29 April 2009

Blown Away in Hakone

From a few days ago...

Today was the day that Kristen and I left the safe confines of Tokyo and ventured deeper into Japan. Our destination was the resort town of Hakone, pronounced Hah-cone-ay. We got a bit of a later start since we decided the night before we were going to take it somewhat easier so that we don’t burn ourselves out after one week. We had an enjoyable train ride with highlights of asking for directions from a nice lady and husband who spoke very little English and me finding a comic book on the train only to discover it was a nudie one.

Once we got to Hakone we picked up a Hakone Free Pass which basically entitles you to take what ever transportation you wish in Hakone. This can include, a bus, train, cable car, rope car and pirate ship. Great deal right? Well, we thought so.

The first step to getting to Hakone is taking a train ride from Odawara station to Hakone-Yumoto. We ended up doing this by sneaking on to the “Romance Car” which was supposed to have a surcharge. We were trying to get out so we could get on the correct train but the door closed, so free fancy ride for us. At the end though, Hakone ended up winning the battle.

Basically while today was very nice and sunny, it was also extremely windy. This wind took the pirate ship and rope car off our plans. However with the free pass, if a ride or attraction is closed, you get a refund. This lead to a day of many bus rides down windy roads, which can get old after a while (which it did). We ended up returning to our hotel around 5:30pm which gave a nice time to relax. After Kristen fell asleep at 7:30 (seriously), I decided to step out and try to take some picture of the city after dark. It was quite amusing getting some good pictures as well as seeing Japanese men and women in their Yakutas heading out for a night on the town.

Tomorrow takes us (or took depending on when this gets posted) to Takayama. Also, no word yet if I’ve gotten brave enough to try an onsen. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try. Maybe (I tried an onsen in the morning. It was very nice, a little awkward but the view was unbeatable).

Kristen note: Yes, I did fall asleep at 7:30, but a day of riding a bus down mountain roads can wear a girl out. But seriously, the best thing about Hakone since we had to miss so much of our planned trip is 3 words….RED BEAN CAKES! I ate my weight in free samples from every shop I could, did cave and finally bought one because it was black and it was delish!
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