November 18, 2008

Hakone in the Autumn - Part 2

After a good night's sleep I was up for an early dip in the bath before heading for a nice Japanese breakfast that set me up for the morning.

Check out time was at ten, seeing that it was a beautiful day I decided to head off on one of the walking routes around the Hakone Yumoto area. The first stop was the small but unspectacular Kumano Shrine, which is said to be situated on the site where hot spring waters were first drawn (if I understood it correctly) and the shrine is there to ensure that the waters don't stop.
From there it was a ten minute or so walk to the Tamadare waterfall, with a crystal clear pond full of koi carp beneath it. Nearby on the hillside was a pagoda, though the serenity of the scene is disrupted right now by a building site just metres away where a new hotel is being built on the river banks.

Right next to the waterfall, there are a series of steps leading up to a tiny shrine bearing the same name, which probably used to give you a view over the river.

Further up the valley I passed the Hakone Kannon temple and climbed up the steps to join the old Edo-period road that led back towards the town.
The next part of the route was fairly unspectacular, but I was amazed at just how many ryokans and hotels there are in Hakone Yumoto, as I had previously stayed in different parts of the Hakone area. Eventually I reached Soun-ji, a temple with grounds covered in moss in a peaceful area of town.
The Romance Car in the station with autumn trees in the background.

I had some soba noodles for lunch and after a final walk around the area in front of the station, I got on the Romance Car back to Tokyo, feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead.

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