Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 10 – Hakone Circuit and Onsen-ing

And then it was morning in Hakone.

Hakone Morning. Image Credit: Ryan.

We chose the Wafu-breakfast. Which I warned T meant waaaay too Japanese. Which she didn’t quite understand. Anyway, we started with 2 kinds of tofu, including the alternate grey kind, like the Incredible Hulk.

Two Tofu. Image Credit: Ryan.

If you can properly identify everything here, more power to you.

Hardcore Japanese Breakfast. Image Credit: Ryan.

Kaiyu, miso shiru, very good oranges, and tea.

Miso Soup and Oranges. Image Credit: Ryan.

Morning dip in the inside onsen.

Onsen Time. Image Credit; Ryan.

Okay, time to explore Hakone. This was The Hakone Open-Air Museum which was one stop away from our hotel. I suspected it was going to be very cool. And it should be pointed out that there are like 10 or more museums and galleries and parks to explore in the Hakone area.

Hakone Open-Air Museum. Image Credit: Ryan.

Okay, enough of the arts. On to travel on the Hakone crazy-ass circuit of fun. Not its true title but we just got off a train and are about to embark on a mountain cable car.

Hakone Tozan Cable Car. Image Credit: Ryan.

Note the stairs on this bad boy, because we are on something of a slant.

Cable Car Stairs. Image Credit: Ryan.

Next: the Hakone Ropeway.

Hakone Ropeway. Image Credit: Ryan.

The Ropeway opens up to what only can be described as a scene out of a James Bond film. I kept looking for the Jaws character to hop on the top of the cabin to start gnawing on cables. Ropeway cabin rooftop fight! Yes!

Ropeway apocalypse now! Image Credit: Ryan.

Exiting the Ropeway, here we pause to view Mt. Fuji emerging from the clouds.

Mt. Fuji Emerging from the Clouds. Image Credit: Ryan.

This area of Hakone is known for its sulphur-boiled blackened eggs and other foods dyed black so they can be sold to tourists.

Hakone Sulphur Boiled Eggs. Image Credit; Ryan.

Pictured: one of those tourists peeling a blackened egg. It’s also said that for every egg you consume you gain 7 years of life. I ate 3, T ate 2.

Egg Peeling Hakone Style. Image Credit: Ryan.

Also pictured: the best damn 400 yen cheesecake your money can ever buy. If you find this particular dessert, you will be very, very happy.

Gotemba Kogen Cheese Cake. Image Credit: Ryan.

On to the sulfur whitened stream.

Sulfur Whitened Stream. Image Credit: Ryan.

Overcome by the sulfur fumes.

Sulfur Fumes. Image Credit: Ryan.

Seriously, this guy needs a hazmat suit while he boils eggs.

Sulfur Egg Boiling. Image Credit: Ryan.

Even the blackened eggs get a Ropeway trip down this miniature version to the awaiting sales force below.

Blackened Egg Ropeway. Image Credit: Ryan.

T notes that Mt. Fuji has fully emerged from the clouds.

Mt. Fuji Emerging from the Clouds. Image Credit: Ryan.

Returning to the Ropeway: what the hell is that? A pirate ship?

Hakone Pirate Ship. Image Credit: Ryan.

This is the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, taking passengers between the Ropeway and the far shore (destination: either the Hakone Shrine or the Hakone Checkpoint.

Hakone Sightseeing Cruise. Image Credit: Ryan.

But before we board: lunch. Udon, a salad, and hamburger steak.

Hakone Lunch at the Pier. Image Credit: Ryan.

And now back to the pirate ship. Scanning the horizon ahead.

Scanning the Horizon. Image Credit: T.

This is Lake Ashi, by the way. And it’s damn cold in this area what with the mountain snows and winds.

T and Lake Ashi. Image Credit: Ryan.

And another pirate ship sails past.

Rival Pirate Ship. Image Credit: Ryan.

Now on to walking part of the circuit, Hakone Sekisho – a restored Edo-era checkpoint and museum along the Old Tokaido Road.

Hakone Checkpoint. Image Credit: Ryan.

Cedar lined roads along the original route.

Cedar Lined Road. Image Credit: Ryan.

Guard Stations.

Guard Stations. Image Credit: Ryan.

All funneled travelers through gates where movements could be tracked and duties could be collected.

Duty Collection Point. Image Credit: Ryan.

Unless you were a master ninja. Here, I show off my mastery at disguise.

Monk Disguise. Image Credit: Ryan.

A bus ride later and the circuit was complete. We’re back at the hotel with a spot of tea and sweets.

Tea and Snacks at Ryokan. Image Credit: Ryan.

Followed closely by a Hakone regional beer. 

Hakone Kenjyou Beer. Image Credit: Ryan.

And then it was time for dinner. Again, the night’s menu.

2nd Night’s Menu. Image Credit: Ryan.

Now to the baths. Here, T displays the bandages she must employ to cover her tattoo as we are attempting to use the public onsen in the ryokan.

T Covering Up. Image Credit: Ryan.

It was dark. You must imagine the scene. As is common for many onsen, some baths are reserved for men, and others for women. Some days they switch. It was late, so I had the onsen to myself. 

Ryokan Onsen. Image Credit: Ryan.

Oh, the majestic beauty.

Ryokan Onsen 2. Image Credit: Ryan.

A trembling vision.

Ryokan Onsen 3. Image Credit: Ryan.

And the Ryokan Sauna. It was okay, but we preferred the baths in our rooms. Good night.

Ryokan Sauna. Image Credit: Ryan.


Questions, Comments or Criticisms?