Traveling is one of my key points in achieving inner peace. I find it very relaxing and it reduces my stress. I have been in Japan for a year and a half now, and I could say that it has been an awesome experience. I get to learn new things, meet different people, and I could go to beautiful places.
Traveling in Japan was one of my favorites. In fact, this blog is about the awesome time I've spent in Hakone.
Hakone is a mountainous area west of Tokyo in Japan. It is just a short 85-minute travel time from Shinjuku.
I took a major breather in some of the picturesque spots in Hakone such as Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), the crystal trees that sparkle in the sunlight at the Venetian Glass Museum and the open-air museum that features quirky sculptures, but what interests me most was the “Free Pass” ticket everybody has been recommending about over the web. The Free Pass entails unlimited rides in Hakone for 3 days for only 5,640 JPY! Quite cheap for a three-day tour.
Upon arriving to Hakone, the first thing that I did was to put my bags in the locker, which were very accessible, and went straight to the bus stop. An itinerary guide map will come in handy for an explorer like me, so I always take advantage of the free guide maps and adverts in the terminals.
I could still remember the gentle fragrance as I passed by a trail full of cedar trees that is located alongside Lake Ashi and the freshness of the wind that felt very welcoming on my day of arrival.
I went to Hakone Sekisho and had a little bit of a tour about the place. It was very interesting to know how the Japanese people protected their citizens thoroughly by checking the people who were entering the gates. After an educational introduction, I immediately went to the pier to join the popular cruise. The chilly weather did not frighten me. In addition, the view of Mt. Fuji was spectacular. It was a quick yet unforgettable cruise.
I arrived in Togendai-ko at four in the afternoon. Surprisingly, the gates of the Odakyu ropeway was until 4:15 PM, so everybody from the boat rushed to the gates. It looked like a race and all the people looked entertained. One good thing about the Free Pass is you could skip the line and just go straight ahead to the gates. I was thrilled to know I made it on time before the gates were closed.
On the second day, I went to two museums; one was the Hakone Open-Air Museum and the other one was the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum. Astonished to see the details showcased there and to witness pieces of artworks in such a magical place. Who would want to leave a place like that?
On the last day of my trip, I went to Owakudani’s “The Great Boiling Valley” and tasted their famous Black Egg that says it can add 7 years of one’s life. Curiosity came in so I gave it a try. It tasted like an ordinary egg, only with a black shell.
The highlight of my trip was the Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field. Many of the people were telling me the season was over, but I still opted to go because I really wanted to go there. As I stepped my foot into the field, my tears were about to drop. The place was surreal. It was indeed a traveler's haven. The grass were like gold and the sun was up as if it was shining for me. The ambiance was perfect, I took a deep breath as I listen to the wind and felt the grass on my skin. An hour stay in the field was soul relieving. I was reborn, I found back my inner peace.
Among all of the places I have been to, Hakone was the most memorable one so far.
Being here in Japan was an opportunity for me to get to know myself even more and I am grateful to have had these experiences. Japan is full of challenges for me. Staying in Japan is also a liberating decision. Above all, it is full of beautiful surprises.