We had planned our biggest and most exciting travel day yet. We had a variety of modes of transport to conquer to get to Hakone – our motel with Fuji views from the hot spa pool. So we needed a good breakfast to sustain us for the trip. The breakfast buffet did the trick – though it did not have the popular favourites like Japanese Curry and salmon. Instead we needed to enjoy fried chicken, smoked mackerel and chips! (As well as the other Japanese breakfast staples).
Today’s transit was a journey of a thousand stages. We began our journey near Osaka Castle, took 2 subway lines at Osaka peak hour. This meant we, together with our full luggage, were crammed like sardines with half of the population of Australia travelling at the same time to Shin Osaka. There we boarded the Shinkansen towards Tokyo. Although we were not assigned Mt Fuji side seats, we all managed to scam some and sit to see Mt Fuji whilst eating our bento boxes.
We arrived at Odawara and immediately regretted our choice of clothing because it was so hot. The bus was crowded and unpleasantly steamy and Richard stripped down to his singlet. As we climbed the mountain range the temperature began to drop reaching a cool 6 degrees when we got off the bus, so we piled on as much clothing as we could find in our hand luggage.
We could not believe that here we were required to board a pirate ship bound for Togendai across the choppy Lake Ashi.
To say it was cool is an understatement. We arrived to board a ropeway gondola,
still heaving our luggage with us, and climbed the next mountain to Ubarko where we disembarked to forge our way through the wilderness and trek the boar infested Japanese Alpine forest towards The Green Plaza Hotel.
We were dusted with a few stray sleety snowflakes as the first few spots of rain began. As we arrived our friendly doorman greeted us, opened the door and immediately served our parched dry mouths a welcome drink. We were glad to rest our weary feet and relax in our new home complete with crystal chandelier.
Our rooms were traditional Japanese complete with Tatami matted floor, low table and not much else – true minimalism. We has our own tea ceremony sitting look out at what should have been Mt Fuji views but instead was cloudy drizzle. It was time to try the waters of Hakone in the Onsen.
After reading all of the rules we set of to enjoy a hot mineral out spa in outdoor Fuji view spring fed pond!
We had a fabulous dinner buffet of seafood, miso’, all manner of interesting condiments and sides as well as a dish that we put together from the buffet and cooked at our table – it was quite a challenge to conquer. Deserts were good too.