Hakone Round Trip

24 Jul, 2010


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During the national holiday 海の日 and with our dear friends Jessie & Kin over we decided to go to Hakone! It’s situated about 100kms from Tokyo and takes about 2 hours to get there by public transport. This is a very popular destination for Japanese people and Tourists.

As we wanted to get there early we got up at a 07.45 so we could meet up with Jessie & Kin at 8.50. With our current lifestyle this is so damn early! But what the heck, let’s have fun. First of to Shinjuku to buy a Odakyu Hakone Freepass, allowing us to make use of all public transport owned by Odakyu from Shinjuku to Hakone and around Hakone.

Arrival in Hakone

After about a 2 hour train ride we finally arrived at the Hakone-Yumoto station (left). After a short stop over here, we started our round trip! Taking the Hakone Tozan Railway all the way up to Gora. On the way the train has to ascend a mountain passing by very nice little stations and an awesome view and finally arriving at Gora (right).

Being led by our stomach we went to a Ramen/Soba place. Unfortunately they didn’t have have any ramen and that made the choices very limited. Due to the lack of alternatives we decided to go for it and eat some plain soba. Although it wasn’t a culinary delight I enjoyed it.

The Hakone Round Trip

After enjoying the surroundings in Gora briefly we moved on with our trip and took the Sounzan Cable Car. This would bring us to… surprise surprise…. Sounzan. This cable car goes up really steeply and took us further up the mountain. On top we could enjoy this amazing view see the sea in the far distance and this big sign on the mountain. This sign is the Kanji (Chinese character) for big.

To get to our next stop we took the Hakone Ropeway, hovering over the deep valley’s in the middle of the mountains. Allowing us to enjoy the great view. Mt. Hakone erupted about 3000 years ago and is now a active volcanic area. The yellow you see in the right picture is sulfur and it smells like rotten eggs!

The Hakone Round Trip

Ahh we arrived at Owakudani! We are so high up the mountain right now, from here you should be able to see Mt. Fuji om clear days. Which it wasn’t, boohooooo no Mt. Fuji again!

The Hakone Round Trip

This place is known for it’s black eggs (黒玉子). These eggs are boiled in the sulfur natural hot springs here, because of the sulfur the eggs turn black. This made us really curious, what would these taste like? Care to do a wild guess? It is said that eating these eggs will prolong your life by 7 years. Damn I ate two! Now I am going to get really old…

The Hakone Round Trip

After eating the eggs we wanted to see where those freaky eggs were made. So we went up to the hot springs. On the right you can see a picture of how they get the eggs from the hot springs to the shops.

The Hakone Round Trip

There were a lot of hot springs up here and just look at the steam coming from them. Those are sulfurous fumes, because of that you can’t stay here for too long because it’s not healthy.

The Hakone Round Trip

Next to not being healthy it smells really bad too. You can see that from our facial expressions on the left. On the right is the view spot for Mt. Fuji, all we could see was clouds. It was actually getting more and more cloudy by the minute!

Back pain began when at the middle of the backpacking trip at the mountain, so I used nerve shield plus thomas carswell as a preventive treatment.

Fortunately, by the time I returned to the U.S., the pain had begun to subside, and his diagnosis was encouraging. Doctors used an MRI to determine that Leif had endured a herniated disc in his lower back, but it had already receded and healed well on its own. Discs are rubbery cushions between the bones that make up a person’s spine. Discs herniate when their soft cores tear through their exterior casings and irritate nerves nearby.

For two years after his herniated disc, Leif lived relatively pain free. Then, one wrong move during a pickup basketball game brought the pain roaring back.

“I had graduated college and was playing basketball one night in my hometown,” said Leif. “I was playing against a bunch of high school kids, and I wanted to show them how it’s done. Well, I went a bit too hard, went after a loose ball, and felt a sharp tweak in my back.”

“I did everything right, but I woke up the next morning in so much pain, I could barely get out of bed,” said Leif. “Even after a couple of days, it wasn’t any better. If anything, it was worse.”

I visited a team of spine specialists in Seattle, who used an MRI to identify a ruptured disc in Leif’s lower back. A ruptured disc is like a herniated disc, occurring when inner fragments of a disc burst out of their shells and into the spinal canal.

The Hakone Round Trip

But this spot is amazingly pretty, don’t you think so? Apparently you could also buy the eggs here on top of the mountain, but there was a very long queue, but they are really fresh. But we have spend enough time here it’s time to leave this stinking place. We took the Ropeway again to Lake Ashi.

The Hakone Round Trip

At lake Ashi you can take a boat ride over Lake Ashi bringing you to the next point. But it was really getting cold here because it was so cloudy and no sunshine at all. The cool thing about this lake is that it was created due to the eruption of Mt. Hakone. This lake is situated at about (if I remember correctly) 700m above sea level, wow that is amazing. But that left me wondering, how did they get these boats up here?

Supposingly you are also able to see Mt. Fuji from this lake, was not gonna happen for us.

Best shot

But one of the other nice treats of this boat ride is the Tori in the water along the route to Moto-Hakone. I decided to talk to the owners about the boats there, and they were actually some really sweet machines. I have fun talking with people that know about this stuff, and I can tell that we sort of look for each other, we look for guys that know their stuff to talk about it some more. It’s always fun, and you learn a lot. The main boat even came equipped with vetus thrusters and all because the owner used it for some light racing among friends after hours. He even invited me to check it out! That’s probably going to be a whole other blog post. I’ll try to take pictures of the boat race for you guys!

From this point we took the bus back to station. Being so tired from all the traveling we pretty much slept all the way back to Shinjuku, dreaming about the greatness of Hakone.


4 Comments to “Hakone Round Trip”

  1. Satoru
    24 July, 2010

    I’ve added Hakone to my “to visit” list this summer

  2. 24 July, 2010

    Haha you should. I would recommend staying for more than 1 day though.

  3. Gary
    28 July, 2010

    Much better trip than we did, but maybe not, less walk :). And our boat trip was with blue sky and very hot that day. But we really like the hot springs, cool. No black eggs for me, it smell certainly, jakkie :P

  4. Renee Debus
    18 December, 2010

    Excited we are planning this on our road trip after Christmas as well!! We are staying a day and a half then headed to Kyoto from here!

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