A while back I popped on over to Hakone in Japan with family. I typically avoid Tokyo and larger cities and instead go to locations where foreign tourists haven’t heard of or travel usually. Hakone is situated in Kanagawa Prefecture but it is nestled away from all of the bigger cities. Do not expect to get there without a car. I tried to find a bus stop and was unable to find one. If there is a bus stop in the area I expect it to be fairly expensive. This is a benefit in my mind as an increase in tourists means an increase in tourist like amenities and a decrease in those wanting to study and take part in the preservation of the town.While there, my family had noticed that it was fairly windy. The strong winds made them think that dragons were flying around the area. After walking around I took part in many activities and ate the local cuisine.
When you imagine Japan what comes to mind? Either its a futuristic city with hustle and bustle or you imagine a small quiet town with nature not too far from your location. When stepping into Hakone it became the city I had hoped to retire in. It was quiet, peaceful and spiritual. You won’t see any sky scrapers or blinding lights here. You can see mountains in the distance and a torii gate (red gate) is situated in the middle of the lake. If you want to travel to the temple locations they will not be too far. You will however need to briefly go down the street and up a walking path. Believe it or not I saw some frogs climbing up the stairs to one of the temples. I will post the image of the frog below
Besides the temple I went on a small cruise of sorts on the lake. I got to snap a closer picture of the torii gate and learned some history about the area. After which I walked down to a “historical” area which displayed living quarters of people in ancient times. This area made me realize just how much I appreciate the current technology that exists today and how difficult it would have been to live in those times. We saw a horse near the main entrance as well but whether this was just for feeding or for riding we were unsure as there were no attendants for it. Maybe the horse was some type of display?
After trekking up to the temples and other areas we became hungry. We decided to make a quick stop into soba shop. I devoured the food there. I immediately felt healthier eating the food. I can tell that the chefs poured their hearts and souls into this dish. To make a restaurant that may not have the volume of customers as ones in Tokyo, I can understand that their reputation as a shop that makes superb noodles was of the utmost importance. My soba noodles were served in a small box. On the side there were tempuraized(?) vegetables, tsuyu (dipping sauce for noodles), daikon (white item goes in tsuyu) and green onions. After eating I left the area tearfully but understood I will be back one day
If you are looking for an area that gives you history, spirituality, and unforgettable memories I definitely suggest going to Hakone. Hakone has a special place in my heart and I hope you will throughly enjoy it as well. Hakone as a travel destination gets a 5 out of 5 for me
Thanks for reading