|our private 'lounge' area at the ryokan|
|I loved this lamp - very Scandinese :D|
|sculptures from Hakone Open Air Museum|
Time for another Japan post - before I forget it :-)
After some very busy days in Tokyo and our stay at the Park Hyatt, we took the train to a completely other world: Hakone national park. A couple of hours south of Tokyo, this is a very popular weekend spot among the busy Tokyo residents who need to unwind and relax and get away from their hectic everyday life. Here, at the foot of Mt. Fuji, you find the traditional Japanese inns, called ryokan, where many of them offer onsen or hot baths with water led down from the hot springs in the surrounding mountains.
We stayed there over the weekend, which was just enough time to experience the area and relax in the baths. Both breakfast and dinner was included in our stay at the ryokan, and it turned out to be quite the event every time we sat down to eat. Food came in all the time on small plates and trays and we had no idea, what most of it was, as there was no menu in English. We where the only non-Japanese tourists at the ryokan, so we really tried to copy what all the Japanese did in order not to do anything wrong. It was quite the experience, and I think I tried both raw jellyfish, sea urchin and squid for the first time :D
Saturday, we started the day by taking a funicular up the mountain to an area with a lot of hot springs and volcanic gases. It turned out that there were a lot of Japanese tourists up there, whose main concern was to get their hands on 'the black eggs' (eggs boiled in the hot springs that magically turned the eggshells black). I must admit, I found this egg-thingy a bit silly - it's just eggs for crying out loud! Think of all the eggs they have to carry up on that mountain every single day just to satisfy the egg-hungering tourists! Hah! :D
Well, well. We took the funicular down the other side of the mountain to the beautiful lake Ashi, where we sailed with the dragon boats, you can see in the pictures. On sunny days, you should allegedly have a stunning view to Mt. Fuji from this point, but this day it was very cloudy. Luckily, we did get to see the magical mountain on the train ride from Tokyo to Hakone, and I really understand the Japanese admiration of this mountain.
In the afternoon, we visited the Hakone Open Air Museum, which is sort of the Japanese counterpart to the Danish Louisiana. It was a really cool place and the perfect place for family outings as many of the sculptures were interactive, i.e. part sculpture and part playground - making all the kiddos a part of the artistic expression. Way cool!
Sunday, we took the bullet train, shinkansen, to Kyoto, but I will tell about that in another post ;-)
Have a great day x