After our last breakfast in Tokyo, we made our way to the underground and headed to the train station, then onwards to Hakone. The train took us through the mountains and along cliff edges, we saw some beautiful sights…it felt refreshing to see something other than skyscrapers. We took the bus to our traditional Japanese hostel, K’s house, and I am so happy that we did! The hills in Hakone rival those in both the Lake District and San Fransisco!
We wanted to make the most of our surroundings, so we quickly checked in, abandoned our bags and headed for Tamadare falls. Two huge waterfalls, with koi ponds below and a shrine located at the top of some steep steps in the middle. It felt good to climb to the top and breathe in some fresh air, the freshest we’ve probably had since leaving the UK!
Now I’d like to take a moment to have a little moan, our first night was going so well until some wanker decided to whistle whilst getting ready for bed! He didn’t even whistle a proper song, in tune or actual whistling to be honest…more like a half arsed attempt but for fucking ages! I was fuming!
Anyway, the next morning we woke early and took a bus to Lake Ashi. Here we saw the Hakone shrine, and had a long refreshing walk around the lake until we reached Hakone Komagatake mountain. I was happy with the view of Mt.Fuji from the bottom of this mountain, but as soon as Kyle saw the cable car he decided that we were going up. I don’t know what was more scary, the earthquake in Tokyo or the ride to the top of the mountain! Although once we were at the top and explored the views of Lake Ashi, Mt Fuiji and visited the shrine on top of the mountain, I decided that it was well worth it…not that I'd tell Kyle that.
Once we returned to the bottom, we took a boat to Togendai port to see the second shrine in the lake. This one was a lot smaller and you couldn’t go out to it without a little fishing boat. To return home we took the bus round the mountains, of course this went along the edge of the mountain, and sped quickly round twists and turns, I’m just glad that Kyle wasn’t driving!
Our hostel is located in the middle of the mountain, not only is it a massive mission up (huge statement coming from the girl from the lake district) but the places to eat are few and far between. So on our second night we ordered a takeaway, and my god was it amazing! Kyle opted for pork ramen, I had curry rice and we had a few extras on the side. Now I know what you’re thinking, typical, takeaway. Well actually it was delivered in bowls and on plates, with cutlery, as if we were at the restaurant. The only difference, we had to wash up ourselves and leave the bowls at the door for the driver to return and collect.
On our last day in Hakone we took the Hakone Tozan train to the Open Air Museum. The train goes round and through the mountains, and is the only one which can make its way up them. We were also told that in the 110 years which it has been running that they have never had an accident! This museum is all outdoor and located in the middle of the mountains, so not only can you see great artwork you are also surrounded by beautiful surroundings. Our favourite part of the day though was the natural spring foot bath, just what we needed after all this walking!
Tonight, Kyle is off for a soak in the outside onsen, probably one of the only ones he’ll be allowed in due to the stigma with tattoos here. Me, I’m still deciding if I I’m brave enough to strip off in front of lots of other women and have a go myself?! Tomorrow, we make our way to Fujinomiya, the closest town to Mt. Fuji. This will be our base for exploring….once we’ve taken the 5 trains to get there that is.
Love Carrie xxx