Continuing on our Japan rail itinerary …
Day 5 – Hakone
- We finally dared to use the Onsen at our hotel in Kyoto. Thankfully they had given very clear instruction on what to expect and what to do. They even keep Japanese pyjamas to wear in the rooms. Thankfully it was empty when I entered, so no awkward moments there!
- After a relaxing start to the day, we set out to Hakone. We exchanged currency at post office outside Kyoto station – there was a short line but processing was quick and efficient. We then took the 2 hour train ride from Kyoto to Odawara. At Odawara station we purchased the 2 days Hakone Pass (4,000 Yen ) and got clear instructions on how to reach our hotel. We took the Tozan train till Miyanoshita and then walked over to the hotel (alternatively, you can call for hotel shuttle to pick you up). Train transfers were very smooth as this is vacationers! Refer http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/ for details
- Fujiya hotel looked like it was out of period drama (reminds you of Agatha Christie novels) and it was more English and less Japanese! Not surprising as it has played host to lot of foreign dignitaries from across the world. We were luckily upgraded and taken to our room on the first floor close next to main reception building (No elevator – but they help you with the luggage). The room was huge and had a lovely old world charm. After wearing a layer of warm clothes, we set out to explore Hakone.
- We took the tozan train, cable car and a ropeway to reach the Owakudani (mountain top). On the way up, you pass over the mouth from where volcanic gases are being released. The weather was cloudy (and also cold) so Mt. Fuji was not visible. We then proceeded down the ropeway on other side to make it in time for the last lake cruise.
- The cruise itself is very colourful and grand. Head over to top deck to take in the sights of hills all around. The 40 mins cruise across Lake Ashi was nice (included in Hakone Pass). We got off at HakoneMachi-Ko and took the bus back to hotel. On the way back we grabbed some food from a grocery store near hotel.
- The hotel has provision for hot spring water to be pumped directly to the room (one of the key reasons why we chose this property). We had a relaxing soak to end the day
Day 6 – Hakone
- We started the day with a trip to onsen in Fujiya hotel (getting bolder now) – fortunately nobody else was there as it is a small one and spring water provision is there in rooms. We later checked out of the hotel and left luggage with valet.
- We started off the same way as previous day – hoping for view of Mt. Fuji. We were fortunately welcomed with a nice sunny day and Mt. Fuji was visible clearly. Mt. Fuji is visible on the right side and we got some good views from the parking lot. We tried out Hakone speciality of black eggs – these are boiled in hot spring water which turns outer layer black. The taste the same as normal eggs. Each egg is supposed to increase life span by 7 years!
- We walked around watching the volcanic gases and then took the lake cruise (again) to MotoHakone. We went to ‘Bakery & Table’ for a meal – and ended up having the Mt Fuji inspired dessert. The restaurant has great views of the lake and the dessert was made right in front of us!
- We walked over to the floating Torii gate (visible from the cruise) and then visited the nearby temple. This area was quiet with not many tourists.
- We then headed back to the hotel in the bus (just put hotel name in Google maps – that will point out the closest bus stop). Bus was quite crowded on the way back but was quickest option to return.
- We explored the gardens around Fujiya hotel and spent an hour roaming around. The fishes were the most entertaining – they were literally jumping out as they expected us to feed them!
- We then took the hotel shuttle to station. SS Tip: Dragging suitcase uphill near station entrance wouldn’t have been easy. We were then off to Odawara and our next base Tokyo (1.5 hour to our hotel)…