The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 19 November 2007

Hakone: Day 2

On the second day of our Hakone trip, we went to various sites where we can view Mt Fuji. It was a great morning - the sky was clear and Mt Fuji was clearly visible. Being so kiasu, I took photos of Fuji-san at every location that we could see it. So I have many shots of Mt Fuji from several viewpoints. Here are two of the better shots from one side of Lake Ashi:

Photo 1: View of Mount Fuji with a torii (shrine gate); Photo 2: View framed with the silhouette of momiji (maple leaves):

We met a cute Japanese family, and the guy kept saying that we were very lucky to be there on that day - he'd previously been to Hakone about five times before, and this was the first time he could view Fuji san that clearly. He spoke pretty good English, and it turns out that he is some sort of TV personality on a TV network in Japan. His wife is pretty and his two daughters are so adorable! After a short chat, we exchanged contact details and parted ways. We walked through the Ancient Cedar Avenue which is more than 400 years old, briefly stopped by the Detached Palace Garden, then boarded a "pirate ship" on a 40min sightseeing cruise of Lake Ashi and disembarked at the northern end of the lake.

Rob and me with the famous mount:

The Ancient Cedar Avenue and the garishly-decked "pirate ship":

To our pleasant surprise, we bumped into the Japanese family again at the other side of the huge lake! They were on their way to Owakudani, which happened to be next on our itinerary, so we went with them. Owakudani which is a sulfurous volcanic site where we ate black onsen tamago (hot spring eggs, cooked with the sulfurous hot spring water). This place stank like a giant did a really bad never-ending fart, and the littlest girl of new friends walked around with her fingers shutting her nose. So cute! Despite the stink, Owakudani was really crowded with visitors, and it really was quite an interesting visit. There was a good view of Mt Fuji at Owakudani, but the view of Fuji-san was by then getting obscured by some clouds. Had we visited Owakudani in the morning, we would have had such a magnificent sight of Mt Fuji.

The sight upon exit of the cable car station at Owakudani; close up of the bubbling sulfurous water:

Eating kuro tamago (black egg); the sight during the cable car descent on the other side of the mountain from Owakudani:

When we arrived back at Shinjuku Station in the evening on Sunday, I was tired. It was a great weekend, and what a lovely way to celebrate my birthday. One day soon, we will perhaps climb Mt Fuji.

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