OHSGG Club provides voluntary sightseeing guide services for Hakone travel and Odawara travel in foreign languages to assist visitors from outside of Japan and non-Japanese speaking residents.
OHSGG Club (Odawara and Hakone Systematized Goodwill Guide Club) is a voluntary organization established in 1996 as one of the systematized goodwill guide groups under Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO: http://www.jnto.go.jp/).
Entire Hakone region.
Odawara area including Odawara castle, Ichiya-jyo castle, Odawara town, and surrounding area.
All members in our group are volunteers who have various backgrounds and are willing to introduce our area to the people from foreign countries.
Since all members are local, you may be able to hear an interesting story that may not come across. We are highly motivated and waiting for you to make your travel fruitful and enjoyable.
Assigning your guide and customizing your travel
Once your guide request is accepted, the assigned guide helps you to plan where to visit and how to get in and out from this area. You may consult the guide for any kind of interests and questions of your travel.
If the assigned guide does not have enough information to answer, she or he will ask our experienced members and return to you with satisfactory information. Now the travel is tailored for you.
The day of your travel
On the first day, the guide meets you at the train station, your hotel, or other mutually agreed location and starts to guide you based on the itinerary. The guide also helps you how to handle your luggage while traveling.
The guide explains the history and the background of this area and other related topics according to your interest. Not only for this area, but please do not hesitate to ask any questions you would like to know about Japan, such as Japanese food, cultures, Shinto and Buddhism, shrines and temples, art, nature, and even something cool in Japan. Then you will be more familiar to Japan.
Fees and expenses
We do not charge any guide fee of our services but you need to pay all expenses of the guide related to your travel. Expenses include transportations, meals and entrance fee of facilities.
Other languages may be possible depending on the availability. Please ask when you request the service.
However OHSGG only accepts English or Japanese for the requesting e-mail.
Communication before travel
The assigned guide communicates with you directly through e-mail. Telephone communication may be possible if necessary.
Guide requesting e-mail
Please send your request by an e-mail in English or in Japanese. No other language is accepted.
Visit the "Guide Request" page of this website for more details.
If you have any questions, or need any assistances to visit Odawara and Hakone area, please feel free to contact us. It is always our great pleasure to offer you warm hospitalities and comprehensive services.
Our services are provided free of charge. However, you are kindly requested to pay the actual expenses for the OHSGG guide(s) as listed below:
1) Admission fees to temples, shrines, museums, etc.
(Note: Most of the facilities in Hakone and Odawara allow the guide to enter free of charge.)
2) Transportation charges during the services.
3) Lunch (only when the tour involves lunch time)
4) The travel expenses for the guide from his/her residence to the place where you meet the guide, and from the location where you end the tour to his/her residence. If you meet the guide at the Odawara station and end the tour at the same place, the estimated amount varies from 0 yen to a little over 2,000 yen per day depending on where the assigned guide lives.
5) Other actual tour-related expenses, if any.
1) Neither OHSGG nor the guides accompanying you are responsible for any injuries, or theft, lost and/or damages to possessions that may occur during the services.
2) OHSGG may provide more than 2 guides for a large group.
3) OHSGG does not provide the following tours:
- Night or overnight tours.
- Tours using private or rental cars.
- Tours for commercial purposes, including the tours arranged by travel agents.
4) The service you request may not be provided if OHSGG cannot find the appropriate guide(s) and/or if you do not accept this guide policy.
5) The information provided in the application will be used by OHSGG only for the purpose of providing the requested guide services.
Guide requesting e-mail
Guide request is accepted by an e-mail in English or in Japanese. No other language is accepted.
Please send your request at least 2weeks before the requesting date. OHSGG Club may not accept the request with short preparation period.
All members in OHSGG Club are volunteers and have their own daily schedules. We appreciate you understanding this requirement.
Guide Request Form and Required information
Please download the "Guide request form" from the following link, fill all required fields, accept the OHSGG guide policy and send it by e-mail to the following address.
- >Download the Guide request form: Download here
- >E-mail address for guide request: firstname.lastname@example.org or ( Mail here )
You may also copy and paste the contents of the application form in your e-mail and fill the required information.
Required information is the following.
1. Date and Time for the requesting guide service
2. Information of the applicant (Name / Mr/Ms / Nationality / Age)
3. E-mail address of the applicant.
4. Contact information in Japan （Name of Hotel / Telephone）
5. Information of other members of your party (Name / Mr/Ms / Nationality / Age)
6. Your plan to come in to and go out from Hakone/Odawara (when and where)．
7. Where do you want to visit and/or what do you like to do?
8. Do you have any particular request ?
9. Please show your acceptance of our guide policy written in the “Guide policy” page.
- Yes, I understand and accept the OHSGG guide policy.
Odawara and Hakone Overview
Odawara and Hakone Overview
From the 8th century, Hakone has been known as the sacred place of mountain worships.
In the Kamakura period, the first Samurai period (1185~1333), Odawara and Hakone appear on the main stream of Japanese history. Old Tokaido route, passing through Hakone and Odawara, has been used as the main road to connect Kamakura, the capital city during the Kamakura period, and Kyoto where Emperor lived.
During one hundred years (1495~1590) before the Edo period (1603~1867), Hojyo family stationed in Odawara and ruled entire Kanto region from south of Hakone to far north of Tokyo. The initial Odawara castle was built by Hojyo family as their main residence and fort.
