Japan Nov 2009 Day 4
On our 4th day in Japan, we went on a side-trip to Hakone 箱根, a town at the foot of Mount Fuji world-renowned for their hot spring resorts and related onsen activities. We set up from Tokyo really early, embarking on the Odakyu Odawara Line from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto Station
Little Japanese school girls we met saw on the train.
Fujiya Hotel overlooking Hakone Yumoto Station.
Transfering to the Hakone Tozan Line, literally meaning a “mountain-climbing” railway. All transport within Hakone is covered by the Hakone Pass. How cool is that…
Spotting a heron in a nearby stream.
Bridge co-joining Hotel Fujiya and Hakone-Yumoto Station.
A man-made waterfall along the same stream with the foliage along the banks showing a tinge of red. This filled us with anticipation on what lies ahead of us!
Gora Station 強羅駅, where we transfer to the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. We were very early and human traffic was relatively sparse. We took a short hike to Gora Park
Entrance to Gora Park was also covered by the Hakone Pass. A small crowd enjoying hot tea under a beautiful maple tree which has turned a brilliant red.
A small walkway leading to slightly more elevated grounds within the park.
Many of the trees are in a magnificent display of their autumn colours, the last show they’d be presenting before sleeping through the long winter months.
After getting back from Gora Park to the station, a long queue has already begun to form to take the Tozan ropeway, which is essentially a cablecar that goes from Gora to Togendai, passing Owakudani along the way.
The “Hakone Ropeway” which is actually a cable car. Ironically we took a “Hakone Tozan Cablecar” from Hakone Yumoto to Gora but that looks more like a tram!
View from the Hakone Tozan Ropeway
Smoulderin’ and smokin’ hills from the volcanic activity that’s brewing below.
View from the Hakone Tozan Ropeway, bird’s eye view of Owakudani’s famous sulphur pits. Strong pungent whiffs of hydrogen sulphide gas began to overwhelm the cabin as we approach the station.
Kurotamago aka black sulphur eggs for sale at the shops in Owakudani Station. However, the best place to get them is right at the sales counter just next to the sulphur pits where they are cooked, using hot volcanic water piped in from underground.
Someone selling roasted chestnuts outside the station. Pricey at close to 10 bucks for a small handful of 7-8 pieces. One couldn’t fully appreciate the rich aroma of roasted chestnuts with the smell of volcanic gases lingering in the air.
Fuji-san at a distance from the carpark at Owakudani
Mount Fuji, more affectionately known as “Fujisan” to the Japanese, in a far distance. View from Owakudani Station.
Another short walk up to a pitstop where more kurotamago is sold.
Eating one is suppose to prolong one’s life by 7 years! What an effective marketing strategy!
A huge crowd at the pit stop, a mixture of both locals and tourists.
A worker preparing kuro-tamago, where ordinary eggs are placed in a metal cage and soaked into the boiling hot spring water. Sulfur deposits causes the shell to turn black.
6 for 500 Yen. very pricey!
A wooden Hello Kitty at one of the gift shops.
From Owakudani, we continued our way along the Hakone Ropeway cablecar to Togendai. The journey offers a panoramic view of the undulated terrain of northern Hakone.
Some places look simply breath-taking with the locals mutterly “Sugoii-ne!”…. “Kire!!!”…
Togendai Station, the terminus station for the cable car.
From the sky, we take to the water! More koyo along the banks of Ashinoko.
A restaurant at Togendai Station where one can rest and be fed and watered before continuing the Hakone circuit. The “window seats” offer a wonderful view of the lake.
on-board the pirate cruise ship! Hail captain!
Fair weather with flurry clouds but only if it was a bit more sunny!
Pirate cruise on Ashinoko aka Lake Ashi at Hakone, transiting between Togendai and Hakone Machi.
Hakone Hotel by a remote side of Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi aka Ashinoko from the cruise ship
Cruise Ship from Togendai to Hakone Machi
The reconstruction of the Hakone Tokaido Checkpoint completed in 2007.
Hakone Tokaido Checkpoint
Detached Palace Garden Grounds at Hakone Machi
The last of autumn
Detached Palace at Hakone Machi
view of Ashinoko from the top of a small hill where the Detached Palace is situated
Torii of the Hakone Jinja, situated at Moto Hakone. Photo taken along road next to Cedar trail between Hakone Machiko and Moto Hakone. Our legs were totally spent when we reached here and thought that it would be best if we get to the hotel. Hakone Tozan buses transit between Moto Hakone and Hakone-yumoto.
From Hakone-yumoto station, there’s a shuttle service which runs through the onsen resorts and hotels in this area. The place we booked was quite weird. We had to alight at Okada Hotel, take the lift within the hotel to the 7th floor and walk through a maze of corridors to get to an adjacent building where our lodging for the night is located.
Room @ Hakone Okada no mori
Towels for onsen, Yunasato
Automated toilet bowl
Automated toilet bowl control. How cool is that…
dinner @ Okada no mori.
3 entrees consisting of a cold boiled foods dish(west), a ham and cured foods dish(southwest) , a sashimi dish(southeast), pickled daikon(south), a instant grill dish(central), potato salad with shitake mushroom and shrimp in sweet agedashi sauce embellished with edaname, poached salmon and dessert of cake and orange. Rice and miso soup to go.
poached salmon in sweet sauce, possibly made from dashi sauce base with mirin, sugar and soy sauce
starters at dinner. shrimp, squid and broccoli were lightly blazed with a blowtorch before adding the creamy egg and mayonnaise-base sauce. Small wedge of boiled potato in the background.
mini grill of pork, scallop, pumpkin, onion, capsicum and mushroom. After that went back to our room and proceed to the onsen! It was so relaxing… kimochi-desu!
Breakfast @ Hakone Okada no mori
Japanese breakfast @ Okada no mori
various salads and entrees for the Japanese breakfast @ Okada no mori. Green salad, potato and egg salad, pickled radish, tamagoyaki, different types of pickled and fermented soya, onsen tamago, miso-jiru etc. It was essentially buffet-styled but we each got a serving of a small grilled sanma 秋刀鱼.