The rooms’ interiors are furnished in a very stylish and elegant Japanese-modern style that is simple yet reflective of the Japanese taste one might expect from a hotel in Kamakura, the ancient capital of Japan. If spending the night on your visit to Kamakura, this hotel offers a wonderfully relaxing way to end the day.
There are many wonderful spots along the Odakyu Line. For a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the big city, it’s the perfect way to escape to nature and enjoy a relaxing trip! For your trip to Japan, feel free to use this article as a guide while you plan out your itinerary!
Title image: PIXTA
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.