Hakone All that and more
Hakone Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
I had been wanting to go to Hakone for a long time, my friends and people from travbuddy had told me that Hakone was so beautiful with the views of Mount Fuji in the background of the town but I didn't relise how much more it had too offer. If your into the arts you will absolutely love this place Hakone has galleries galore.
I woke up with a splitting headache, not from alcohol I had only had a couple of beers the night before but from breathing in the fumes of an old kerosene heater yes my in -laws still use those terrible things and it caused me to have a horrible migraine. I refuse to take medicine for some reason it always makes me vommit but probably cause I was traveling I decided to take something and sure enough ten minutes later I was bent over out the front of my in-laws neighbours house leaving them a late Christmas present.
I thought that I would be able to sleep on the train for an hour to Maibara where we were to catch the Hikari shinkansen to Odawara before taking a local train to Yumoto Hakone but boy was I wrong as the train pulled up at the station, there were no seats only standing room. I guess everyone was traveling back to their hometown for their New Year holidays. I hardly spoke on the train, I mainly stared out the window trying to focus on something other than my headache which slightly improved over ride.
We got to Maibara where my wife had perfectly timed the train schedule as we had only 15 minutes to wait for the Hikari shinkansen, which is the second fastest shinkansen the fastest being the Nozomi. It was my son's first time on the shinkansen, even though he has been on a plane 6 times already. He was very excited, with my son playing with his new Christmas toys and my wife talking to her mum. It was a perfect time for me to sleep. I woke after about an hour feeling much better and in anticipation to catch the first glimpse of Mount Fuji from the train.
Mount Fuji came into view with its snow capped peak with about 20 minutes to Odawara station. It's a lone dormant volcano thats 3776 metres high, a sacred mountain that many pilgrims climb. Winter with its clear blue skys is the best time to view it.
At Odawara station we bought a Hakone free pass ticket for 3900 yen (40$) a ticket that allows you to use all transportation for 2 days for free. We caught the train which would normally cost 400yen( $4.50) if we hadn't had the free pass.15 minutes later we were at our destination Hakone Yumoto, a typical onsen town with beautiful ryokans, local handicrafts and shops filled with souveniers. Hakone felt a bit larger than other Onsen towns though. We took a bus to where we were staying Hotel Okyumoto. The road was winding up the mountain and I was glad that I wasn't on this bus early in the morning. The bus stopped at a few different ryokans on the way dropping off passengers before dropping us off, the bus driver was a grumpy rude man, unusual for a tourist place but I guess he had been running the bus routes nearly all his life.
Lake Ashino-ko was where we were headed , the major attraction of the Hakone region with a beautiful crystal blue lake with Mount Fuji rising over the lake in the background. Today was a beautiful day so I knew we would still have great views I was hoping to capture the mountain reflecting on the water and capture the perfect shot.
The bus stopped in at Ashino-ko, the town of Moto Hakone greets you with a huge red tori gate, and a beautiful lake but no Fuji aaaaaaaaaaah where is it, where is my beloved Fuji I had to relax by eating a bowl of soba from a restraunt nearby.
At Togendai, you catch the cable car to Mount Soun-zan. The cable car route is 4 kilomtetres long which also has Mount Fuji in the background so I took more pictures of course.
From Mount Soun - zan you take the funicular to Gora and also say good bye to Mount Fuji as it is no longer in view, without the free pass again it would cost 400 yen ($4.
Back at the hotel, relaxing in our room eating Kaiseki food, typical Japanese set course at a hot spring hotel but at this hotel it wasn't that good probably cause Hakone is not famous for any food and then soothed in the hotsprings before getting a good nights sleep.