The castle town near Hakone Resorts, within easy access from Tokyo
Lies about 80 Km away from Tokyo, Odawara is a former post town on the Tokaido Way connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, the route where the Tokaido Shinkansen Bullet Train currently runs. Odawara is now being a transit point to reach Hakone both by bus and train.
Odawara originally developed as a castle town that used to be most flourished with the Hojo clan during the Samurai’s warring states period in the 16th century. The symbol of the glory days is the Odawara Castle 小田原城, had been taken over by several Samurai lords.
Odawara Castle is actually one of the easiest-to-access-from-Tokyo castles, and is also located within walking distance from Odawara Station.
Getting to Odawara Castle, the symbol of Odawara City
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.
Approaching Odawara Castle from the back entrance.
Going up a slope leading to the castle
Explore Odawara Castle keep tower and the castle park
Odawara Castle keep tower stands on a hill top and the surrounding area has been a castle park. Though the present Odawara Castle is a concrete building reconstructed in 1960, the appearance is almost the same as the former wooden building that was renovated by the Inaba clan, one of the castellans, after the original castle was damaged by the earthquake in 1633.
The castle keep tower has been a museum telling the history of Odawara Castle, has a collection of artifacts, armor and weapons. The wooden place on the top floor has been recreated for its original look by the recent repair work done in May 2016.
The museum shop provides items all related to Samurai or Ninja - Ninja T-shirts, Ninja Socks, and Samurai crest key rings, it is fun to look for something unique sold only at the shop.
The castle keep tower opens from 9:00AM to 5:00PM (4:30AM) and the admission fee is 500 JP Yen for adult.
Odawara Castle keep tower
Odawara Castle Museum
The castle park includes various attractions; the Odawara Castle Museum,小田原城見聞館 Ninomiya Hotoku-jinja Shrine 二宮尊徳神社, a family amusement park, monuments, stonewalls, Sakura viewing spots (in early April), Wisteria trellis (in early May), Iris gardens (in early June). A tourist information office is found at the area near the front entrance.
Odawara Castle Park is a good place for strolling.
Samurai, Ninja and Princess Costuming is another attraction of Odawara Castle
Tokiwagi Gate 常盤木門, the building in front of the castle keep tower, is an information center with a small museum displaying Samurai armor and weapons (Admission is free). Also, there is a costume rental office in Tokiwagi Gate so people can hire Samurai, Ninja and princess costumes. 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)
The Tokiwagimon Gate building in front of the castle keep tower
What's your choice? Samurai? Ninja? or Princess?
Odawara is a town beloved by artists and celebrities a century ago.
The town area has a long history not only as a castle town where Samurai and Ninja lived in, but also as the place where numerous artists and wealthy families had lived about a hundred year ago. Some of their residences and gardens have been preserved and now opened to public as a museum.
The town area in Odawara has a fishery harbour and beaches
Odawara is known for its fish market handling freshly caught seafood. In the area around Odawara Station, there are many restaurants offering traditional seafood dishes. The Fish Market at the port has the place "Osakana Center" where seafood restaurants and shops gather, offering authentic fresh seafood such as Sushi Bowls and BBQ. One hitch expected is that you need to order in Japanese, however, it is notable that the dishes are served at very reasonable prices. The fish market is located at the Odawara fishery harbor in the west of the town, is about 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.
Google Maps | Odawara Castle https://goo.gl/maps/WBFPWmDt9um
Getting to Odawara from Tokyo
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.
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
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.
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.