Saturday, May 19, 2007

Day 6 - Experiencing nature, Japanese style

On our trip, we’ve had internet access in bits and pieces. We’ll have access for the next few days, but after that, we won’t have any until the end of the trip. So I work furiously to make sure that I’m as up to date as possible.

The original Unki has tagged along for this trip too. He enjoyed the bed as much as we did.

Before we left Tokyo, Rob wanted to make sure to take a picture of his favorite part of the hotel room.

Our plan today was to go Hakone, a region famous for its beauty and hot springs. We all wanted to stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, but most were incredibly expensive. In the end, we decided on Kansuiro, an older ryokan with manageable prices.

To get to Hakone, we took the 7:30 am “Romance Car”, which was mainly filled with businessmen commuters. The ride was smooth and fast. When the commuters got off the train, we spread out so we could each have a window seat.

Viewing the landscape from the train gives such different perpective to our trip.

We also got our only view of Mt. Fuji from the train, it became too overcast to see it later on.

This woman made her poodle wave to us while we were waiting at a station.

After our train and taking the bus to the ryokan, we dropped off our bags and used the restroom. They were incredibly accommodating and arrange our shoes for us when we left.

The rooftop of our ryokan.

One of the ryokan employees directed us to the nearest train station and stopped traffic so we could cross the street. We took a staircase that gave us beautiful views.

There are a series of transportation methods to get around Hakone called the “Hakone circuit”. They include a small train, a funicular, cable car, bus and boat.

Here’s the small train – it made a series of switchbacks as we climbed the mountain. More beautiful views were seen from the train.

After the funicular, we went on the cable car. Part of the way was being repaired and would open in 14 days.

Which is what this photo board told us.

I had no idea how big the cable car would be, but they were a comfortable size that held about 15 people.

Towards the end of the cable car ride, we could see that we would be going over a summit. We were all silent until we saw the view on the other side, which was the caldera of a volcano.

We oohed and aawed until we realized that it was incredibly windy and our murmurs of delight turned into screams of terror. Well, not exactly terror but both Rob and Huay caught the moment on video.

What the heck!?!?!? Is this safe?

You know, I love Japan so much and they make such an effort to make sure tourists are taken care of, but sometimes the translations are just… hilarious!

We took a hike up the caldera with many other tourists. Even though the guidebook warned us not to linger too long, as “the gas from the vents is poisonous.” Thanks for the info!

But everyone was really there to eat something.

What’s in the bag?

Black eggs! They are boiled in the steaming volcanic water. They were actually very tasty.

Next – continuing our circuit on water and land.


yumi said...

Great Engrish. That's what I love about Japan, you've got the city with all the skyscapers, and then the lush green areas. Such a contrast. I can't wait to see more pictures.

Susan said...

delurking here to say you have made me want to go to Japan. I was never really very interested before but your descriptions and photos have changed all that!

MinaG said...

I love the photo of you on the tram car, a classic look of fun and fear wrapped into one... also, what did the actual inner egg look like? And what did it taste like? ;)

Vanda said...

We nickednamed it Fart Mountain (I'm sure you know why), and had our first sighting of Fuji there. It was fantastic :)