Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mt Fuji Sightseeing around Hakone

Mt Fuji from the top of Mt Kintoki (Hakone, Japan)
What better way to wake up than hike up a mountain to have an amazing view of Mt Fuji from the top?  Hmm... I can't think of any!

Fuji-Hakone Guest House... definitely recommend it
to anyone traveling in the area!  Very friendly
English speaking staff.
Amanda and I spent the night in Hakone at a little guest house.  We decided to do the traditional Japanese tatami room sleeping on futon mats on the floor.  Surprisingly it was very comfortable and quaint.  We had our own private outdoor and outdoor onsen.  It was perfect after a long work week!  Hakone brews their own "organic" beer, and of course Amanda and I found it!  We were just walking down the street when I noticed a beer bottle with Fuji printed on it sitting in a cooler.  And literally the cooler was on the side of the road just like every other vending machine!  And also, just like every other town in Japan, it had some sort of shrine and temple.

Traditional Japanese tatami room
Our own private little onsen (hot spring)

Mt Kintoki, Hakone
Summit time for our morning hike... no big deal!
The next morning we hiked up Mt Kintoki (1213m high).  It was a little harder than we were expecting with all the mud from the ice melting.  When we got to the top, we were greeted with a spectacular view of Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi.  There was just so much to take in up there, I wish we could have spent all day up there!  But there was still a lot to be seen in Hakone, so we had to make our way back down.  Too bad all the older Japanese guys were flying by us on the way down because apparently we weren't prepared for the steep, muddy trail.  Oh well, at least we didn't bite it!  Thank God!

A Japanese lady had us sign the book of everyone who
made it to the top of Mt Kintoki.  Kinda cool looking
at all the different languages in there!
Lake Ashi from Mt Kintoki
After the hike, we explored the rest of Hakone.  Think of a train, bus, cable car, gondola, and pirate ship... yes, we had it all!  We went from downtown Hakone to Gora to Owakudani, Lake Ashi and ended in Hakone-machi.  The gondola took us up to Owakudai, a volcanic area with sulfuric steam and warm rivers.  Our onsen the night before was filled from this volcano.  Next we boarded a pirate ship (don't ask me the meaning of the pirate ship in Japan, because I'm still trying to figure that out) and sailed across Lake Ashi passing by a very famous view of Mt Fuji and the Hakone-machi tori gate.

View of Mt Fuji from Owakudai with the sulfuric steam
coming from the ground.
Lake Ashi
I love this picture from Owakudani
One of the most famous views of Fuji and its lakes.
hanging out on the pirate ship on Lake Ashi 
Hakone shrine
Hakone shrine
trying out the Japanese pajamas they gave us at the hotel

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