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Day five--Hakone

Hakone Travel Blog

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 I woke up this morning grateful to have utilized the Hot Springs bath last night!  My shoulders didn’t hurt nearly as much as they had yesterday after carrying around my heavy backpack. Breakfast was good and gave me enough fuel to get through another day!

We started off with bad luck this morning as we accidently hopped the wrong bus! We were going in the completely wrong direction! This problem was fixed quickly however as we got off the bus and got onto a train which took us to where we wanted to go, the boiling valley.

adds seven year longevity!
We also had to take another train and a ropeway car (a gondola) just to get there! But on the way we got some breathtaking views of Mount Fuji which could be seen as clear as day. It was really cool and much more impressive than it looks in postcards. I was surprised it was so big!

Whilst wandering around the boiling valley area we came across a Japanese superstition that intrigued us. Apparently if you eat one of the eggs that were hard boiled in the natural hot spring (which turns the shell of the egg black!) you would have seven years added to your longevity. Never ones to pass up adding seven years of health to our lives, we partook in the ritual. All superstitions aside that was probably one of the best tasting hard boiled eggs I’ve ever had!

We finished up with the activities in the valley and rode the gondola further down to the giant lake where we were to ride…A pirate ship?!?! I thought it was hilarious to be on a sightseeing tour in Japan, practically in the shadow of Mount Fuji, and be riding a ship fashioned to be a pirate vessel! Stranger things I’m sure, but this was one to remember.

black eggs
I think we had far too much fun pretending to be pirates than one should, especially when we were supposed to be taking in the beautiful scenery. To be fair though, I’m really excited about one of the pictures I took which captures Mount Fuji, the lake, and the red Torii. I can’t wait to get home and see what it looks like after working some magic in photoshop.

Eventually we had to get off the pirate ship, much to the disappointment of all I’m sure, and we returned to the Guesthouse. The return trip was much shorter as all we had to do was take a bus! By the time we got back, we were all hungry so we mulled over the restaurant choices and finally decided on one that looked good. Unfortunately, we neglected to take into account opening and closing times and walked all the way into town only to discover the place we wanted to go to was closed! Thinking maybe it would open at five thirty, we decided to kill some time and wander around.

Fujisan
We didn’t have to wander far to find a cute little Buddhist Temple nestled in a forested area just outside of downtown. This place was very beautiful and peaceful. There were little statues scattered around the premises that appeared to be monks, I’m not sure exactly what they were for exactly, but we followed the examples of others and put one yen coins on them wherever they would stay. This temple also had a cemetery behind it and it was really interesting to see how different they are from western cemeteries. Japanese seem to honor the departed much more than westerners do, at least when it comes to keeping the gravesite clean. They sweep the plot, wash the headstone, and light incense for the deceased, while here we eventually forget and the cemeteries become overrun with weeds, so much so that some head stones one can’t even see anymore! I also thought it was interesting how small each plot was. This is because space is so limited and also because almost all are cremated.
the boys
I thought it was a very beautiful place to be buried, as the cemetery rose up on a hill and over looked the scenic Hakone park.

Our restaurant still wasn’t open, so we decided to give up on it and made our way back to the guesthouse, hoping to find  somewhere else to eat along the way and eventually me and Nadean settled on these little things of instant rice! Two minutes in the microwave and you’ve got food! I thought it was a really great little invention and I hope I can find them back in the states because they tasted as if they’d been made the hard way! We had to ask one of the girls working at the guesthouse for chopsticks and Soy sauce and she asked us what we needed the Soy sauce for, thinking we must be cooking something else besides just the rice.

the girls
When we told her that we were going to put it on the rice she was absolutely flabbergasted! She wasn’t offended or anything, she just thought it was really strange. We thought she was strange because that sort of thing is second nature in America! I suppose it’s just like how my family has grown up with a dish consisting of fried egg noodles and ketchup, so I put ketchup on noodles all the time but everyone else seems to think I’m crazy for doing it!

After dinner the girls once again occupied the hot springs bath. I had also taken a bath in the individual indoor one earlier—which was extremely nice! I want one in my house! Haha! Tonight the outdoors one didn’t seem quite as hot which was a good thing, and we all really enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere.

My allergies (I’m allergic to guesthouses I think because it was the same story whenever I stayed in a bed and breakfast in Ireland, but at hotels I’m fine!) got the best of me tonight, and all I wanted to do was go to bed after getting out of the hot springs. It’s hard to have allergies in Japan because it’s rude to blow your nose in public! I thought earlier today that maybe I should get myself a hygienic mask! Despite this, it will be a sad parting in the morning when we leave Hakone and head for Kyoto.

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adds seven year longevity!
adds seven year longevity!
black eggs
black eggs
Fujisan
Fujisan
the boys
the boys
the girls
the girls
Hakone
photo by: reikunboy