Day 2: Hakone Day Trip
We started our day a little past 7am. I was in a good mood because it was bright and sun-shiny outside. This means that we have a huge chance of seeing Mt. Fuji!
You can access Mt. Fuji in a few ways, but we used the route from Shinagawa Station. Figuring out which is the right station to transfer after boarding the wrong train (and almost going to Shinagawa Seaside Station – which is completely different from the Shinagawa Station) we finally arrived at Odawara Station via the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. This route is covered by the JR Pass so I wasn’t worried about getting lost on trains. Haha.
From exiting the Shinkansen, you can this sign from the ticket gates.
Ahead is the Starbucks store that we had our breakfast in. But before getting to that is an escalator to your right. Go up, and you can see to your left the gates to the Odakyu Railway. Beside the gates is the tourist center. People there are NICE. Like seriously, they can speak fluent English and will answer your question the best that they can.
We bought the Hakone 2-Day free Pass which saved us a few hundred yen and hassle. In Japan, I seemed to always prefer comfort over expense. I can’t read Kanji, not even Hiragana nor Katakana, so it’s hard to get directions with just reading. Sigh. I kind of regret not continuing my self-study of Hiragana but I haven’t mastered Hangul yet, so maybe after I can read Hangul at a fast phase?
Anyway, during our vist, the wind and current were strong so for that morning, the Hakone sightseeing boats were not available. I asked the guide and he said, maybe in the afternoon if the weather conditions changed. I decided to use the other route so that maybe in the afternoon, we can possibly ride the pirate ship.
We did the classic Hakone Round Course which puts the boat ride towards the end of the trip.
1. From Odawara station, ride the Hakone Tozan Railway: this will be from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora.
2. From Gora Station, ride the Hakone Tozan Cablecar: Gora to Sounzan. Note that this is uphill, and not the one floating in the air.
3. From Sounzan, ride the Hakone Ropeway: Sounzan to Owakudani.
During this ride, you can already see Mt. Fuji. For better view, sit in the middle facing the front of the cart. For a good photo, sit in the front of the cart, your back is towards the direction of Owakudani.
We explored Owakudani not expecting the super cold wind at high altitude. It was crazy cold that I felt my fingers almost freeze. Thank you Uniqlo HeatTech gloves, you saved me from frostbite! I bought the Kuro-Tamago which is famous in this place because it’s cooked in sulfur – or something. It’s just black in the outside, but it tastes pretty much the same.
When you go outside the station building, go to the next building and you can see from there a breath-taking view of Mt. Fuji!
4. From Owakudani, ride again the Hakone Ropeway: Owakudani to Togendai.
We arrived in Togendai and took some photos. We’ve decided that the ship won’t be sailing so we just went out took photos of it. When we went back inside, a lone was already forming. Good thing English announcements were flashing.
5. From Togendai, get onboard the Hakone Sightseeing Boat: Togendai to Moto-Hakone
It’s sad that there’s no trip going to Hakone-Machi were the Ancient Cedar Avenue is, but the boat will sail directly to Moto-Hakone were we can take the Hakone Tozan Train to Odawara Station.
We couldn’t do any more sightseeing on foot because we have to catch the shinkansen going to Tokyo as we have to meet Karla’s boss in Akasaka-mitsuke station at around 6:30 so we had to hurry back.
Arriving in Akasaka-mitsuke, we sort of walked a hundred meters and arrived at this Izakaya place where we wouldn’t walk in unless accompanied by a local.
Izakayas are kind of a difficult place to eat at when you’re a foreigner and can’t read the Japanese writing system, nor can’t speak Japanese. All the menu was in Japanese and though the staff were very polite and nice, I still think it would be difficult. There were no pictures!!! HAHA.
But the food was great and we kind of went on a food field-trip in there. The sashimi was the best I had in my life! I don’t think I can try anything like that in the Philippines. Sigh. Authentic can only really be found in the native country. Still, it was a great way to end our second day in Japan!
Any recent food trips you’ve had? Or suggested food to try in Japan? Let me know in the comments below!