HAKONE (or, mt fuji wherefore art thou?)

Japan [Tokyo] Travel Diaries 15: 箱根 | Hakone

If you’re in Tokyo for­ around a week, a must-do tourist thing is a day trip to Hakone, i.e. Mount Fuji~  (Actually a two day trip would be better, so you can stay overnight in Hakone, but more about that later).

We did a slightly unconventional thing and didn’t buy the Hakone 2 day rail pass.  Mostly because money, as whilst it included various forms of transportation within Hakone, we would have to buy transportation to Hakone from Tokyo as well (we didn’t particularly want to take a highway bus) so it would end up costing a lot. Instead, we bought individual tickets. First, the shinkansen from Shinjuku Station to Hakone (890 one way)

1_train

Then train from Hakone(yumoto) station to Kowakidani Station to take the cableway

2_cableway

Up to Gora Station.  Now the plan was to take the ropeway all the way down to Tougen Station (i.e. the Lake Ashi, but because of possible volcanic activity or something, we had to take a bus to Ubako Station and then take the ropeway from there. The bus is actually significantly cheaper and faster than the ropeway lol.

3_fujicones

Saw these hella cute traffic cones. Only in Japan will people customise their traffic cones to match its surroudings lol.

4_ropeway enter

From Ubako Station

6_ropeway

Shitty weather but..

5_fuji

It was a somewhat cloudy day, so we got very excited when we glimpsed the snow capped peak of Fuji-san! I honestly didn’t expect to feel so happy from seeing the top of a mountain, but something about its shining white, perfect ‘mountain’ triangular/cone figure peaking out from the clouds was quite enchanting and mystical.

7_boat

If we had bought the Hakone Rail Pass, the next mode of transport would be catching a boat to cruise across the lake to Hakone Shrine

8_hike

. But we were living the frugal life so we ‘hiked’ over. It was a one and a half hour lake side walk, on a nice path in cool temperature with occasional splashes of sunlight, so overall it was rather enjoyable.

9_path

I honestly had such a Lord of the Rings vibe during this walk, which was perhaps enhanced by listening to Many Meetings/whistling Concerning Hobbits… ((If it wasn’t for the sky above me, the tall wooden surroundings seriously transported me to the underground Woodland Realm. Now if only Thranduil was there haha))

12_subtle bamboo bokeh11_lake13_me

Also had lake views~ The water sparkled as it reflected rays of sunlight – キラキラ

14_hakone15_tree and gate

Reached the famous tori in the water~ Maybe it’s already a magical site, but I think walking 90 minutes to see it made it look even more spectacular. In a way, it promulgated the aesthetic of Japanese perfectly. A simple silhouette built in harmony with its natural surroundings, creating an image of serenity, of ‘zen’ beauty.

16_little house17_baby tree

Explored the shrine a bit. Above is the baby wishing tree that apparently once you touch, you will have good fortune getting pregnant/having a healthy baby. (i.e. the tree I have been reading about on Cheesie’s blog every year since forever).

19_lake

After this we walked back to the rope way station. Again, we were on a race against the sunset. But there’s always time for a photo ^_^

Why were we racing? We wanted to get to Greenplaza Onsen (which was around 10 minutes walk from Ubako Station), which is one of the outdoor hotsprings from which you can get a view of Mount Fuji! Thus, we wanted to watch the sunset.

But we missed the last ropeway so we had to wait half an hour for a bus ;A;

So we only got to catch a few glimpses of the mountain’s silhouette at dusk. But it was nonetheless breath taking in the deep orange and indigo hues of nightfall. And the onsen was sooo good. Outdoor onsen are literally the greatest. And this one, like my first outdoor onsen experience in Kyoto, was in a rather distant place, away from the light pollution of Tokyo. So even after darkness engulfed Mount Fuji, there was still a sense of magic left in the form of stars.  A really great way of feeling insignificant is reflecting upon how our earth consists of barely a drop in the ocean of stars. But then an ocean really is just a collection of water droplets

Anyways, after a relaxing onsen experience (did I mention there was free sake?  Which was acutally kind of disappointing tasting but oh well), we caught the last bus back to Hakone Station, and then the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.

The end~  In other news, I’m back in Tokyo now~ Will blog more about Tokyo life once I settle down a bit. I still have a few posts left from my last trip, so bear with me ahahah .

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