Sunday, May 18, 2014

Japan Day 3: Mt. Fuji - Hakone Tour

Our Day 3 was dedicated to a trip to Mt. Fuji! We got a tour from the Gray Line company which the staff from Tokyo Marriott happily booked for us prior to our trip (Just as we were about to book a tour a few days before, there were no more available slots for our chosen date). Here is the link to the tour we had. 

The bus of the tour picks up the tourists at chosen hotels. The Prince Shinagawa hotel happens to be the closest one to our hotel and the first stop of the bus, so yay we got to choose our seats. Along the way we got to see the Tokyo Tower. The timing of the bus seems to be pretty accurate with the itinerary because the last passengers were picked up at exactly 9am. 

Since Mt. Fuji is huge and pretty, you'll immediately get a chance to catch a glimpse of it on the way there. Here is a no-edit-whatsoever photo of Mt. Fuji, which was pretty hard to capture since the bus kept on turning and moving.
Because it was snowing at the higher stations of Mt. Fuji, we were only able to visit up to the second station of the mountain. From there, we couldn't see the top of the mountain because the clouds were thick due to snow. This part was quite disappointing to be honest because there wasn't much, really. We had to settle for the gift shop where we were able to buy Strawberry Cheesecake Kitkat. 
On the way to Hakone are lines of japanese houses and this cemetery which looks pretty cramped. No match for the ones in New York though!
Hakone is another mountainous area just beside Mt. Fuji. We had a short stop to take a photo of the iconic mountain. 
Next stop was Togendai where we had lunch. I love me some tonkatsu curry so I ordered that. My parents ordered the local sausage with rice and pasta with beef. All the dishes were surprisingly delicious. A+!

It is also there where we took the cable car up the mountain to the Great Boiling Valley of Owakudani.
Blurry photo of Lake Ashi from the cable car. 
The place looks really dry and hot in photos but in reality, it was freezing. We got to the 2nd station of the cable car where Owakudani was and had a steep walk from the gift shops and tourist centers to the top. Yes, it was a steep walk and we were all out of breath when we reached that place that smelled like rotten eggs. The sulfur's smell made me want to puke to be honest. It was disgusting, but you can't hate on it because the scenery is nice. 
We bought souvenir black eggs from the store, five per pack which were still very hot. There were tables at the side where you could eat them so we stayed there for a while and ate a couple of them.

 Fun Fact: Legend says that eating one of these kuro-tamago could add seven years to your life. Two of those however would not add 14 years to your life. Instead, it would shorten your life (Because of the cholesterol. But this part was just a their joke.)

Because it's a steep walk to reach the valley, these mechanisms were built in order to transport the eggs easily from the top, down to the tourist center. 
At the tourist center I was bored so I resorted to eating. (Typical fatso Mariel). I tried their Egg-flavored soft serve. Some of you may be cringing, but the taste was actually pretty pleasant. What's also pleasant is my touristy photo with a large black egg. 
From Owakudani, the bus picked us up and brought us back to Togendai where we boarded a pirate ship to cruise Lake Ashi. It was one hell of a freezing ride so my mom decided to stay inside while my dad and I roamed around the top deck. A peculiar dutch man even had on a cape because it was way too cold. I'm guessing he's a Ravenclaw? I kid. 
Cute little Coke bottles. I obviously had to take a photo.
After the cruise we had to go back to Odawara Station to board the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. We were quite rushing, so there, have a poorly framed photo of the station. 
Thank you for fast shutter speeds because I got to capture this photo of a shinkansen going on 209 km/hr. And a cute little girl covering her ears because the trains are really loud. 
We got off at Shinagawa station as usual and had dinner at one of the strip of small restaurants under the train tracks near the hotel. There is a vendo machine outside the restaurant where you can order then present the stubs to the waiters. This is probably one of the most authentic Japanese foodie experiences because it is where the locals go after work or school. It's not somewhere tourists go to because they could easily be considered a bangketa here in the Philippines. We even saw a cockroach inside the restaurant. Yikes. 

The food was good though! Here is my order of spicy vegtables with pork. 
One of the best days of our trip. And special thanks to Mashiro-san from Tokyo Marriott who arranged the tour for us. 

So excited for Day 4 because it's Shibuya-Harajuku-Omotesando-Shinjuku day!
I hope you liked this post. :) Don't forget to share and follow if you liked it. 

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