Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 2: Tokyo > Hakone

Dressing up to go to Hakone.
Heard it's colder there than in the city so need to be well prepared.

Vending machine nearby hotel.
In a land filled with Kawaii boys and girls, it makes you wonder why they are using Obasan and Ojisan for advertisement.

Some cute parking system opposite the vending machine.

There's a post office nearby to our hotel.

Of course I had to send a postcard to my family as I usually did during my travel.

Had wanted to say the postcard was dropped into this postbox but actually I passed it to the staff inside.
Hubs looked so weird dressed up like this in the city. *LOL*

Nothing special about this signage except that it has my name there.
I'm even自恋about my name! Haha

Underground shop at Ikebukuro station

The cheesy autumn deco

Advert on the train

Me with the "little" luggage that we would be lugging for consecutive 3 days.
The huge silver one stayed deposited at Sakura Hotel.

Reached Shinjuku station which is only 4 stops away from Ikekukuro.
This nice Ojisan offered to take a pic for us after seeing us try to 自拍 but a bit blur la.
Was quite cute of him to shoo away those passers-by blocking the way.

Bought our 3 day Hakone Free Pass. 5500yen/pax

Kaypoh-ed abit before entering the train station and saw this cute big kiosk selling preserved flowers meant for decoration.
The Japanese really how to enjoy themselves.
Imagine some ambitious person sold this in sg, I think it would not have survived long.
There's a no photography signage but I took my chances... hehe

We board this train towards Hakone-Yumoto station.

Finally reached after *I think* nearly 2 hours? and transferred to another train.
Train was driven by this 慈祥的老伯伯 (Lao Bei Bei) and it was very nice of him to pass us map of Hakone once we boarded.
Hubs said he must be a Hakone-an and proud of his village.
I requested to have pic taken with him.

He offered to take pic for us without us asking.

He also felt that he HAD to have a couple pic with my husband.
Cute Bei Bei!
Same backdrop, 3 different photographer, I think I took the best shot... hehe

After transferring to Tozan train, we finally reached Miyanoshiya station.
Surrounding of this station is quite ulu. No eatery opened at all.
Luckily there's Lawson and we settled for cup noodles for lunch.
The one on the left tasted damn good.
Tastes like those thick pork broth laden with collagen kind.

I got this cute prepacked bread just in case we went hungry before dinner time.

Ok I couldn't wait for dinner time to open it up.
1 pack contained 2 pcs of bread and the filling was something like croquette with creamy filling.
Very yummy.

Not very sure how to get to Hotel Yamatoya so we seeked help from the police post.
(NOTE: Yama means mountain in Japanese)
Gosh Hakone ppl are so warm.
This 警察叔叔 actually walked us across the road to the small room where the hotel staff was awaiting our arrival.
The hotel staff immediately asked if I was Loke.

We were led to a path to take the hotel's private gondola and it was cold up here.

The gondola

Took about 2 min to reach.
First impression of the ryokan.

Entrance to our room

Wooden gate leading to foyer.
The toilet is located on the left side of the wooden gate, seperate from the guestroom.
Only toilet is attached. Shower will have to be done inside the onsen area.

Another door at foyer area

Tea and a local snack was prepared and served by Auntie Aisha when the other lady in charged showed us around the ryokan.

Hubs could not wait but to down them all.
The snack was some mochi-like thing and it had us wanting more.

River view from our room balcony

The little sitting area which we never planned on using since it's really cold there.
Btw, the sliding doors are made of thick paper and wooden strips.
Very 古装戏.

Path up to the outdoor onsen.
Each couple entitled to a 30min soak at the ourdoor bath each stay.

The door leading to the onsen

Another path up

Me enjoying the hot bath. Water is quite clear here.

Done with the bath.
Water temperature was HOT and we no longer felt the cold.
Hubs waiting for me below.

One of the 伯伯 saw us coming back and handed us the umbrella 道具.
Pic taken from inside the ryokan direction.

Still had about 1.5hrs before dinner was served so I suggested we go out to take a walk.
Hubs had to pose for this sign. I always make him do that. Haha

I go onboard first this time.
Not even 5pm but the sky already dark.

I am terrified of all bugs and insects but this spider looks so beautiful.
Reminded me of Charlotte.
It would have been better if I had brought a SLR but I'm not that talented in the photography department and would have wasted a good camera.

We took the Tozan train about 1 or 2 stations down and realised that it was getting rather late and we had to be back before 6pm as the staff would do the dinner arrangement in our room 30min before meal time.
Ended up we went opposite to took the train back to Miyanoshiya and the gondola back to hotel.
Kind of wasted Day 1 of the Free Pass since we were entitled to unlimited rides on the
01) Hakone Tozan Line
02)Hakone Tozan Bus
03)Hakone Tozan Cablecar
04) Hakone Ropeway
05) Hakone Sightseeing Cruise
06) Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus
07)Numazu Tozan Tokai Bus
Fare is inclusive of 1 round trip between departure station (that's Shinjuku for us ) and Odawara station on the Odakyu Line.

Too bad that we underestimated the travelling time to Hakone.
We could have seen more of this beautiful place if we had set off earlier.
Anyway the next 2 days was an absolute eye opener for us :)

By the time we were back to our room, these were already on the table:

We requested for all cooked food since I can't take raw and Hubs not really into raw food.

Close up of the food served:

However... there are still some pcs of raw meat which we happily dumped inside the hotpot to cook them.

The famous 月光米 which is only supplied to the domestic market.
Isetan imports this type of rice seasonal but at a ridiculous price which I think only the Japanese living in sg can afford to eat on a regular basis.
I see my name again on the chopstick cover and I told Auntie Aisha that's my name and that's when she told us hers :)

We can't resist but to have 2nd helpings.

Ume-shu served in a cute porcelain ware

Auntie Aisha took this pic for us

Fruits of the season.
Sweet and delicious beyond words.
The grapes tasted exactly like gummy candies.
Now I know why the grape gummies tasted that way.

The futon was set shortly after dinner.

We went for the indoor public onsen which was separated by gender but it was dark and misty inside that I didn't dare to soak.
Just had a quick shower and went back.
Hubs had a good soak though.
We both preferred the outdoor private onsen.

Hot tea served before bedtime.

P/S: Pls don't complain about my post being boring and pic heavy.
Took me at least 5hrs to upload and do it ok :P

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