Lake Ashi, Pirate Ships, Black Eggs, and More
Spectacular Lake Ashi
I LOVE coming to Lake Ashi. So much so that I wrote this article Cruising along Lake Ashi, worth checking out!
If you are like me, and wish to enjoy the views and scenery of Japan’s tallest mountain without having to climb it then no destination is more perfect than Lake Ashi, and the small, sleepy town it’s nestled in. Although Mt. Fuji is situated only 80 miles from the center of Tokyo, it is still almost impossible to get a view from the city, not unless the day is perfectly clear.
I arrived to the tourist town from Tokyo, after the official climbing season had ended but that wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying other sights that Hakone has to offer. The picturesque town of Hakone is just a little over an hour outside of Tokyo, and offers every activity that you cannot have imagined from a small town.
The average visitor can spend a day shopping in the many quaint stores scattered throughout, explore museums, and relax after a busy day at one of the many hot spring resorts the town is famous for. I did all three, and enjoyed myself immensely. Especially, relaxing in the hot springs and sampling the local delicacies.
From Tokyo, with Love
I am sure most of you agree that getting to and around a place is half the fun of the whole trip. Finding your own way, in a place where very few people even understand the universal language is a great experience, and one that makes the trip twice as memorable.
I was pressed for time, and therefore could only spare a day to visit the sights of Hakone. Usually, locals who reside in Tokyo often visit Hakone during the weekend, and spend a night there as the distance between is not more than a few hours from the bullet trains.
So, it was on a clear and fine day that I arrived at Shinjuku Station with the intention of boarding a direct train to Hakone, with minimum stopovers.
Hakone, by Romance Express
The most convenient of networks consisting of trains, buses, cable cars, trams, and boats that run to and around the town of Hakone come under the jurisdiction of Odayku Railways. To the first time traveler to Japan, I would highly recommend the Hakone Free Pass that can be easily purchased from the tourism center of Shinjuku station.
I was able to purchase my Free Pass at the last minute, but those who are visiting the town during the peak climbing season should purchase it at least a week before. My pass included a round trip on the Romance express train from Shinjuku Station, to Hakone Yumoto Station from which I boarded a bus and arrived at the town.
Although economical and hassle free, the visit seemed incomplete without a stopover at the town of Odawara. Next time, definitely.