Monday, April 02, 2012

Tokyo Trip: Day 3 - Hakone

Hakone is a mountainous area west of Tokyo. We didn't have time to explore the whole of Hakone though. We only managed to visit the Open Air Museum and then head back to Hakone-Yumoto station for a hot spring bath nearby.

That morning, I woke up with a lower backache because I walked too much the day before but that did not stop me from having fun. We were supposed to head to Shinjuku Station to take the Odakyu Railway which operates between Shinjuku Station and Hakone-Yumoto Station. We could have taken the subway at the station next to our hotel to Shinjuku Station but we decided to walk instead which is a 20-minute walk.

On our way to Shinjuku Station, we stopped by at a restaurant at an alley for our breakfast. Again, we had to order from the vending machine. At least there're pictures on the buttons for this one. We ordered Tamago Kake Gohan (egg over rice) with pork. It was really good. It came with Miso Soup and it was not expensive at all.

Our breakfast - Only JPY550 each

To get to Hakone, take the Odakyu Railways in Shinjuku Station. There's a one way journey (no stops in between all the way to Hakone-Yumoto Station) by the "Romance Car" which takes about 85 minutes and costs JPY2020. We took the normal train instead which took us about 2 hours and required one transfer at Odawara Station and it cost us JPY1150. Thanks to Jess for bringing her iPad along. We watched HK drama during the whole whole journey.

To get to the Hakone Open Air Museum, we had to get down at Chokokunomori Station. Our traveling time from Shinjuku Station to Chokokunomori Station below:

Shinjuku to Odawara via Odakyu Railways - About 1.5 hours
Odawara to Chokokunomori via Hakone Tozan Railways - About 1 hour

Hakone Open Air Museum features various sculptures on its spacious grounds in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Admission fee is JPY1600 or JPY1400 if you have Hakone Free Pass. It is worth a visit if you are into artsy stuff and it's also a nice place to take loads of pictures.

Hakone Open Air Museum

We climbed all the way to the top to see the view of Hakone Open Air Museum from above. I remember I had difficulty breathing when I reached the top. It's either the weather is too cold or I climbed too fast.

After an hour or so, we went back to Hakone-Yumoto station and we took the bus (only JPY100) to Yunosato Okada Onsen (Yunosato Hot Springs). It's important to get hold of a Hakone map and ask around to get to your destination. The bus stop is just right opposite Hakone-Yumoto station. There will be someone standing at the bus stop guiding you which bus line you should queue for as long as you tell him where you want to head to. It's also important to tell the driver where you want to go when you get on to the bus. Jess and I almost went to the wrong direction after we alight from the bus. If not for the bus driver, we would have walked very far to get to our destination.

View of Hakone-Yumoto station from the bus

Yunosato Hot Springs was great. It was my first hot spring experience. There's an indoor bath and outdoor as well. We started indoor of course because of the cold temperature out there. We then proceeded outdoor and surprisingly, I didn't feel cold at all. The water was really hot! I just want to say that hot springs like this are not suitable for people who dare not bare it all. All the women in there are totally naked and yes, we all walked around naked.

Yunosato admission fee is JPY1400. Robe rental is JPY500. We shouldn't have rent the robe at all because we didn't get to wear it much anyway.

That's me in the rented robe at Yunosato Onsen

Chilling at the resting area after our bath at Yunosato Onsen

If you're in Hakone, you might be able to see Mt.Fuji on a clear day. Too bad for us because it was cold and misty when we were there.

It was around 6pm when we left Hakone back to Shinjuku and then it was time for dinner. We randomly went to this restaurant outside Shinjuku station for our dinner.

Our dinner

After dinner, we walked around Shinjuku heading toward our hotel and we saw a road side stall. We had Oden (2 pieces) and a bowl of ramen. This cost us JPY900.

Road side stall having Oden and Ramen

My complete posts on my Tokyo Trip:
Tokyo Trip: Day 1 - Arrival
Tokyo Trip: Day 2 - Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku
Tokyo Trip: Day 3 - Hakone
Tokyo Trip: Day 4 - Tsukiji Market, Odaiba, Ginza and Roponggi Hill
Tokyo Trip: Day 5 - Asakusa and Ueno
Tokyo Trip: Day 6 - Ginza, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Departure

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