We took a train (a smaller version sort of like the Shinkanesen, which I’ll explain more in the Kyoto posts) to the smallish town of Odawara. There was still rain and mist, but the weather made everything even more beautiful and romantic, with the moisture-ridden clouds slowly settling themselves on top of the gorgeous mountainside. Truly, I’ve never seen more beautiful mountains! The forests were so dynamic in color and variety of trees, my eyes were glued to the window and I kept wishing I could ask the bus driver to drive slower so I could soak it in longer.
One of the best things about riding trains in Japan: BENTO BOXES! Wahoo! There are tons of vendors outside and inside the subway stations that sell so many different kinds of bento boxes (as well as onigiri, sandwiches, snacks, and gifts), and it was so difficult picking one. They all look so tasty! Sidenote: Odawara had many stores selling various seafood and kamaboko, which is processed fish cake.
Hakone is a small town known for its hot springs and the smell of sulfur aka rotten egg in the air. The sulfur smell actually wasn’t too bad, and we really, really enjoyed the hot springs. It made our skin so soft and smooth, but sitting in that hot steaming water really tired us out, so Hakone was basically: rain, hot springs, and sleeping. Which I didn’t mind! The one thing I was bummed about though was that we couldn’t see Mt. Fuji because of all the rain 😥 Next time!
We stayed at the Hakone Kowakein Hotel, and while they did have lovely outdoor hot spring bath options (no clothes, Japanese style. Also, Korean style though, so it felt fine and natural for us. But of course still separated gender!), I wouldn’t say it was the best hotel. I think we could’ve found better options, but this was the hotel the Sunrise Tour booked for us for our stay in Hakone. We did booked our hotels in Tokyo, but for Hakone and Kyoto, Sunrise Tour did the booking.
Kyoto next! And oh, how lovely Kyoto was!