Our day trip to Hakone to get closer to Mount Fuji

It was a cold winter’s day when we set off for Hakone. The sky was clear and we’d layered up as best we could in the hopes of staying warm during the day.

We took a bullet train first thing in the morning and arrived at our first stop just after 9am, hoping to get the passes which would cover our transportation costs for the rest of the day. The lady selling the tickets informed us there was an option which included the cable car over a nearby mountain, but as far as she knew they had closed it for the day due to toxic gases coming from Mount Fuji. Rather than risk spending money on a closed attraction, we went for the cheaper option and just got tickets for the shorter loop.

There were a couple of options on how to get to Hakone Lake, but we chose to go for the train first, followed by a bus. The initial journey seemed to take forever as the train stopped to switchback a few times on the way up the mountain. We got on a bus after the train which wasn’t any better and got stuck in traffic before we arrived too.

Eventually we reached the lake and popped into 7 Eleven for some rice triangles, before buying our tickets for the boat which would give us a beautiful view of Mount Fuji. The boat ride was fun, though we didn’t stay outside in the cold wind for very long once we’d got the photos we wanted.

It was fascinating seeing Mount Fuji over a beautiful lake on a crisp winter’s day with very few clouds around. Although it might have been really cold, we were actually really fortunate to have such good visibility.

When we arrived at the stop on the other side of the lake we decided to hunt for food, but as we were wandering around a souvenir shop we noticed a queue growing for the cable cars. It had been closed when we arrived, but it seems the gases had reduced to safer levels and people were rushing to get on in case it closed suddenly.

After weighing up the pros and cons of something we were now going to have to pay more to see, we eventually decided to just go with it and lined up to get our ticket up the mountain. I’m really glad we paid the extra because the views were amazing. The wires and reflective windows of the cable car meant the perfect photo was almost impossible, so instead we just took the time to enjoy it for ourselves.

The ride took us up to a sulphurous area with a few shops and a restaurant or two. We looped around and concluded that nothing much interested us, so we carried on down the other side of the mountain instead. After that we took a train to what we thought was a station we could get a connection at, but were shouted at by a man who told us to pay the extra fare. We’d already paid extra for the cable car and I didn’t want to spend any more, so instead we decided to walk the 25 minutes to the stop we could get on at.

Having only eaten some rice triangles all day it was definitely time we ate something, so we kept an eye out for something interesting on the walk. Halfway to the next station we found a restaurant specialising in dumplings and I knew this was the place. We stopped and ate the fanciest plate of dumplings I’ve ever had, which I wish I could go back and experience again right now.

Once our bellies were full we set off again for the train station, but when we arrived we realised we weren’t that fussed on going back to the lake again for a shrine. We’d seen the floating gate at Miyajima and another 40 minutes journey wasn’t exciting us at that point. Rather than continue we decided to head back before it got dark, leaving something behind for the next time we visit Japan.

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