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

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Hakone: Day 1

Two weekends ago, I had Saturday off (substitute day off for working last Sunday for the school's Halloween party). This meant that for the first time since beginning this teaching job, Rob and I got a Saturday and Sunday to spend with each other. Since it was the weekend closest to my birthday as well, we took the opportunity to go to Hakone for an overnight trip. It also happened to be the weekend of Hakone's Daimyo Gyoretsu (feudal lord's procession) festival, so that would mean crowded trains and streets and expensive accommodation. However, we didn't know the next time I'd get a Saturday off, so we went ahead with the plan. The procesison was kinda interesting and amusing to watch: locals decked out in Edo-era costumes doing various performances. Accompanying the procession were brass bands from various clubs, and there was even an American cheerleeding squad.

The beginning of the procession; the 'daimyo' (feudal lord)

These guys were performing funny dances; and the 'hime' (princess) decked out in a full kimono outfit:

Later on Saturday afternoon, we took the 40-minute funicular ride to approximately 550m above sea level to Gora to see one of the parks. The mountain air was refreshingly crisp but chilly. We then made our way back to our hotel to have our dinner and soak in the in-house onsen (public bath).

A big fountain at the park; and in the Rose Garden

On the funicular back to Hakone, we had front seats and we could see the driver's panel and through the windscreen. Thought it'd be fun to take wacky shots

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