Hakone…but no Fuji-san

16 11 2009

We visited Hakone, to the west of Tokyo from where Mt Fuji can be seen (if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear, cloudless day).
The romance car took us from Shinjuku to Odawara, then we met up with mum and dad who were on the JR line and took the switch-back train to Hakone-Yumoto.
We took a local bus to Tenzan onsen, an upmarket onsen. It had lovely hot spring pools – a choice of about five including rock pools, an inside bath, a cold bath and a steamy grotto all with views of the forest and mountains.
From there we caught another local bus to our accommodation which was equipped with 3 hot spring baths of its own. We used the onsen 2 times a day while we stayed there. It was so relaxing and warm in the cold, rainy weather.
The next day was overcast and rained throughout the day so Mt Fuji was not to be seen. But we still managed to ride through the multiple forms of transport – the bus to Gora, the Hakone Tozan cablecar to Sounzan followed by the ropeway to Togendai, the Hakone sightseeing pirate ship cruise across Lake Ashi to Hakone Machi, a walk through the Ancient Cedar lined path alongside the old highway (some trees are up to 360 years old) and bus back to Gora.
In the afternoon the wet weather held off so we walked through Gora Park past the colourful autumn foliage and through the warm glasshouses of bougainvilleas.
We took the bus back to our accommodation, warmed ourselves with another onsen bath in the slightly sulfurous waters and had a huge stirfry for dinner.