One of the gondola workers told us to visit in February, "you can see Mt Fuji every day!".
With that in mind, I decided that since she showed up at sunset, she would greet us in the morning...so
I was amazed at how quickly Satoshi woke up, when I whispered to him that I could see Mt Fuji, because he is definitely not a morning person.
It was so serene. We were pretty much up before the birds (literally!)
Still it was nice to be able to gaze at Mt Fuji as the sun rose.
The open air bath opens at 5:00 so we rushed down and there were already tons of people in the bath gazing at Mt Fuji!
We also checked out the hotel terrace, here you can also see Mt Fuji.
Breakfast service started at 7:00 so we decided that we would eat and then check-out as soon as we had finished breakfast.
Everyone else had the same idea and we had to wait to be seated.
The breakfast buffet had so many choices. Again, Satoshi went overboard with the eating...I don't think I feed him enough at home...ahem!
By the time we had finished eating, Mt Fuji went into hiding...boo!
The weather for the rest of the day in Hakone was forecast for rain, so we checked out and then had to wait about 15 minutes for the ropeway to start up at 8:45.
We headed down to Lake Ashi, just to see what we missed.
Then we headed back up to Owakudani to see what the fog had been covering...
And then we made our way back towards Tokyo...
It was nice travelling on a weekday, there was definitely a less amount of people.
The tozan train which I mentioned is a switch-back type, has a connection with the one in Bernina, Switzerland.
When we took a curve, it kind of reminded me of the train shots I've seen of the Bernina line on television.
We got off the train at Hakone-Yumoto and decided to explore a bit.
This area has many onsen (hot springs), other than that, there are many souvenir shops and places to eat.
We shared a coffee milk soft serve from Hakone Baisen Coffee...super sweet but perfect for the heat!
And then we shared a curry pan from Fujiya Hotel...spicy!
And then we got back onto the train and headed to Odawara.
It was so hot and sticky. Still we went to check out Odawara castle.
We were lucky because they were having their hanashobu (iris) and ajisai (hydrangea) festival.
That hillside in the background is all hydrangea...beautiful!
If you decide to visit Odawara Castle, be prepared to climb stairs. Lots of stairs.
They don't have air-condition, so I was standing in front of their fans at all 4 floors...
We then went to seek out lunch at Sakana Cuisine Ryo.
Satoshi chose their daily fish special. Of the 4 choices, a couple were already sold out, so he chose a fried inada (amberjack). His lunch also came with a fish bone stew, salad, miso soup, pickles & rice...980 yen(tax included).
I went with their seafood chirashi...980 yen (tax included).
All sorts of seafood and thickly sliced. I appreciated that there was more fish than rice.
By the time we finished lunch we had to make our way to Haneda airport.
Once at the airport we decided to have something for snack...Jiichiro's Baum Kuchen & coffee.
This baum kuchen was so moist and buttery (though they also use margarine...boo!)
For dinner, I bought a pork loin katsu sandwich from Yoshoku Yoshikami at the Soraben (air-bento) counter to take back to Osaka.
(by the way, ekiben means train/station bento)
Yoshoku Yoshikami is quite well-known. In fact, Dennis just wrote up about eating there.
I enjoyed this sandwich, there was a nice balance of cabbage, tonkatsu sauce and a little Japanese mustard.
The katsu coating was still a little crisp.
Satoshi bought a beef bento which used beef from Ishigaki, Okinawa. He said it was a little sweet but really tender and tasty!
As for omiyage, I bought a Mt Fuji note pad, Mt Fuji sticker & some face masks from Owakudani.
It was a quick trip, the weather wasn't the greatest, but we were happy that we got to see Mt Fuji.
If you are interested, I shot some videos of Mt Fuji and at Lake Ashi...here, here, and here.
Oh, and if you are planning to check out Hakone, be sure to get the Hakone Free Pass, it lets you get on and off the various modes of transportation in the area.
The pass isn't exactly "free" but it does give you a nice discount at some attractions.
You can also check out the Hakone Tourism page as well.
I hope you enjoyed this adventure. We're already thinking about going again...in February...
Hakone Baisen Coffee
702 Yumoto Ashigara-shimo-gun
Picot (Fujiya Hotel)
256-1 Yumoto Ashigara-shimo-gun
Sakana Cuisine Ryo
Lunch 11:30-14:30, Dinner: 17:00-22:00