A visit to Japan wouldn’t be complete without seeing the iconic and majestic Mt. Fuji! We visited Hakone, deemed as one of the best international holiday resorts, famous for its hot springs, natural beauty, and perfect views for Mt. Fuji! However, due to limited time, we were not able to spend a night in a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) and experience an onsen (Japanese hot spring). But this trip left us with no regrets at all, as we could still attribute this trip as one of the best trips we’ve ever had (as of this writing)
From Tokyo, we took the shinkansen (Japan bullet train) to Odawara Station, which was also our jumpoff point for our Hakone tour. I just can’t explain how incredibly detailed the Japanese are, but grabe, look at their train station food! These are packed bento boxes that you could readily purchase at train stations. And upon opening these boxes, you get a little piece of heaven from meticulously prepared Japanese hands!
We did a day tour of Hakone using the Hakone Free Pass (this pass sounds inviting because of the word ‘free’, but the pass isn’t really free, it’s a special kind of pass used in exploring Hakone) where we toured the area using the railway, the bus, the ropeway, cable car, and pirate ship! It was a fun experience going around Hakone using different modes of transportation, while enjoying the magnificent view of Mt. Fuji!
From Togendai,we transferred to Owakudani to observe volcanic activities of the mountain. Owakudani is situated around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone 3000 years ago. Presently, the area has become an active volcanic zone where sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers can be experienced.
The area is also famous for its black eggs, boiled from the volcano steam making it turn black. They say eating the eggs adds 7 more years to your life. No harm done in trying it out, as we were travelers, open to experiencing anything the moment would take us!
After Owakudani, we went to Hakone-machi, where we boarded a pirate ship, and enjoyed the views of Lake Ashi and the surrounding wooded mountains!
Lake Ashi was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago. Today, the effects of a catastrophic event has become an object of admiration as the lake showcasing Mount Fuji in the background has become the symbol of Hakone.
Hakone used to be an important checkpoint to control traffic along the Tokaido, the highway which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period.
They reconstructed the checkpoint to make it look like the former checkpoint from years back. And yes, let me just tell you that the feeling of being watched was pretty much made clear as you pass along the checkpoint. I guess it’s part of the tourist interaction!
SHINYOKOHAMA RAUMEN MUSEUM
Japan and Ramen are practically synonymous with each other despite the origins of ramen coming from China. We visited a unique museum featuring everything ramen– the history of ramen, the production of ramen, the varieties of ramen, the success of instant ramen, among others. Imagine an entire museum devoted to ramen, name it, you’ll learn about it!
What made me love this museum even more is the replica of the streets and houses of Shitamachi, the old town of Tokyo, of around the year 1958, when the popularity of ramen was rapidly increasing.
To make things even better, there are nine ramen restaurants (SUPERB is an understatement) where you can sample an amazing ramen dish from the different regions of Japan!!!
You can order through ticket vending machines, and after a few minutes, your ramen is served piping hot and slurp your way to happiness! Perhaps this ramen experience was one of the ramen bowls we’ve eaten that we’ll never ever forget!
Truly, this day trip to Mt. Fuji combined with our supreme ramen experience made a perfect equation of making yet another awesome day trip in Japan! Indeed, there is no wasted time in this beautiful country!