japan & korea 2017, travel

Japan and Korea 2017 (Day 6) Part 2: Bento Lunch, the Hakone Tozan Line, and a Long Walk Home Through Tokyo

The second half of Day 6 was a little more exciting! As you can tell from the title, we had an amazingly delicious lunch, then made our way from Odawara to Hakone where we had been planning to go and view Mount Fuji. That didn’t work out (and you can read all about it in the post below). But it was still fun to take an older train through some of the hills and mountains of Japan! It was truly beautiful, and kind of a dream of mine. I have this thing about older train stations too, and we were able to see quite a few!

As those of you who have been keeping up with this travel series that I’m doing will know, the first half of Day 6 ended with the neat experience of us spending an hour or two at a Japanese, volcanic beach. The sand was a dark grey, and it was really cool! Since we did a lot of wandering, and hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast that day, we decided to find a restaurant on the way back to the train station. I’m still so happy hat we were provided a wifi egg by our Airbnb host, because I was able to navigate the area easily, and was also able to find a restaurant with some very delicious food (called Daruma)!

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am crazy over sushi (and almost any Japanese food really). So, when we were seated and then had a look at the menus, my parents (who also love Japanese food) and me were quite happy with our options! The restaurant was a tiny bit pricier than the other places we’d been eating, but it was very much worth it, since the food came quickly, it was delicious, and we were quite satisfied by the end. This restaurant also used very fresh and local ingredients! I mean, Odawara is located right by the ocean, so the fish that we ate, might have been fished or brought in just that morning! We never have the chance to eat oceanic fish that is that fresh back home, since we live pretty far from any seas or oceans!

Afterward, we slowly made our way back to Odawara Station, from which we took the Hakonetozan line to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Once there, we oriented ourselves a little, took note of where some of the hot springs were located (since part of our plan for the day was to go hang out in a hot spring bath), and then took the Hakone Tozan train with the aim to reach one of the viewing spots for Mount Fuji. There are a few spots from which the famous mountain can be seen, and some are better than others, depending on the weather.

Taking the Hakone Tozan train was one of the most wonderful experiences in my life! The line is very old, and the train itself is also much older than the trains we’d taken in and around Tokyo. So the trip was long, and slow, but the sights were magnificent, and it would have been a shame to just wiz by them, I think! We made it up to Gora Station, and then went up just one or two stations more before we realized that Mount Fuji would not be visible at all. The train trips and everything, including the ropeway that we would have to take from Shouzan Station (I believe), were adding up to cost quite a bit, and my mom wasn’t feeling too great. So, we decided to head back down.

We had planned to make it to Owakudani station, and maybe even further, but since that didn’t happen, we were happy to be able to buy black Owakudani eggs at either Gora Station, or Hakone-Yumoto Station. I was really excited about getting those eggs directly from the egg boiling site, a short walk from the Owakudani station, but was still happy to be able to try them out this way as well. Owakudani is an active volcanic valley, and they are regular chicken eggs, but they turn black after the boiling, because they are cooked in natural spring water which contains sulfur and iron. The shell turns black, an the egg white turns brown-ish, and takes on an almost smoky taste. My friend had sent me pictures of some of these eggs some months before my trip, and I’d wanted to try them ever since! So, we didn’t see Mount Fuji, but at least got to eat some black eggs haha.

The rest of the evening was spent on trains, as we re-traced our steps back to Tokyo. And although we were quite tired once we made it back into the city, we still wanted to maybe check out a hot spring in Tokyo, since we had decided against going to one in Hakone after all. Sadly, the one that I had gone to in 2014 was okay to access via public transport when I went that time, but Google Maps seemed unable to plot out a route for us. I also got a tattoo on the inside of my wrist since my last trip to Japan, and hot springs are very against allowing tattooed people onto the premises. So, we opted for walking home in stead of taking another train back to Azabujuban Station (don’t ask me why)!

I’m very glad that we decided to do this though, since we accidentally found ourselves walking through Tokyo’s Chinatown, which was neat, and then also stumbling upon a temple we had no idea about, between Chinatown and Tokyo Tower (which I now know to be the Tokyo Zojo-ji Temple). Since it was getting dark, it was also interesting for us to see what temples look like closer to night time, and it also had a portion of the property devoted to Jizo-statues (something I had somehow not seen yet while in Japan). For those of you who don’t know, these statues all start out shaped, and looking the same, but are then claimed by mothers who have lost a child, or children, one way or another. These statues have a long and complex history (which you can read more about here and here), and are mainly meant to cope with the loss of a child. Seeing them was kind of a dream of mine, but was also a heartbreaking experience.

We then continued on our way toward Tokyo Tower (using it as a beacon of sorts, since we knew that it’s located close to our Airbnb apartment. And on the way back, we were able to watch as Tokyo Tower’s lights were turned on for the night, which was also such a great experience for us! To some if you this may seem silly, but I think that in my family, Tokyo Tower is very important, and kind of a representation of a country and city that we love. So, for us, seeing the lights turn on, was very special, and I think that all of us teared up a little. We continued past the tower, and were from there able to see the sky change, which that night was  turning into a magnificent purple before darkening! It was all simply magical, and we were able to go to sleep tired, but content, in preparation for our adventures to come.

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That’s it for now, but stay tuned for my next posts, which will be all about the 2 days that we spent in Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka!

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS POST ABOUT MY JAPAN AND KOREA 2017 ADVENTURES! ALSO, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND/OR SOME OF YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES IN JAPAN, ASIA, OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD YOU MAY HAVE TRAVELLED TO, IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

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