Monday, January 5, 2015

Hakone: Ropeway and Owakudani

The day after Christmas, we took a short trip out to Hakone, a small town about an hour and a half away, going towards Mt. Fuji.  Hakone is known for its natural hot springs and onsens, or public baths, that are fed by the natural springs.  But, Hakone also has a lot more to offer than just its onsens!  It is a really fun town with lots of museums, shopping, and other unique activities.

We knew it would be really, really cold and since all of our activities for the first day were going to be outside, we bundled up!  Both kids had jeans on with snow pants over them, and then a couple layers underneath their winter coats, along with hats, scarves, and gloves as well!  We were all really happy we planned to dress so warmly though because it was COLD up in the mountains!

The first thing we did was head down to the train station for the Hakone Ropeway.  We boarded a regular train that took us pretty far up the mountainside, and then we transferred to the Ropeway station that would take us up and over Owakudani, or the crater that was formed after the last eruption on Mt. Hakone.  The cable car ride was really fun, and it was an especially clear day so we had an unbelievable view going up the mountain.  

But, of all the views from the top, the most spectacular was seeing Mt. Fuji so close!  It is incredible.

Once we arrived at the top of Owakudani, we hiked further up the mountain to the volcanic area where there were a bunch of bubbling sulfur pools.  This spot is known for boiling eggs in the sulfur pots, and if eaten, they're said to add 7 years to your life.  So, of course, we had to get some!

Here the eggs are, as they're placed into the steaming pools . . . 

And, here they are when they come up!  Completely black!

But, the inside stays white!  And, I don't know if it was the local eggs or the volcanic pools, but they were delicious!

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