Hello! It’s already the end of December and I’ve only had one post this month?! It’s been a few of the busiest weeks I’ve had this year with school and part-time jobs and everything in between, and I hadn’t even had time to realise Christmas is this Sunday. But it’s almost time for a short winter break, so tonight I’m going to sit back and try to revive some of my holiday spirit. And blogging frequency.
The other day I had to go to Hakone, and it’d been a long time since I last went there so I took lots of pictures. I think Hakone’s a staple on the itinerary of every traveller to Tokyo, so there were tons of people as usual. Everyone heads to the volcanic valley in Owakudani for some good black eggs bathed in sulfur.
Those eggs are really popular, and they’ve even spawned a huge line of souvenir goods and snacks. Some of the shops have a keychain of Hello Kitty dressed up as a black egg, which is actually cute. There’s also a popular story that they add seven years to your life, which gets a bit suspicious if you eat several of them at once. I didn’t get to eat any this time, but I saw some cute egg-shaped chairs.
And I saw Mt Fuji too! It was super clear that day (with the occasional big cloud sailing across) and so we got a good view of the mountain. Hakone’s still one of the best spots to see it up close—just go up Owakudani on a fine day and you’ll get your postcard shot.
What better prop for your food photo than Mt Fuji?
We went up and down by cable car. Did you know the black eggs get a ride by cable car too? They get stuffed into a little crate and then transported up and down the mountain by their own mini ropeway system. So they can enjoy the scenery high up there along with us.
But the town landscape back on the ground is just as beautiful too. Everything’s authentic and traditional, with lots of rivers and old bridges. So old that this bridge we were on was shaking as we were walking across it (which was slightly alarming seeing it was made of stone).
Another famous icon of Hakone—the huge ship that ferries you across Lake Ashi. Look at it all majestic and being blessed by that ray of sunlight
After you’ve had a full day of exploring Hakone (all the tourist maps are literally designed to go one big round) you can return to the main station at Hakone-Yumoto for some good hot food when you’re hungry. I wasn’t touring around the place or anything but I was still hungry anyway. So we had soba! There are lots of soba and udon restaurants around, so any of them would have something delicious.
I had agemochi soba, which was completely delicious but also a bit of a mistake because I only had 15 minutes to eat and not enough time to finish the two big mounds of fried mochi that came with itBut still highly recommended if you have more time than that and are not a slow eater like me!
Otherwise, just hit the souvenir stores for free tastings. I’ve never seen a street that gives out this many samples. Since I hadn’t had breakfast that morning I ate my way through at least ten stores and got full fast. There’s no better breakfast than pieces of mochi and hot steamed manju.
Kamaboko’s also one of the specialties at Hakone, so there were lots of free samples like this cute panda one too
And even barbecue. Would you believe that? Right in the middle of the street. It was a store selling seafood, so they had grills set up outside where you could literally take their stock and fry them up yourself. And they even had free tea to drink with it.
Free barbecue, beautiful nature and life-extending eggs—Hakone is a wonderful place to visit