Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hakone Open Air Museum, Hakone Shrine & Owakudani

We enjoyed it so much the first time we, well I, decided that we would go back! Only this time we had Bob with us and we were able to go to two different places, the Hakone Open Air Museum and Hakone Shrine. We also went back to Owakudani, The Great Boiling Valley, and over to Lake Ashi. The picture at the top of my blog is of Lake Ashi and the torii gate on Lake Ashi. We're actually standing right there in this picture.
I took a lot of pictures and put the rest in my Shutterfly album if you want to see them.
We stopped at a rest area halfway through the drive down there. We were all hungry and ready for a more substantial breakfast. So what did they want? Vending machine food! But not just any vending machine food, this was "Casual Frozen Foods." Keanna got the fish on the bottom right and Sydney got fried potatoes/french fries. Keanna didn't actually get fish, but it's Ningyoyaki which is sort of like cake filled with a bean paste.
The Hakone Open Air Museum was a lot of fun and the kids had a really good time. I'm not an art person, never have been. I can barely draw stick figures, and going to art museums just don't interest me. This place had sculptures, but so many things were hands on. Their favorite area was this room with nets hanging from the ceiling. They were able to climb up and in there too! Neither of them made it to the top, but they had fun trying. After giving them the "We're leaving in five minutes" warning a few times we headed out only to find another play area for kids! I don't know how to describe it, but it was like plastic bubbles all connected into a maze. But it wasn't flat, it was climbable from the inside. They didn't enjoy this nearly as much so we left and headed towards my favorite part, the footbath spa.

Halcyon. That's the best adjective I can think of to describe this footbath. The water was heated and it had citrus fruit in there. Our guide gave us paper towels to use for wiping our feet and legs off and I'm so glad she did. We sat in there for about six or seven minutes, but boy oh boy would I have liked to stay longer. We were on a time constraint and wanted to see other areas, so each part we did see was cut short. As soon as I put my feet in a sense of comfort and relaxation came over me. And even when we were done and walking away I just felt refreshed.

After the Open Air Museum we headed over to Owakudani and the Hakone Ropeway. The girls were very excited and remembered our last trip here. We rode across the valley, ate the black eggs, had lunch and headed over to Lake Ashi and Hakone Shrine. I'm trying to cut this short since I've already written so much! Here are some highlights, and again, you can see the rest of the pictures in my Shutterfly album. Unfortunately the sky wasn't clear so we couldn't see Fujisan (Mt. Fuji).

After Owakudani we headed over to Lake Ashi for a boat ride and then a visit to Hakone Shrine. This place was beautiful and right on the water! Our [fav guide, Kazumi explained everything to us beforehand and I am including a short video. We've gone on three or four trips with her and she is our favorite!

If you're in the area and can make a trip to Hakone do it, and if you're thinking about traveling to Japan for a vacation make an effort to visit there. There is so much to see and do, and don't forget that Yunessun Spa is there, the place with the fish that eat the dead skin off your feet! I went there with the girls in June and Bob and I want to go back...only without the kids!


Inkspots said...

You are my inspiration! I love how you get out and about so much. What a fun trip this must have been, and how great that you got it blogged so quickly--I'm so bad at that. Thanks for sharing!

Ethan & Alisa said...

Your trip looked SO fun! and Relaxing! :)
Did you go on this w/ ITT Tours? Or on your own?
I would love to do this!
Looks So fun!