Throughout the Edo period, the last Samurai governed period, Odawara castle was expanded and the town of Odawara had been developed as the key castle town located just next to Hakone. Since Hakone was the steepest mountain path in the old Tokaido route connecting Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, Odawara and Hakone played the important role of security protection of the capital city Edo (Tokyo).
After the Meiji period (1868~), Odawara and Hakone have been developed as the mountain resort with hot springs and magnificent views of Owaku-dani Valley, Lake Ashi-no-ko, and Mt. Fuji.
Hakone, only 100km from Tokyo, is located next to Odawara and one of the top resort areas with hot springs. Hakone Tozan mountain railway, built in 1919, is the major route to climb up the Hakone mountains.
The golden circle route of Hakone is starting from Hakone Yumoto to Gora by Hakone Tozan mountain railway, to Soun-zan by cable car, to Owaku-dani Valley by ropeway, to Togendai at the west shore of Lake Ashi-no-ko by ropeway, to Hakone-machi by the pirate ship crossing Lake Ashi-no-ko, and going back to Hakone Yumoto by bus.
Although Hakone is a day trip distance from Tokyo, staying overnight in Hakone will give you a precious experience of hot springs and beautifully prepared dinner at your Japanese style ryokan or hotel.
The city of Odawara, 200,000 population, is located 80km southwest of Tokyo. Travelers can reach to Odawara using Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo or Kyoto, or using Odakyu Romance Car from Shinjyuku (Tokyo).
Odawara castle is only 800m from Odawara station and beautifully restored as it was in hundreds years ago. Visiting Odawara castle gives you unforgettable memory of the life of Samurai period in Japan.
Cherry blossoms are in full bloom from late March to early April in Odawara. Events are held during the cherry blossom season.
In Hakone, various kinds of cherry trees blossom later than Odawara, and you can enjoy it until late April.
Odawara Hojyo Godai Festival
This festival, held on the May third every year, features Hojyo samurai family in Odawara, who ruled entire Kanto region in the 16th century. About 2,000 participants, including various costumed Samurai warriors and marching bands, parade throughout the city. It attracts a lot of spectators every year.
Hydrangeas, native to Japan, are in full bloom from late June in Hakone. Hydrangeas planted along both sides of Hakone Tozan mountain railway charm many tourists during this season. Mountain Hydrangeas can be seen until after middle of August.
Odawara Chochin Summer Festival
Odawara chochin (paper lantern = portable light source) was used by the people who travel at night over the Hakone mountains during Edo period. Odawara chochin summer festival, is held in late July featuring Odawara chochin. Events, such as a drum competition and dancing with chochin, pump up the festival. More than 2,000 chochins made by elementally school students in the Odawara city light up along the Ohoribata-dori street.
Hakone Lake Festival
Hakone Lake Festival is held on July 31st .It is the first event of the series of Hakone and Kuzuryu shrine rituals in summer and attracts a lot of people.
Fireworks set off over Lake Ashi-no-ko are spectacular.
Daimonji-yaki, started in 1921, is a ceremonial festival of Bon period held at the night of August 16 every year. Bonfire shaped as the “dai” character of Kanji is lit on the slope of the mountain. People console and see the spirits of our ancestors off with this fire.
Susuki (Japanese pampas grass)
Susuki (Japanese pampas grass) field extends in the Sengokuhara highland and is beautifully colored with ears from late September to middle of November. Noyaki (burning of Susuki fields) in March is must-see.
Hakone Daimyo (feudal lord) Procession
Tokyo-Hakone relay marathon by college students (Hakone ekiden) on Jan. 2 (from Tokyo to Hakone) and Jan. 3 (from Hakone to Tokyo), 100km for each direction by 5 runners, is one of the biggest ekiden events in Japan.
Chinese New Year
During the period of Chinese New Year, Shun-setsu event is held in Hakone to welcome visitors especially from east and Southeast Asia. At the Togendai station, various events are held such as a Japanese drum performance, a lion mask dance, and a dancing demonstration by Geisha. Free Amazake, non-alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, is served.
Japanese plum trees are in full bloom from late January to February. They bring spring to us. Plum tree festivals take place in Odawara and Yugawara.
Activities and Photos
Activities and Photos
OHSGG Facebook page
You can find OHSGG activities and photos on our Facebook page. Please click the following link and see many photos taken with our guests from various countries around the globe. These photos give you some idea how our guests have been enjoying traveling Hakone and Odawara with our guides.
- OHSGG Facebook page : OHSGG Facebook
Highlights from Facebook
Enjoy the highlights from the OHSGG Facebook page. Visit the Facebook page for photos with guests.
The following itinerary is a typical daytrip to visit Hakone.
Odawara station → (Train 15min.) →
Hakone Yumoto station → (Hakone Tozan mountain train 44min.) →
Gora station → (Cable-car 10min） →
Sounzan station → (Ropeway 8min.) →
Owakudani station : visit Owakudani sulfur valley (60min.) →
(Ropeway 16min.) →
Togendai station → (Pirate Ship 30min.) →
Hakone-machi → (Walking 10min.) →
Hakone Check Point → (Walking through cedar tree road 20min.) →
Motohakone bus-stop → (Bus via Hakone-shindo 30min.) →
Hakone Yumoto station → （Train 15min.） →
Tailoring Your Itinerary
Depending on your interests, schedule, season of your trip, or location of your accommodation, we can visit various spots, such as Odawara castle, museums, parks, gardens, Hakone woodworks shops, or shrines.
If weather permits, we may guide you to hike Hakone mountain and forests.
Please refer other pages for more detail information of each spot.