“Music saves the soul.” Play softly while you read.
After falling in love with Hokkaido when I flew to Japan for the first time last summer, I’ve told myself to come back to the land of the rising sun. I promised myself to explore more of its cities and immerse myself to its rich culture. I decided to book my trip in fall because seeing the autumn colours has always been one item in this tropical girl’s bucket list waiting to be stricken through. And there was I again, waiting for my Changi to Haneda 12-midnight flight one Friday night.
The first day of my autumn trip in Japan wasn’t in Hakone. I met some colleagues firstly in Tokyo and wandered a couple of parks with them. I don’t personally know them, we just knew each other’s names because we used to exchange a lot of emails when I was still working on Pachinko devices. And though we were not formally acquainted, Fumiko and Satomi were too nice to meet me (Satomi actually welcomed me at the airport) and showed me places where I can excite myself with koyo leaves. I’ll cover these parks on my Tokyo write up hopefully soon. . 🙂
Day 1 of my solo adventure was in Hakone. I took the JR train from Shinagawa to Odawara station and I can’t help but continuously murmur wow every time I see mountains with trees turned to orange or red. The feeling of experiencing the autumn atmosphere for the first time was inexplicable. There was a national holiday the next day thus the traffic jam was heavy from Odawara to Mount View Hotel making my supposedly less than an hour bus ride became 2-hour train ride with many transfers. I arrived the Hotel around 2 PM and considering the sun sets early in Japan during the colder seasons, I only have a meagre amount of time to tick all of the attractions in my list.
I have decided to see the Hakone Tozan Ropeway and take a cruise at the Lake Ashi. The very reason for selecting these attractions is to take a closer look (and perhaps a good photo) of the Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, it was cloudy during my visit (it was cloudy for 3 days in a row) hence Mr. Fuji-san was nowhere to find. The clouds were too thick and the cold wind was strong, giving a gloomy ambience. I shivered, I wasn’t prepared for it.
Hakone Tozan Ropeway
From Mount View Hotel, I took the bus towards Togendai for the Lake Ashi cruise. However, the ticketing officer told me I have to wait for the ferry to come back after 30 minutes and that after my cruise the ropeway may already be closed. So I took the cable car ride firstly until the first station – Ubako, and bought time while waiting for the ferry. I was not able to see Mount Fuji, but the view of the Lake Ashi meters above the ground and the mountain rolls turning different shades of orange is really nice. It didn’t somehow blew me away but I guess it is because of the absence of the famous conical mountain.
The ropeway has different operating hours depending on season. Better check their website for schedule and ticket costs when you plan to visit. www.hakoneropeway.co.jp.
Lake Ashi Cruise
I know I wouldn’t see the famous Fuji anymore, but I still wanted to pursue the cruise to experience it. Many tourists boarded the ferry. I hurriedly went to the economy balcony at the top floor for better view while aboard. However, in the middle of the cruise, the cold wind started giving me terrible shivers that I needed to come down and go inside the cabin. My maroon leather jacket wasn’t supposed to fight such cold weather, I have underestimated the temperature. I still had a good window view inside the cabin though, luckily.
It was getting dark when the cruise ended, I wanted to go somewhere else but I’m afraid that I will miss the bus, so I boarded towards back the hotel and prepared myself for my most awaited kaiseki dinner and onsen bath which I will be writing on a separate story soon.