Free Wifi: Yes
Location: 35°15’55.15″ N 139°09’07.91″ E
Worth it? For history, a must-see.
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑
Odawara is an old historical small Japanese town on the very southwestern outskirts of Tokyo + south of Kanagawa. Actually, it’s way outside Tokyo Prefecture and instead is in Kanagawa. But you can easily reach it from Tokyo. The quickest way is on the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station, but it will cost you, and reservations are required. You can also take normal surface trains which will be much cheaper, but which will take up to an hour or more to reach the town.
The town itself is a bit north of Odawara Station – which is a huge complex in its own right and worth a stroll around (around 35°15’20.43″ N 139°09’22.17″ E).
There is a very nice guide from the city @ odawara-guide.com.
There are all sorts of things to do in Odawara and the town is full of history. There are plenty of traditional food places and a few museums – and many other things to see and do.
If you’re willing to hike the long 15 miles to the northeast along the beach, you can also visit Tsujido Seaside Park.
The word Kanagawa means ocean bridge.Odawara Castle History Museum
A historical road called Tokaido Road runs through Odawara and it’s a must-see in the town. It was a main road between Kyoto + Tokyo (formerly Edo) in the Edo Period. You can still walk that route and others today if you’re in reasonably good shape. It is quite a long multi-day hike, though. You may want to check out hikejapan.com.
Odawara Castle is an ancient Japanese castle from the 1400’s which was destroyed and rebuilt several times, including in the mid-1800s during the Meiji Restoration. The castle is just south of the station and within walking or biking distance for most people.
There’s lot to do in the castle park, including a museum called Odawara Castle History Museum.
There are also lots of cycling paths in the town.
About 3-4 miles northeast of the station around 35°17’02.50″ N 139°11’12.13″ E is a huge mixed-use complex called Odawara Dynacity. If you have extra time and are done with the castle area and other sights, it’s worth a look. It’s mostly just a moden mall, food places, and some other attractions, but it might be worth the walk if you’re up for it.
Unfortunately their website is Japanese-only.
For a good blast of Japanese history + tradition, Odawara can’t be beat – so if you have a day off and can make it down, be sure to check it out.