Japan – Hakone

26/04/15

This morning I woke up early to have a quick bath in the onsen before breakfast was brought to us. Breakfast consisted of some cooked salmon, rice, an egg, miso soup, pickles, fish roe and salad, I wasn’t feeling too well so I didn’t have much of an appetite but I assume I’ll receive the same tomorrow so I can properly enjoy it!

Today was when we fully explored Hakone, we decided to first take the Hakone Tozan Train to Gora, where we then changed onto the Hakone Tozan Cable Car (which is just a tram going up the hill) to get to Sounzan. The tram was nice and went quite steep, the journey was very quick too but there wasn’t too much of a view though.

From Sounzan we were unable to transfer straight onto the ropeway to Owakudani as there was a high level of sulphur activity caused by previous landslides. Instead we had to take a bus to Togendai-ko, which took only 25 mins. All our transport was covered by our freepass, and without one we would have spent so much more! The bus stops at Ubako but we decided to stay on.

At Togendai-ko we took the ropeway (cable car) up to Owakudani, which also stops at Ubako. You are unable to get on the cable car from Ubako to Owakudani for reasons I’m unsure. The view was so incredible on the ropeway, you could see the lake to one side and on the other we were lucky enough to see Mt Fuji! I was so happy we were there on a clear day as it’s so picturesque, and you can take some really nice pictures from inside the car. Before we got in the cable car we were given a warning that the sulphur gas could cause some people to get ill, and we were given a wet towel to place over our face when we arrived. At the top I didn’t find the air too bad and I couldn’t even smell the sulphur, so I didn’t use the towel. We were also not allowed to leave the station as it was too dangerous, but you could clearly see the sulphur escaping the rocks.

At Ubako you could take some more good pictures of Mt Fuji and there was a lookout spot outside the station to see the sulphur and Mt Fuji. There was also delicious curry rice van and for a small portion it only cost 300Y.

Back at Togendai-ko, we walked over to where the swan boats are and ate a really delicious lunch. I had a local pig and vegetable dish with udon, after having a terrible meal yesterday this really boosted my spirits, we also sat on the traditional tatami mats to eat. The meal was 990Y but was worth it and much cheaper than the rubbish they were serving at the terminal.

We only had to wait 20 mins for the cruise ship (again all included in the freepass!), and boarded onto the red ship. There are 3 floors one indoors with comfy chairs, one with no windows and then one on the top deck. It was a 30 min journey and was really smooth, and had beautiful views. I love the mountainous landscape and the rows of perfectly aligned trees, the lake is really something you have to see here. We soon arrived at Hakonemachi-ko port, where we disembarked to have a wander. There wasn’t much here on first look but there is a really beautiful view of the lake and mt Fuji, along the waterfront there’s also some HUGE Carp where I spent 100Y on some fish food. There were so many of them and they were massive, like water pigs grunting for food.

There’s a few shops nearby too where we tried some ichigo, and I was actually shocked at how sweet thier strawberries are! I felt like I was eating a chewy sweet, so delicious. We decided to buy a mochi which had some red bean paste and a fresh strawberry inside, with two extra strawberries for 500Y. I can definitely say it was the best mochi I’d had so far and a bonus was that we also enjoyed it with the perfect view.

We then got back on the cruise boat for 5 mins to head to Motohakone-ko where there is a temple and shrine by the lake. It didn’t take too long to get to the temple you just follow the big orange archways (apologies I don’t know the name of them). It’s definitely an amazing photo opportunity there as you have the lake behind you and the bright orange contrasting against the dark trees.

To head back to our ryokan, we took the Hakone Tozen bus, the roads are really windey and Rudy felt a little sick so we got off earlier than our stop at Miyanoshita. Here there is an array of antique shops and restaurants, but unfortunately we had arrived too late and everything was closed. The last part of our journey was back on the Hakone Tozan train, but with no lack of drama as a young girl puked up all over and everyone was scrambling for tissues.

What we found back at Ohiradai, is that there is NO FOOD apart from in a small shop not far from the station and a really expensive sushi restaurant. So I ate my pokemon pot noodle which had some pikachu fish cakes in, it was actually pretty tasty!

To end the day and finish our relaxing stay in Hakone we had another dip in the onsen, they make me sleep like a baby.

 

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