Japan – Tokyo to Hakone

25/04/16

Today we checked out of the airbnb, but only after a visit from the police! They knocked on our door and asked if we lived there, and then asked for our reservation documentation. We realised the night before that there are advertisements for prostitutes in the floors below us… and the police must have come to check us out…!

To get to Hakone, we went to the west side Odakyu JR rail at Shinjuku station to find the Odakyu sightseeing ticket booth. Needless to say, we got lost and it took us 30mins just to find the booth but glad we found it in the end. As we were staying two nights in Hakone and only taking a single train to Odewama we bought a separate train ticket to Odewama for 880Y and then bought a 3 day pass for 5500Y. We were given a map and all the transport information on how to get around in Hakone with timetables.

The first train was a bit like the subway trains, and luckily we were able to put our backpacks on the shelf on top, it was supposed to take 2 hours but we arrived 20mins earlier. From there we didn’t leave the station but changed over to the Odakyu Romancecar line which was a smaller train to Hakone Yumoto. From there we got on the Hakone Tozan train, another cute small train which had only 3 carriages, this took us straight to Ohiradai where our Ryokan, Kisyunso, was. The train went around the outskirts of the mountains and there’s times where the train stops and changes direction to head further up, it’s a really fun ride. From having a crazy time in Tokyo, Hakone was most welcome and much calmer.

All in all it took us around 3 hours to get to our Ryokan, just in time for check in. We had to leave our shoes in a cupboard next to the door and put on these ugly brown slippers which are made from leather. They just about fit my feet so I couldn’t stop laughing at how small they were for Rudy! Kisyunso Ryokan has 3 hot springs, two are indoors with showers and there’s one outdoors one. All are private so you don’t have to share with strangers, I was so relieved when I saw the lock! They are stunning inside with rocks everywhere and steam coming off them, I couldn’t wait to try them out. The room is an old style room with tatami mats on the floor, a table in the middle with floor seats and our roll out sleeping mats sitting in the corner. To enter the room we have to take off our slippers, and in the bathroom which is shared there are other slippers to put on. We have some amazing robes to wear so we are unbelievably comfortable. We were also given some mochi, a couple boiled eggs and some matcha tea.

For food we decided to go to Gora, which is 4 stops away on the train, all the restaurants were closed until 5pm so we went to the park. Entry was free for people with the freepass, and it was really stunning walking around and a really pleasant way of spending an hour. The food here is a bit more expensive compared with Tokyo, and I chose really badly and really didn’t enjoy my noodles so it was a bit of a shame.

Back at the Ryokan, it was very early still but everything seemed to be closed apart from restaurants so we made most of the chilled evening and spent it in the hot spring.

 

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