In November 2019, I took my parents to Japan for their first time – and my seventh – over two weeks. This series is to be read as a diary, and serves as a place to showcase the pictures taken and preserve the memories made.
Date of trip: 14/Nov/2019 – 28/Nov/2019
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All experiences – food, accommodation and activities in this post were independently paid for.
|Day 1 – Hiroshima (introduction)||Day 2 – Okayama/Kurashiki|
|Day 3 – Osaka||Day 4 – Mount Koya|
|Day 5 – Kyoto||Day 6 – Kyoto|
|Day 7 – Arashiyama||Day 8 – Kyoto|
|Day 9 – Uji & Nara||Day 10 – Hakone|
|Day 11 – Hakone||Day 12-14 – Tokyo|
Japan Day 11 – Hakone
I was prepared for to never leave our resort for the full two days we spent at Hakone – you can see why – but it’s autumnal allure and a rare few hours of clement weather on the second day was a whole kind of mood. Resistance was futile.
Notwithstanding obsequious praise for our lodging, even the best in the world could not have kept me inside. While my first few visits to Hakone were spent around the town and its various onsens, this was my first opportunity to visit Lake Ashi (AKA Ashinoko), the number one scenic destination in the area (step aside Ōwakudani). So you know, I was pretty determined to see it. Sure, I don’t have the best pictures to back up the assertion as a fog as thick as pea soup enrobed the entire area for much of the time, but I’ll let them do the talking anyway.
Did I say clement weather? Whelp.
Postcard-perfect pictures these ain’t, but I have a funny feeling you already know what I’m trying to sell you – either you’ve already been (as almost every other tourist to Japan has), or have already done your own research – and don’t need this choir preacher overplaying his Japan-is-the-greatest sermon. As I’ve said many times, Hakone is boundlessly beautiful, with Lake Ashi an ineluctably connected part of this beauty.
I’m going to hazard a guess that you’ve come across Hakone Shrine. It’s undoubtedly famous, though is now perhaps becoming infamous, given its alluring floating torii gate draws tourist crowds of up to an hour for That Social Media Post. How do I know this? Uh….
If you can’t beat them, join them! [I swear I’ll never line up here again. Promise!]
After around four hours, the rain began to pummel down once more, so our short time at Ashinoko was at an end. It was back to Kai Sengokuhara, partaking in its excellent kaiseki dinner, and one of the best sleeps of my life. Is it just me, or does rain really buff up the experience of snoozing?