Odawara is just over 1 and a half hours on the train from Tokyo. It is a pleasant place to visit and many people visit on the way to or from Hakone. The city has a population of around 200,000 and forms the entrance to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and the nearby hot spring towns of Hakone, Atami and Izu.
The Odawara castle is actually a restoration of the original castle. The original castle was constructed in 1590 by the lord Ujinao Hojo. It was later beseiged and taken over by the Okubo Clan. Fires, wars and earthquake all took their toll on the original building. The new construction was completed in 1960. The viewing area at the top of the castles offers some nice views of Odawara city and nearby Sagami bay. The inside of the castle houses an interesting collection of samurai armour and swords. On the grounds of the castle there is a somewhat out of place small zoo and an elephant.