February 13, 2008

Hakone - Day 1

A weekend with a national holiday tacked on is the perfect excuse to get away, and this weekend just gone, I decided to see Hakone in winter. It was a beautiful day on Sunday and, following Saturday's snowfall, there was a nice blanket of white over the countryside.

First stop on this trip was Hakone Shrine next to Lake Ashi. Shrouded in trees, the shrine is invisible from afar save the huge tori on the on the lakeside, but makes a nice spot to visit even if you don't have any prayers to offer up to the deities.

A short bus ride away is the Hakone Checkpoint. This is an attraction and museum on the site of what was an old check point in the Edo period, monitoring people travelling to and from Edo (now Tokyo). The building that stands now is a replica of the old site, and it seems there is nothing of the original building still standing. As an attraction I personally felt it was a disappointment and that the plaster of Paris horse models in the stables together with sound effects tapes were unnecessary.

From there it was lunch and then back round to the port and across the lake on the pirate ship (again) and again with clear skies, there was an amazing view of Mount Fuji.

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