As our wonderful vacation draws to a close, let me share with you the last stop we made during our travels.


Well hello Fuji-san.


Lake Ashi.

The first thing I have to say is that it took quite a lot to get us there.  Our previous destinations had been major cities, connected seamlessly by airports, high-speed trains and subways.  Our last destination, Hakone, however, was well off the beaten path.



A path, in Hakone.

Hakone is not a major city, but a region of Japan situated to the southwest of Tokyo.  It’s famous in Japan for its scenery, as Mt. Fuji is visible in some places (the shot I took was from one of the gondola rides), and its dense, lush foliage is certainly a welcome change for city dwellers.


There are so many wildflowers up in the mountains.


And sulfur pits from all the volcanic activity.

Getting there is easy enough, but it is a rather unique experience.  We took the bullet train out of Kyoto to Odawara, then took two more trains to get to Gora.  Then, the fun began.  From Gora, we had to take a cable car up to another station, and after that, we had two back-to-back gondola rides to reach the Ubako station near our hotel.  It was a fun experience, though slightly frustrating with all our luggage.


Carrying our luggage on and off two of these was not the funnest thing ever.

At our hotel, we had another Japanese-style room, though this one was larger than the one in Kyoto, with a separate bedroom area where our futons were laid out.  We also had our own private hot spring!!


Bigger room!

The hotel has two public hot springs as well, one for men and one for women, but we didn’t like the idea of being separated, so we decided to get our own.  It is our “official honeymoon” after all.  The stones around the pool were covered in calcifications from the sulfurous, mineral rich spring water that comes from all the volcanic activity in the area.  They were neat to look at, less pleasant to sit on.  Luckily the bottom was lined with tile.


Private hot spring!

The water was fantastic, and all the minerals left my skin feeling silky smooth.  There were even complimentary foot and hand creams available in the room for additional skin smoothing.


Little rock garden behind our room.

As far as activities went, we didn’t do too much.  After days of seemingly endless walking to reach one temple, or some other famous site, we took advantage of the time here to relax, lounge in the hot spring, and since we had breakfast and dinner provided for us, we didn’t have to go hunting for food either, which, when you can’t fully read menus, can be a laborious chore in itself.


Food from the hotel gift shop.

We fly back home on Thursday, and over the weekend, I’ll be heading down to CT to retrieve our little bun from my mom!  I’ve missed her dearly, and finding a plethora of bunny-related souvenirs has made me miss her even more.   I just can’t wait to snuggle that little face of hers, start recreating some foods we ate on our trip at home, and start sharing recipes with you all again next week!

P.S.  I’ve created a travel tab as a way to consolidate all my posts about the places we’ve been.  Our trip to Puerto Rico is there too, so if you missed anything, or want to hear about the places we’ve been, please do check it out!

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