Hakone Tour

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Sat 2014/11/15 18:08 JST in Places to visit in Japan
Today we spend a day out n about the Hakone ] area where we get to enjoy views of Mount Fuji while exploring Nihondaira, Owakudani and Lake Ashinoko.
Photos taken as usual on the Sony RX100 III and RX1 - both are incredible cameras. Sony used to get on my nut after using their horrid Vaio series but then I started to get back into Sony products after filming Culture Japan TV - the exmor sensors perform really well in low light.
Anyway, these photos are all 1920 x 1080 so they may make a decent wallpaper for some of you.
First photo is taken at Nihondaira which we will talk about later on.
Our mode of transport today is the trusty Mirai Mobile 2.
Mount Fuji in sight - beautiful from the outside but deadly on the inside. Mount Fuji is Japan's highest active volcano and since the 3.11 earthquake has been in an imminent eruptive state. Some research predicts an eruption next year in 2015.
The TV show below tells us what would happen to Tokyo if Mount Fuji erupted.
Still, we live in a world where anything can happen at anytime - no point living in fear.
We have stopped by the Fujikawa Service Area which has a great view of Mount Fuji - here are some folks taking in the view.
Mount Fuji also called Fujisan.
Spotted some nice little dwellings on the side of a hill.
Service Areas are always filled with regional souvenirs and nourishment to keep one going on their journey. Japanese service areas are usually very clean and many have enough things to see and do for those who are also waiting out a traffic jam.
Check out this photo post on Japanese service areas.
Cute regional Mt Fuji water.
We have just arrived at Nihondaira ] which is a plateau where you can get lovely views of the area and Mount Fuji too.
This photo was taken at the tea leaf fields at Nihondaira. Get there using these directions and just ask anybody where the tea leaf fields are - "Chabatake wa doko desu ka?
We went on a weekday and there was hardly anybody around which was nice. So peaceful and tranquil.
Its times like these when one wishes they had wings to head up for a better view. Which reminds me - watched Maleficent recently and loved it.
I didn't think much of it when the movie posters came out but after wifey insisted on the iTunes purchase I was very surprised at how good it was.
Mirai-chan came along with us for the ride. I want to give her wings someday too.
A view of Shimizu city and its Port.
There are narrow footpaths that go between the tea fields which you can walk down.
Big patch of flat earth - hope they don't build a huge hotel on it to block the view ><
All those vegetable fields are privately owned but there is a business model in Japan where you can rent your own and grow your own stuff.
"Do not stab dogs with big red shurikens or they will shat ball bearings"
Speaking of ball bearings, time for some grub. I have a sweet tooth and always check the menu to see if they got any decent afters.
Back then I was using my HTC One again but the camera has the "purple cam" problem so I switched back to the Xperia Z1. The Xperia has been on the blink after taking it for a dip in the ocean so have been keeping an eye out on the Xperia Z3 Compact and Nexus 6.
Have you picked up a new phone of late and if so what you using?
Nom nom.
Mirai x Mirai.
Back on the road with a lovely view of Mount Fuji.
Arrival at Lake Ashi and Hakone Machi Port. Directions can be found here.
Lake Ashi has a few types of water transport for you to give a whirl. The rowboats here cost 700 yen for 30 mins (2 people).
Then there are the big duck things - not sure how much they cost though.
And if you fancy something bigger you can always go for one of the pirate ships.
The remains of a squid that's had its head cut into slices and legs torn off. Tastes good ^^
Lake Ashi is a really nice place to relax and just chill out.
My girl MIrai. I'm currently building a small factory in Katsushika Tokyo just for her. The factory is for the soft vinyl molding and face painting which should enable us to meet the immediate demand before expanding again. Right now am taking reservations for Mirai and Kizuna at smartdoll.jp
Hakone Machi is such a tranquil town. But don't go too late on in the day or you will find everything shut.
One of the torii gates to Hakone Shrine.
Time to head off to explore the next nearby location which is...
Owakudani - come here to get scenic views of the volcanic valley and a load of other tourists.
Before you venture in however, take note that it is forbidden for certain folks to enter.
Owakudani is translated as "Great Boiling Valley" and is located in a volcanic area which experienced eruptions 3000 years ago. The area was once known as Jigokudani or "Hell Valley" but was renamed to Owakudani just for the Emperors visit in 1876.
Directions to Owakudani can be found here.
The lovely views of the valley can be enjoyed even more by taking the Hakone Ropeway cable cars.
Time to head back to base.
As we were heading back to Tokyo, we stumbled across a hot spring town so decided to jump out to explore.
The area we stumbled upon was Yumoto Onsen - an area filled with modern and traditional hotels that have their own hot springs.
You can reach Yumoto by getting off at Hakone Yumoto station and you can get there from Shinjuku station.
Yumoto is filled with hills, lakes and lovely scenery in general.
As for lodging - take your pick.
Where possible, try to experience a traditional Japanese Ryokan hotel. This photo post shows you whats its like to stay at one.
Alongside Sukumo River.
Sukumo River is more of a stream though - which is a good thing as you can hear the constant flow of water over the rocks.
If you are thinking of staying here I would say that a night is more than enough to cover the area.
A map of the immediate area which you can also check out in Google Maps.
House member Makishima Karen says "never never (never) give up."
Evening starts to fall on Yumoto and the area is lit in warm cozy lighting.
Local websites for attractions will tell you that there is no parking in the area which is not true - they tell you that because they would rather you take the train.
There are a few coin parking spots and if you are staying at a hotel then many of them have space to leave your car too.
On the way back to Tokyo - its time for a combination of my fave Japanese dishes - Katsu ( deep fried pork ) and Ton Jiru (pork based soup with veggies).
Check out more places to visit in Japan listed up below.