Hoping to see Mt Fuji on a day trip to Hakone is always going to be a hit and miss occasion. Mt Fuji is probably the most famous icon of Japan and one that every tourist going to Japan desires to see.
There are a couple of ways to view Mt Fuji and one of which is the “round-trip Hakone recommended course”. It can be completed in a full day but is best to break it up and stay overnight in a Ryokan at various points. Today we are only hoping to take a trip to Lake Ashi with the possibility of seeing the white capped top of Mt Fuji.
Day 51 – April 23rd, 2014.
We had a good nights sleep in our couples capsule and woke up feeling fine, we checked out at 10am from the capsule hotel. Just over the road is a shopping center area with lots of places to eat, we had eaten pizza in this area a few nights ago and remembered a good looking place for breakfast.
A delicious mix of coffee and danish as well as some savouries was all very yummy, a good way to start the day, the weather was good too, which prompted us to take the subway and then train to Hakone-Yumoto via Odawara. First we make our way to Tokyo station to begin the trip, here we see a different Shinkansen.
“Mt Fuji is probably the most famous icon of Japan”
The short train journey aboard the Hakone Tozan Line climbs up to Hakone stopping at a few places on the way and it’s not long before we reach the end station.
“The Odakyu line to Hakone-Yumoto”
The trains that take you further on the Hakone journey are apparently smaller and the trip is very picturesque.
Unfortunately by now the weather is already closing in and an attempt at
“seeing Mt Fuji would be wishful thinking”
so instead we take a walk around Hakone-Yumoto town
“Walking around Hakone-Yumoto”
Through the town past shops and places to eat all very clean and tidy, we then take a left over the Yaei bridge where a sign points us to various destinations.
We decide to go right and stroll up the road past hot springs at various hotels to a hotel with a shrine and the Tamadare waterfalls where we walk around.
It’s a lovely spot to stay and relax with the natural pools around. The waterfall is in behind the hotel and you are allowed to walk around for free.
There are guests from the hotel walking around in bathrobes sitting on benches, it feels a bit like a wellness retreat.
“The Hatsuhana Noodle restaurant in Hakone-Yumoto”
Heading back down by now we are feeling hungry and whilst walking back we spot a restaurant on the corner of a road all alone.
As we approach, people are gathered outside waiting and Moni enquires inside about lunch, the lady at the counter takes our name for our reservation and we are asked to wait outside until a table is ready. This place is busy and full of locals, not European tourists which is great, always a good sign that the food is authentic. Patrons are coming and going quite fast and our wait is not long at all.
The host shows us to our table which is upstairs and we join a table of eight, two on each side. Some people at the table are eating still while others have finished, we study the menu and order, not exactly sure what we will receive.
The restaurant is very traditional with tatami matts and cushions to sit on. We have a low bench at a large square table and can keep our shoes on.
“It’s not long before our meals arrive which look delicious, but how do you eat it?”
We study the locals as to how they go about eating these meals and just follow suit. Here it is custom and polite to slurp your noodles, which we find strange to do, but to the Japanese it’s a sign that the meal is very good.
Lunch is very enjoyable and I think the locals had fun watching us trying to eat and slurp, they had big grins and kept smiling at us. After lunch we vacate our place and the next people are waiting to enjoy.
On walking back across the Yaei bridge you can see the Hatsuhanna restaurant standing alone, a great place which is only a short walk through town, just over a bridge and to the left, if you get to go into Hakone-Yumoto.
We walk back to Hakone-Yumoto station and make the return journey to Odawara where we book the Shinkansen to Osaka for 15.30.
Sitting on a bench waiting for Moni, above me I could here what sounded like thunder, but I knew it was a train, it happened twice in that time while I sat there, then up on the platform we can see what it is…
The bullet trains living up to their reputation are zooming by not stopping at this station. There are four tracks of which the two middle ones are used by the Shinkansen that are not stopping at the station and the two platform side tracks are for stopping Shinkansen, logically it would be very dangerous for the high speed train to whiz by so close to the platform.
Our Shinkansen arrives and we get on, take our seats and enjoy the ride back to Osaka.
Unfortunately it’s not easy to make many pictures from the fast moving Shinkansen as they mostly turn out blurred, but believe me the scenery is for ever changing from open paddocks to built up cities with quaint villages in between.
Back at our room in the Hotel Ill grande we have a cup of tea and hit the sack feeling tired out.
Having only seen a small tip of the iceberg as the saying goes of what the Hakone region has to offer it will certainly be a place that we make sure to visit next time. Heres to hoping that the weather is fine on our return to see Mt Fuji in the Hakone region.