February 7, 2006

warning: as usual, a long post with 20+ photos behind cut, will take some time to load ^^

I woke up to an alarm clock at 5:30am, forcing myself out of bed to take a shower. We planned to leave for Hakone really early so we could have a lot of time to spend there before sunset. Very good planning indeed! ^^

It was a very cold that day, the weather was pretty gloomy in Tokyo. We went to Shinjuku station in order to get a Hakone Weekdaypass. Since it was a winter time, we got some discount and pay only 4,100 Yen per person. Good deal, of course! Though a nice local Hakone Tozan Train was not operated due to schedule maintenance. It took about 90 minutes to go from Tokyo to Hakone, which we spent that time going through the pamphlet, studying the recommended course for one-day tour. It was said to be ‘the best way to see spacious Hakone’. We roughly calculated all travel/transit time to make sure that we wouldn’t miss the last train from Hakone-Yumoto station back to Tokyo. ^^

Traveling in Hakone was like traveling in circle, you can choose to go clockwise or counter-clockwise. According to the pamphlet, we’ll be going clockwise. ^^ Once we arrived at the train station, we had to catch a Hakone Tozan Bus to Motohakone-ko. Imagine a person with a very bad motion sickness (aka carsick) on a bus that’s driving through hundreds of curves and turns, yup, now you’re having a mental image of a me on that bus! >__<” I had to force myself to sleep during that 40 minutes bus ride so my carsick wouldn’t get worse. ^^”

When we arrived at Motohakone-ko, it was cold, wet, and foggy. ^^’

But of course, weather couldn’t stop us 3 girls! XD We walked about 10 minutes to enter the Ancient Cedar Avenue. The name was nicely given to a path with old cedar trees, eh? ^_~

We walked along that path around 15 minutes to come out of the cedar road, the sun was finally coming out for the first time of the day yay~~ ^___^ We crossed the street to a garden/park which we had a great time taking some (silly) photos.

We walked up some stairs to the observatory spot, this was supposed to be a place where you could see Mt. Fuji on the top left corner of the photo, blame the weather, Fuji-san was gone with the mist. But from my picture, you can still see a ferry! It was the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise that we were going to ride according to our plan. And from that ferry, we would have another shot at seeing Fuji-san. I was still positive that the fog would clear up! ^__^

We walked passed Hakone Checkpoint/Exhibition. It was still under construction (or maybe maintenance) so we didn’t stop there. During their peak season, there will show what it was like at the checkpoints during the Edo era using realistic mannequins. Too bad, winter is not their peak time ^^”

The fog was getting thicker and thicker as we walked to Hakonemachi to get to the ferry dock.

We made apparently THE WORST decision of this trip by stopping at a small restaurant for lunch -____-”

The reasons were 1) The Udon there was expensive, and didn’t taste good at all and 2) the foggy situation was getting more and more severe. T__T By the time we got out of the restaurant, everything was blurry by the evil fog >”< I couldn’t see any farther than 10-15 feet max. That’s a big Oops for my 20/20 vision.

We finally arrived at the ferry station to realized that the ferry schedule was canceled for the day due to bad weather, oh no, NO WAY T__T No ferry meant our plan was half screwed, and one less chance to see Fuji-san. *grumbles* We had to come up with a quick Plan B, catching another bus back, this time traveled counter-clockwise to get to Gora to catch the Hakone Tozan Cablecar in order to go to Sounzan and ride the Hakone Ropeway for our last chance to see Fuji-san.

First of all, getting back on the bus partially killed our tourist spirits -___-” Another car sick for all of us (I just realized that my friends weren’t doing too good on the bus either). We had to get out of one bus, waited at the bus stop for another one for more than 10 minutes. It was cold and windy and we’re shaking even with the hand warmers. Oh well, we got to Gora eventually, caught the cablecar to Sounzan as planned to get there and find out that the Hakone Ropeway service was canceled for the day too. They had a bus service provided instead (which we had to pay extra! They canceled our free and better service, and we still had to pay for the bus fee! bleh!). A quick calculation told us that we wouldn’t make it back in time for the last train back to Tokyo. So, no Sounzan, no Fuji-san, we rode a cable car back to Gora, and were completely doomed. T___T

One of my friend was totally upset, she just wanted to go back to the hotel and die ^^” We took another bus back to the train station, that’s when a new idea popped into our head ^__~

There was an onsen place called Hakone Begonia Garden Himeshara Hot Springs only 5 minutes away from the station with a free shuttle bus service! Though we wasted so much time on those bus ridings, we still had plenty of time before the last train back to Tokyo would leave. Plan C it was. ^^

It was my first experience in an onsen and it was quite fun! First we were in an indoor pool, and in less than 5 minutes I started having a hard time breathing ^^” So I was getting in and out of the pool for a while trying to get some fresh air in that steamy room when I noticed that there was an outdoor pool too! XDD I dragged my friends out and we really had a great time out there! Especially when the wind was blowing ^^

We were in that onsen for about 20-30 minutes when we decided it was time to go as we didn’t want to miss our train and made the day even worse. I took a bath/shower, dressed up and sneaked back in there to take some photos (so very original me, eh?) XD

Too bad, I couldn’t take a picture of the outdoor pool as so many ladies were outside, they would beat me to death or take away my camera which I couldn’t risk it. ^^” Only an ultimate seme gets to touch my camera (dang, no film but still… hehe), not a bunch of old ladies! So, I took a picture from the poster to show you guys instead. ;)

who is this pervert girl? I don’t know her!

So this day was practically saved by the onsen. We finally got some smiles back on our faces. ^__^ A shuttle bus took us back to the station, where I found this lady. What was she trying to point out actually?

guh! Seeing these floor decorations….

…made me want to cry! *wails* I wanted to be on that ropeway!!! T___T

…and the ferry too!!! TT___TT

Have I mentioned anything about our new addiction to vending machine? There were so many kinds of colorful bottle of drink that you can get from these machine, and we kept changing our choices to try a different drinks each time, some were very good while some were not quite tasty ^^’ This habit continued throughout our trip. ^^’

The train was quite empty so we tried to fun of ourselves by pretending to be a group of exhausted tourists lying asleep on the train, well, we looked more like a group of homeless though ^__^” 1.5 hours later, we’re back to a windy night at Shinjuku. We walked around for a while and found a small Japanese restaurant for our dinner. I really like their menu, every dish was provided with calorie information ^^” I ended up picking two high calorie dishes, well, I needed a lot of energy to get rid of my earlier depression, right right? XD

okay, 2 full days in Japan, number(s) of cute boy found: NONE! T___T (could it be any worse?). We ignored our standard and dropped the curve, so this guy was good enough to be in my memory card! It was a sneaky and tricky shot, I had to use one of my friend as a foreground (cropped out here) so he wouldn’t know he was my target ^^” *felt more and more like a pervert*

end notes:

People say that it’s like you’ve not really visited Japan if you haven’t seen Fuji-san T__T damnit! everything I posted and am going to post about my so-called trip is just my dream about this country! >__<”

My apologies for pouting, whining, grumbling and being so sarcastic in this post. It was a real disappointing day for us. ^^”


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