It's Day 4 and our last day in Tokyo. We set off early with an ambition to complete the Hakone tour in half a day so that we still have a bit more time to explore the last bits of Tokyo.
Hakone is a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National park where visitors are able to get a glimpse of Mount Fuji in the near distance. The train journey from Tokyo is around an hour away and we bought the Hakone Free Pass which includes a round trip on the train from Shinjuku Tokyo and unlimited use of all associated transport within the Hakone area.
The Hakone 'loop' is the best way to see Hakone, and consists of using different transport modes to loop all the way round Hakone. The transport was really fun, consisting of mountain train/cable car/ropeway/boat/bus! There are pit stops along the way and the loop took us in total about 6 hours to complete.
Here are the stops we did during our loop:
- Shinjuku to Odawara
- Odawara to Gora
- Gora onto Hakone Tozan Cable Car
- Souzhan for the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani
- Owakudani to Togendai
- Togendai for the Hakone Sightseeing Boat on Lake Ashi and end in Moto Hakone/Hakone Machi
- Moto Hakone/Hakone Machi for the Hakone Tozan Bus to Odawara
- Odawara back to Shinjuku
But before we get into exploring, breakfast first!
Breakfast part 1 - Passionfruit KitKat. This is utterly delicious and one of the best Japanese KitKat flavours around.
Breakfast part 2 - Stand up noodle bar inside Shinjuku station. We had time to spare before our train so why not. Simple and delicious udon in a hot broth with a deep fried seaweed fishcake for dunking. I love Japan!
Breakfast part 3 - We've found another edition of the white sandwiches we love so much. This one with ham and mayo is delicious.
Breakfast part 4 - So this was me being a piggy for breakfast, G had no part in this. A family mart purchase of waffle filled with matcha ice cream and adzuki beans...
The romance car!
Once we arrive in Odawara, we look for the train to Gora.
Gora is a cute little town with nothing much going on apart from a handful of houses and a few stores selling refreshments and souvenirs.
The queue for the Tozan Cable Car starts here. The cable car heads for Sounzan and we arrive 10 minutes later.
Once at Sounzan, it's onto our next transport mode. The views from the Hakone Ropeway is serene and we catch our first glimpse of Mount Fuji.
We take our first proper stop at Owakudani as there's lots happening here. There's a couple of restaurants here for lunch and the main attraction is the volcanic mountain/area. We could see the steam from a distance on the ropeway.
Eggs that are boiled in the volcanic sulphur pools of Owakudani is a real selling point here. You can buy them inside the souvenir shops, the hot snack shops and there's even Hello Kitty in a black egg suit.
The steaming sulphur pools really smell of rotten eggs.
Time for refreshments! Egg flavoured soft serve sounded cool, I imagined it to taste like Chinese egg tarts... then I took a bite. It tasted of boiled eggs. Boiled eggs in my ice cream is never ever to be repeated again.
And the sulphur eggs that we suckers queued up for. Apart from the black shell, and a funky sulphuric-rotten-egg smell, it was just an egg.
Time to get back on the ropeway for our next stop, Togendai.
Once at Togendai, we wait for the Hakone Sightseeing Boat which tours Lake Ashi.
Moto Hakone/Hakone Machi where we'll alight for a bus back to Odawara.
Back at Odawara station and it feels like we've stepped back into the 1980's of Japan. How cool does Retro Japan look?
Time for a final ride in the Romance Car back to Tokyo, where we still have more exploring to do. Bye bye Hakone!
More on our Japan honeymoon here.