This was our first full day in Hakone. After getting up and getting ready for the day we headed down to the reception. At the reception we could request this bus service that they offered which took us right down to the closest bus stop as part of the hotels service which was so nice and helped save some time.

The bus came basically as soon as we reached the stop and I always love it when that happens. We took the bus over to Togendai station which is where the Hakone ropeway and cruise ride are located next to lake Ashi.

We had the choice of going on the cruise or the ropeway and we decided to opt for the ropeway first. The ropeway led up towards Owakudani before leading downwards towards the town of Gora. As we got up early we got to the ropeway as it opened so it was really quiet. We had the ropeway car all to ourselves which was awesome as when heading up as we could move freely around the car and see a full 360 degree view of the mountains. About half way up to Owakudani station we saw Mount Fuji peaking through the clouds. It was a nice but dull day so it was cloudy but the fact that we even got a glimpse of Fuji was so cool.

There were four stations along the ropeway and our first stop was Owakudani. This area is famous for its volcano and volcanic hot springs as well as it being a great location to spot Fuji. This area is also famous for black eggs which are eggs boiled in the hot springs which causes their shells to turn black. Apparently eating one adds seven years onto your life but we didn’t end up trying any so I guess I missed out on that one. Owakudani station had a little shop and there was also a couple of other shops as well as restaurants and even a museum located up near the hot springs. Everywhere in this area sold and advertised black eggs and since this is Japan they of course, had some adorable black egg themed merchandise as well as plenty of Fuji themed gifts. They also had black ice cream which was something I never thought I’d see. I also ended up buying a smiley Mount Fuji plushy and I have no regrets.

hello kitty Hakone

As I left the inside of the station I could smell the faint smell of surfer and see steam piping up from the side of the volcano. I was pleasantly surprised as the smell of surfer wasn’t overpowering. It isn’t the nicest scent in the world but I thought it would be way stronger than it was. Right next to the side of the volcano there was a small shrine and a pathway for hikers. The pathway was closed during our visit as there had been recent volcanic activity and the hiking route was closed off for the time being. Looking up at the volcano was something else. It’s crazy to think about volcanic activity going on below our feet. As it was pretty grey the weather made the hot springs seem much more dramatic which I loved. It was also pretty windy around that area and I was stood wearing shorts like a dumb tourist. I do recommend wearing slightly warmer clothes up there.

After wandering around and taking some photos around the volcano side we headed towards the other side where the car parking area is. Just facing the volcano there is a great view of Mount Fuji. The clouds had cleared up a bit since our ride on the ropeway and we could see most of the great mountain. The only part which was still hidden by clouds was the very top. This view was an incredible sight to see as I never dreamed I’d be able to say I’ve seen Mt Fuji with my own eyes. Fuji was a beast in size and made the surrounding mountains look puny in comparison to it.

After we had taken everything in up there we carried on along the ropeway down the mountain towards Gora. As we descended down towards the town I got a look at the volcano further down. There were lots of yellowish patches which was due to the sulfer. We could also see small building the likes of which you see on building sites placed in certain parts on the mountain near the yellowish patches. I also noticed that 99% of the trees and plants on the side with the hot springs were dead. At one point in the cable car the wind was howling and I was watching the slope of trees pass by thinking about how creepy but beautiful it was.

When we reached Gora our first priority was food. As we left the station I noticed a sign for a ninja cafe which was up this small hill next to the ropeway. We decided to investigate and came across this adorable little cafe which was completely decked out ninja style. I saw pizza on the menu and was instantaneously sold on eating there. The cafe was a small shack style place and the two employees (and I’m guessing also owners) were working to take, make and serve orders. They were also both appropriately dressed as ninjas and it was just so fun. The ninjas who served us were both lovely and welcoming and they’re food was delicious. They also had a ninja themed gift shop and I had to grab a commemorative badge to remember such a fun experience. That place really made me smile.

There wasn’t a great deal else in Gora it was pretty small and mainly consisted of souvenir shops for tourists. We wandered for a little while and then decided to head back up the ropeway. We timed this just right as when we reached Owakudani station again we noticed signs for possible closure due to lightening. Thankfully we made it back to the station just before it closed up. It began to rain pretty hard after that point so we went for a coffee and watched the cruises sail in and out of the station on the lake before heading back home.

Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!

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