Japan 2012 #1 – Hakone
As of 4th of March, 2012, my long time dream has come true. I finally set foot in the land of the rising sun, Japan, with my family. The dream lasted 10 days long. On day 1, we went to Hakone, a town famous for its hot springs and to my surprise, fish cakes. We bought the Hakone Free Pass, which runs on the Odakyu line. The pass can be bought at Shinjuku station.
We stayed at Hakonenomori Okada, a traditional ryokan located on top of the mountains, behind the bigger Hotel Okada. The place is accesible via taxi and also buses from the Hakone Yumoto station which is just 100 yen per person. The buses will stop at Hotel Okada, which is just a short five minutes walk to Hakonenomori Okada. The taxi fare is roughly 700 or 800 yen, if my memory serves me right, but brings you straight to your hotel. I wholly enjoyed my stay at this ryokan. The rooms are clean and spacious enough for three people. Ryokans generally charge by the number of people. At 6980 yen per person, it was totally worth it as we had access to their public hot spring. Most ryokans within Hakone Yumoto cost around 15000-25000 yen per person.
Hakone is a place for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and enjoy the tranquility and laid-back atmosphere. Unfortunately for us, there was a downpour but the rain did not dampen my mood because hey, I was in Japan.
We went by train to Odawara, a city located not far from Hakone Yumoto. It was a gastronomical delight for me as the basement of the Odawara department store (in the station) was full of sumptuous looking (and tasting) food. Hakone itself also has a lot of yummy looking food, including the wide varieties of ekiben which are normally sold out at the end of the day. Oh and not to mention fish cakes. The Japanese makes the best fish cakes ever!!!
When in Japan, you have to definitely try, at least a sip, of Umeshu. Even their Starbucks tastes better than the freshly brewed coffee at my local kopitiam.
You’re Under Arrest car in Miyashita. Brings back memories of good anime. Using our free pass, we managed to go to Lake Ashi but the weather was so terrible it was so foggy so no Mount Fuji. Sad.
The Romance Car ride back to Shinjuku. We spent a good two days in Hakone and I would totally return for the so-juicy fishcakes.