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Colourful koyo and black eggs – our Hakone round trip

Colourful koyo and black eggs – our Hakone round trip

Koyo (beautiful leaves watching) is what Japanese people cherish in autumn. As beautiful and important to Japanese people as hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in spring.

There are weather forecasts  on TV and maps at the train stations that outline the change in colour and advise on the perfect location according to leaf colour status. Hakone was one recommended destination to enjoy Japanese autumn colours and get a view of Mt Fuji. Only a few hours away, we embarked on a memorable day trip!

HOW TO GET THERE  – cheapest way with public transport

Great value is the Hakone Freepass – a discount round trip ticket for train, bus and cruise which is 5,000 yen  for adults, 3,900 yen for children. Odakyu trains leave from Shinjuku – we paid 4,950 yen from Kyodo Station, closest to our house. The Freepass is valid for two days. If you like to travel by Romancecar, it will be 870 yen extra for the one way ride, per person.

This is a popular round trip which we did with the Hakone Freepass – just the other way around. The queues were enormous at Hakone Yumoto to Gora which is why we decided to take the bus (40 min ride) to start at Moto Hakone-Ko.

Hakone round trip

 

We took the train and bus. Some came by rickshaw.

Hakone, Japan\

 

Easy riders came by bike.

Hakone, Japan

 

 

WHAT TO DO – (relaxed) Hakone round trip

☀ Ancient Cedar Avenue ✎ The Edo Shogunate planted cedar trees along the old travel road in 1618, for the comfort and sun/snow protection of travelers by foot. 2 km remain today. Free to walk.

☀ Hakone Detached Palace Garden ✎ If you climb the stairs between Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi, you will see the impressive western style villa, the former summer residence of the imperial family which was destroyed by an earthquake. Today the balcony of the reconstructed building serves as an observation point to see Mt Fuji. Admission is free.

☀ Hakone Checkpoint/Sekisho Exhibition Hall ✎ The Tokugawa Shogunate had 53 checkpoints throughout Japan in the early 17th century, to control arms entering Edo and women attempting to leave Edo. Hakone Sekisho was the biggest checkpoint and primarily responsible to prevent women from escaping the strict life of Edo. The exhibition illustrates what life was like at the checkpoints during the Edo period. There is a discount with the Freepass.

 Lake Ashi ✎ The beautiful lake was formed by the eruption of the Mt Hakone volcano in prehistoric times. On clear days you can see Mt Fuji from the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise (unlimited boarding with the Freepass).

☀Hakone Ropeway Runs from Togendai-ko (where we got off the cruise) to Owakudani Valley.

☀ Owakudani ✎  Created by volcanic explosions BC, some call it hell valley. A freaky cool sight to explore. Evil looking black eggs are boiled in the volcanic hot springs and get their black colour while reacting with the sulphur. They are believed to heavenly prolong life for 7 years! The promenade on the volcano is free.

☀Hakone Tozan Cablecar  Runs from the last stop of the ropeway (Sounzan) to Gora (from where trains leave to Hakone Yumoto).

☀Hakone souvenirs Bring back some edible or non edible goodies home.

Scroll through the post for pictures to each mentioned sight.

 

THE SIGHTS

Koyo didn’t disappoint – enjoy a beautiful autumn day with us!

Ancient Cedar Avenue

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

 

Hakone Detached Palace Garden

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

 

Hakone Checkpoint/Sekisho Exhibition Hall

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

You can easily spend as much time at the merchandise stands and mega fuzzy figures, as at the checkpoint exhibition. Who said the fuzzy fun station was just for kids?!

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

Lake Ashi/Sightseeing Cruise (we were boarding from Moto Hakone-Ko)

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

If you find a treasure chest on board, don’t expect it to be filled with gold but…

Hakone, Japan

…something else, just as valuable (sometimes).

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

Hakone Ropeway  (we boarded at Togendai-ko and got off at Owakudani – for the blackest of black eggs and smoky hills)

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

 

Owakudani – valley of active sulphur vents and black eggs

Survival of the strongest.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

About the smell.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

About the eggs.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Don’t worry ‘at the time of running out of stock‘, just ‘pardon it‘ and get the sugary alternative.

Hakone, Japan

We got the real buggars.

Hakone, Japan

Polish Easter-style egg fight.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

7 years+… hm, okay, will bite my teeth and eat.

Hakone, Japan

No.

Hakone, Japan

Yes.

Hakone, Japan

 

Walk hell valley with me.

 

We escaped the poisonous gas with a ropeway ride from Owakudani to Sounzan, from where we took the Hakone Tozan Cablecar, which took us from Sounzan to Gora (and from there the train whizzed us back to Tokyo).

Hakone, Japan

 

SOUVENIRS  from Hakone

The first thing I noticed, way before the colours of the leaves, were Hakone souvenirs. All featuring Mt Fuji. We saw the mountain big bright and clear from the train window but not any more once we arrived, which was when the weather turned cloudy and windy. Anyhow, apart from the famous black eggs, there is a lot to bring back home.

Cutest Hakone girl promoting characteristic wooden handicrafts. Notice Mt Fuji in the background.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Mt Fuji sweets.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Mt Fuji/Lake Ashi cosmetics.

Hakone, Japan

Don’t be tempted by plastic egg substitutes.

Hakone, Japan

The bestest souvenir is the Hakone Hello Kitty coin. We are in Japan after all.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

Two optional after-Hakone pleasures

Number one. The super relaxing and hot foot onsen. At Hakone Yumoto Station. Put 100 yen into a wooden box, take off your shoes, socks, tights. Dip in your tootsies and get rosy cheeks.

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

Hakone, Japan

 

Number two. Explore a new cheapo Japanese restaurant chain, like Bamiyan. If you have a strong addiction to MSG and trans fatty foods with high carbohydrates, then Chinese food is your choice. And don’t forget to wash it all down with colourful fizzy drinks.

Well, actually, to be fair, I can say that this restaurant is the best value Chinese food I have had in a long time – and I am referring to China itself here, which has not left us with the best of Asia’s culinary impressions. Chinese food in China simply cannot compete with Chinese food in Japan.

For low budget decent Chinese food, I recommend Bamiyan.

Hakone, Japan

 

Broccoli salad with dried fish and tofu chicken salads.

Hakone, Japan

 

Mushroom vegetable rice cake hot pot.

Hakone, Japan

 

Seafood vermicelli. There was more but hungry stomachs don’t take pictures.

Hakone, Japan
After party number three. Embrace your bed. I slept like a baby after our Hakone trip.

See you again, when we are hiking Mt Takao, to get more koyo and (finally) a view of Mt Fuji!

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