Last month Dan was sent back to Japan for work and I was lucky enough to join him again for a week. We loved Japan so much last time, we were both so excited to return. Tokyo is our favourite city to visit and it was wonderful going back.
Upon arriving in Tokyo, we decided to immediately take a day trip out to Hakone. Hakone is a small village town at the base of Mt. Fuji. It is known for its beautiful lake and it’s vast amount of hot spring spas (Onsen’s). We took the bullet train out there and did a big loop of the village hot spots. You can easily do a loop using the village’s great train and cable car system. It’s a fun way to see the surroundings, especially with great views of Mt. Fuji. It was a bit hazy out when we visited, so unfortunately we weren’t able to grab the best photos of the mountain.
After a few trains and cable cars, we started in the area called Owakudani. The area is an active volcano with a lot of sulphuric fumes – it smelled quite eggy! The view from up here was beautiful and it was really cool seeing all of the gas come out of the earth. This is where we tried the famous “Black Eggs”. They are just hard boiled eggs, but because of all the sulphur in the air/water they turn black on the shell. They are supposed to give you 7 extra years of life!
After another cable car ride, we ended up at the base of Lake Ashi where we took a pirate boat across the lake. It is a beautiful lake with gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji. The water was crystal clear blue. There were many Torri shrines along the edges of the water. I loved the bright orange contrast to the beautiful blue water.
We walked over to one of the famous Torri Shrines, the Hakani Shrine. It is believed that this shrine is from 757! It was stunning.
We then spent the remainder of our time in Hakone at an Onsen relaxing. We were super jet lagged this time and it was wonderful just relaxing in our private spa room. It was equipped with an indoor Jacuzzi and an outdoor one!
Totally recommend going over to Hakone if you’re in the Tokyo area. You can easily do it in a day trip, or stay at one of the beautiful Onsen resorts overnight!
As this was our 2nd time in Tokyo, it was nice being comfortable with the city and being able to actually enjoy it more of as a local than a tourist. We were able to visit a lot of our favourite restaurants and hangouts. When I arrived, it was just the beginning of the cherry blossom season (Sakura). Most of the trees were starting to bud, but I wasn’t able to experience them in full bloom like Dan did towards the end of the trip.
Just a small glimpse of the food:
One of my favourite things about Japan is how efficient their transit is. On Google Maps, you’ll get a countdown to your train in seconds, and it’s ALWAYS exactly on time. AND – every time you arrive at a station, the train plays a little music that makes you feel like you just won the jackpot! I love it! Everything is so cute-sy!
Misc. around Tokyo:
Night out at Bauhaus!
On my last weekend in Japan, we decided to go for another day trip. Yokahama is Japan’s 2nd largest city next to Tokyo. It’s a massive port city south of Tokyo. Unfortunately, it was pretty dreary the day we visited, so the sights weren’t able to grab the best (or that many!) photos!
We spent our time just wandering! I think we ended up logging about 7 miles for the day in the rain! We explored the old factory buildings that have now been converted into indoor markets/shopping malls and then made our way over to the HUGE China town! It was really cool – and probably slightly better than London’s! (It’s so hard for me to admit that because I love London’s China town!) But we ate some of the most amazing Chinese street food and explored a few of the temples.
Again, Yokohama can easily be done in a day trip. I probably wouldn’t recommend any more time there than a day. It’s beautiful, but there isn’t that much to do there.
We’ve been so blessed to have the opportunity to spend time in Japan. It’s truly an amazing country. I can’t express how much I love the culture there. Dan will be heading back again this summer, and hopefully I can join him again!