15 hours ago
Sunday, 18 January 2015
Trip around the Hakone region
Saturday morning in Hakone-machi was sunny enough for an ice cream while we waited to board the boat for the first stage of the 'Hakone loop'. We bought the 'Hakone Free Pass' travel ticket at Shinjuku, so travelling independently around Hakone was really easy and we didn't have to keep buying additional tickets. Mount Fuji was hidden in cloud by lunchtime.
The view back to our hotel. I was pleased we eventually managed to find available rooms at the Hakone Hotel, because I wanted to be on the lakeside and in Hakone-machi itself. There are dozens of hotels and ryokans in the area, but I'd already picked this one out. Our room overlooked the lake.
Waiting to board the 'pirate ship' to Togendai-ko, the first stage of the trip across Lake Ashi.
Hakone-machi in the background. Hakone yosegi parquetry originally used timber from the forests around this area.
Continuing up the lake. The torii gate leads to Hakone Shrine, but we didn't visit.
The pirate-themed ship is a big hit with the kids...
The snow started to get quite heavy across the lake.
Waiting to board the Hakone Ropeway cable car. It was our first time in a cable car - an interesting experience.
First glimpse of the volcanic landscape at Owakudani.
Mount Fuji in the background at Owakudani station.
Massive stabilisation works at Owakudani.
The winding gear for the ropeway at Sounzan station.
Next stage - Hakone Tozan Cable Car, at Sounzan station. This stage is really a funicular railway, rather than a cable car, but as there is only one train, I guess technically is is cabled. Everything you needed was signposted in English, making it much easier to travel around the area than I'd expected.
At Gora Station, waiting for the Hakone Tozan train. It is a mountain railway with steep gradients in places.
We went back all the way to Hakone Yumoto before taking the bus back to Hakone-machi. There were several stations on the way where the bus and train could connect, but we wanted to do the whole ride. I would definitely recommend it. Although there are one and two day versions of the Hakone Free Pass, the three day one gives more time to explore the area - a one day visit wouldn't have been enough time at all.