My Trip to Japan: Day 5 Hakone

So that Tuesday was apparently some holiday in Japan (Shun never did tell me what holiday though).  The point is that he didn’t have any school or such responsibilities (not that that really kept him from skipping those responsibilities to spend time with me XD).  So he decided to take me to Hakone, which is a kind of small mountain town in the area of Mt. Fuji which is famous for its hot springs.  We woke up a little late and ate some breakfast, and that might have been the day I tried Kimchi (sp?)  It was okay, but I probably will never go out of my way to eat it again.

We went to Hakone from Shinjuku station on a train called Romance Car.  It a sort of fast (not like the Shinkansen though) express train that has nothing really to do with Romance, but that’s the name.  They had a snack cart come by, and Shun made me practice my Japanese and order him some ice tea.  The train ride was pretty neat, I got to see a lot of interesting scenery and some rural areas as well.  When we got closer to Hakone I took a video (I wanted to take a picture of the mountains behind the town scenery, but I could not because every time I pulled out my camera, the train would descend so I couldn’t.)

When we got to the station, we had to buy another ticket to a train that went up the mountain to the actual town.  The first train was really crowded so we decided to wait for the next one so that we could sit down.  I sat on the aisle seat, but the train was so crowded the lady standing next to me was leaning on me, and it bothered me a great deal.  So all of the other train rides Shun made sure that I had a window seat when he could.  Irritating lady aside, the scenery was gorgeous.  The leaves had started to change colors and all of the mountains surrounding us just made it beautiful.  Once we got to the town, we needed to take a tram up to the cable car to take us to the source of the hot springs.  However, there was a really long line, so we decided to get some lunch first.  We walked up the really steep hill and looked at all the restaurants.  We chose one of the last ones, a family run sort of thing, and had some curry.  The restaurant was small, and it kind of looked like someone could live there.  The owner’s son, who was adorable, was sitting on some tatami watching television.  It was a nice atmosphere, and for most of the meal Shun and I were the only customers there.  Afterward Shun let me try a traditional food (I can never remember the name other than it starts with an M), but it was a kind of bread with anko in the middle.  It was really good!

After that we ventured over the the tram, and then to the cable car.  I forget how high up we were, but it was pretty amazing.  When we went over the source of the hot springs, there was hardly any vegetation and all you could smell was the sulfur.  The water flowed down in several places to the onsen in Hakone, and on the banks of the small streams was a yellow substance.  When we got to the top of the mountain, we walked around a great bit and went up to the main source of the onsen water, which was also where they make their famous black eggs.  All they do is cook them in the onsen water, but it turns the shell black.  We took several pictures, and some of them were pretty good because it was a bit foggy and cloudy at that point and it made for some interesting shots.  It was also the reason I didn’t get to see Mt. Fuji though.

We decided to go back down to Hakone and we were going to do a couple other things, but it was starting to rain a little and we were both tired.  So we rode back and bought another ticket on the Romance Car to Shinjuku, but we had some time to wait, so we went to a little coffee shop and split a small coffee cake and a coffee.  It was nice and a good way to relax after several more crowded rides down the mountain.  On the Romance Car we couldn’t sit together because it was pretty full.  I slept for just a little bit.  When we got to Shinjuku, we still had a little bit before we had to meet Shun’s sister in Roppongi for dinner.  So Shun showed me the Christmas lights.  One was called Mosaic Street, which had a lot of blue lights, and then we went to the other place which I don’t know what it was called.  It was amazing!!  The lights there were so pretty, and there were so many of them.  We also saw some artistic pieces in the train station which were made out of plastic water bottles.  They were quite well done and they even light up.

Shun also showed me a huge department store in Shinjuku.  It was like 14 stories and three buildings.  We didn’t have time to look around the whole place obviously, but he did show me the expensive part.  The most interesting part of that department store was the kimono level.  They were absolutely stunning.  I remember Shun being amazed at some of the prices, but I was more amazed at the detail put into those kimono.

After that we took a subway to Roppongi, which that was the first time I had ever ridden a subway.  I know it is just an underground train, but still, I was excited.  We met his sister outside of the train station and Shun, his sister, his sister’s friend, and I all went to a small restaurant to eat Nabe.  We went into our own private room with tatami and the low table you kneel at.  We had to take off our shoes and everything.  We tried a whole host of things.  The only thing they did order that I didn’t try was raw chicken.  It was a small piece, and I’m sure it was fine to eat, but I didn’t want to risk it.  I also tried yakitori.  I don’t remember all the different parts that I tried, but I know chicken skin and liver were some of the parts.  It was actually very good though.

I also tried some Japanese beer (Sapporo maybe) and some Japanese sake.  It was the first time I ordered alcohol because in Japan the drinking age is 20.  Then we got to make the Nabe, which ours was some leafy vegetables and chicken.  We boiled it in a sort of broth which is made from boiling chicken bones.  It was very delicious.  I also tried some sort of dessert, but I don’t remember what it was because Shun picked it out for me.  It was good though heh heh.  I would also like to note that their bathroom had only a single toilet in it, but the toilet was one of those with the sink in the top, so that was kind of neat.

After that we rode the train back to Kameido and went to sleep!

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