After a week of enduring the hustle and bustle of the fourth most expensive city in the world, i thought, it would be brilliant to opt for a place that brings us back to nature as our next destination. Thus, bringing us to Hakone…. We had hired a driver that came with a 22-seater mini bus just for the ten of us from Tokyo and it took us about an hour and a half to reach our AirBnb. It cost us about RM 2500 ++. From concretes to a bed of autumn trees, it was truly an amazing sight. We had stopped at Odawara Station to get the Hakone 2-day free pass that cost us 4000 yen each [about RM146]. You could purchase the pass from Shinjuku that includes a round trip, which will cost you 5140 yen instead. I must say, the pass is convenient to the utmost. It covers every transportation for you to get around Hakone, the cable cars, and you can get discounted admission fee for several attractions and hot springs (onsen).
Upon arrival, we left our bags at the BnB and had three hours to kill before we could check-in. We made our way to the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise. The pass is only valid on the pirate ship. The Lake Ashi is truly one of the most scenic places i have ever been to.
On the day of our arrival, we did not know that Mount Fuji was standing right before us all along because there was only a dense grey blanket of cloud. We only knew that she was there the next day. It was truly a majestic sight. A fascinating fact : “Lake Ashi was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago.” I reckon, the best views of the lake can be seen from Moto-Hakone. A bus stop away from where we were [ Hakonemachi ].
The ship will take you to three ports : Hakonemachi-ko, Motohakone-ko, and Togendai-ko. You could board the ship from these three ports. Having three hours to kill, we boarded the ship from Hakonemachi and i thought it would be a good idea to start from above. So we alighted the ship at Togendai-ko. The trip takes about 30 minutes. We then, took a cable car from Togendai that brings us down to Owakudani. The smell of sulphur was suffocating. There were warnings written there that says they do not recommend having people with asthma or respiratory issues to be there. But we went anyway…..
It was freezing cold! It is like being locked inside your refrigerator by your crazy brother who would actually think it’s funny and having to remain there for a really long time.
Owakudani (大涌谷, Ōwakudani) is the area around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago. Today, much of the area is an active volcanic zone where sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers can be experienced. – Japan-Guide
We had the opportunity to buy the ‘black eggs’. It is only black because it is boiled in the sulphurous water.. Legend says that eating the egg could prolong one’s life by seven years. And the ‘black nuts’. Not sure what it’s called but i bought nuts and they’re black and they tasted so good! lol that doesn’t sound right…………… I did not get to try the charcoal soft serve because it was a suicidal move considering i was already dying from frostbites (at least, it felt like it). My brother managed to get one and he loved it. So you should give that a try if you ever find yourself in Owakudani. Indeed, the view of the volcanic valley was a beautiful image.
From Owakudani, we took the cable car down to Sounzan that goes over the ‘death valley’.
Photo taken from Google.
From the cable car, we get to see the great Mount Fuji at its best during the golden hour. You will get to see more from the video i will be posting really soon!! It was truly a blessing to catch a glimpse of her. I have been told that it is rather a rarity to see her on most days throughout the year. Fuji-san, you were indescribably beautiful.
Afterward, we took a Hakone Tozan Cable car to Gora station. It was supposedly a scenic drive along the route but i could only see armpits from where i stood. The Cable Car was thronged with people and i could not even move my arms for a little bit. And then we took a bus to get back to our AirBnb. It was like riding a roller coaster. The driver was extremely talented, i must say.
This was taken from the balcony at our Airbnb during sunrise. It is sort of unedited ( i only adjusted the highlights and the shadows). But this was precisely what i saw at that moment and i was definitely in awe. I ended up wrapping myself with a blanket, a warm tea in my hands, and curled up in a corner at the balcony and watched her for quite some time. Mount Fuji will always be in my heart. It was an incredible experience and truly an honour to witness her beauty.
One thing that i regret of not doing is the onsen. I think, it is a necessity for you to experience the onsen at least once in your lifetime. If you have the time, pay a visit to the Kowakien Yunessun. They have unique baths such as coffee baths, green tea baths and wine baths. Fascinating, really.