06.01.2014 - 06.01.2014 4 °C
Been a bit slack with my updates the past few days, so given I have woken at 5am and can't get back to sleep, I figured I should make use of the time.
After Kyoto, we left early for hakone, a small mountainous area about 45 mins via Shinkansen out of Tokyo. Hakone is best known for its natural hot springs (lending themselves nicely to many an onsen in the area) and the spectacular views of Mount Fuji.
The day we were there was cold but clear and sunny, so perfect for sightseeing. We made our way via bus on the narrow roads from Odawara to the hotel we were staying at, a family run inn, to drop our bags, and set off. The sightseeing loop recommended by our hosts had us taking bus, cable car, ropeway, a lake cruise, and finally another bus back to the hotel. With some snow still around, the scenery was beautiful, and I am really pleased we made the stop off for the night here.
Heading back to the hotel after sunset in the freezing temperates, I was increasingly looking forward to getting to try out the hotels onsen that I had booked upon arrival. Whilst most onsens are public facilities, this one offered the option of a private indoor onsen, which I was much more comfortable with. It was pure bliss to be able to soak in the beautifully warm water of the natural hot spring after almost two weeks of walking, cycling, countless steps in and out of subways and carrying a backpack. In fact it was so good, I reserved it again for the next morning before we departed.
With some time up our sleeves before our train departed for Tokyo, we made use of it by wandering around Odawara and the castle there, before jumping back onto the Shinkansen to Tokyo. So whilst it was only a brief stop on the journey, Hakone was definitely one of the many highlights of the trip.