Monday, May 28, 2018

Japan Trip Day 3: Gotemba, Hakone

My sister wanted to see the sunrise so we left the curtain open. I woke up at 430am and the sun was already up and the sky was already bright. Lol. Forget about sunset. This is not a full summer yet but the amount of daylight is already so long. Sadly it was a cloudy day and Mt Fuji was totally covered so I decided to sleep again.
The clouds...
The cloud went away a bit after I woke up. I went to take a bath at the onsen again and I was lucky to have it empty again hehehe.. I enjoyed the outdoor onsen again to hope for the cloud to disappear further before returning to the room, take some pictures, and have breakfast.
The best view I could have today
Pretty looking Japanese breakfast. It was filling despite looking small in portion.
We checked out from the hotel at 10am and took the half hourly shuttle from the hotel to Kawaguchiko station. We took a bus to Gotemba and the journey was 1 hour 40 minutes. I was not too interested with Gotemba as I had been there before and looking at the clouds today, there was no hope that Mt Fuji would be visible.

My sister had a great time shopping and I had a great time earning credit card points lol. She bought a bag after 70% discount but with original price of 80k+ yen, it was still quite a crazy price. Hehe.. There is actually a food court at Gotemba with pretty good choices of meals. I supposed when I went there with my friend in 2015, we were too hungry and ate at the first cafe we saw. I wanted to get takoyaki but just when my turn came, I had to wait while they cooked the new batch. I decided to get something else.

Mt Fuji appeared but it was something that could only be seen with naked eyes. The sky was still very cloudy and it was difficult to make out the snow cap tip against the cloud. Everything just appeared white in camera.

At the Disney Store here, I finally found the Peter Pan Tsum Tsum Land plushie that I wanted to buy in December 2017 but could not find it at the Disney Stores in Tokyo on Saturday. Yay!! In addition, it was put on sale so I paid 540 yen only. There were only 2 plushies there and when I was queueing for the cashier, the little boy behind me bought the other one. So if I was late a little bit, I would have missed it as well. I also saw 75% sale for small figurine set similar to Aladdin set that I wanted to get in Tokyo but for Mickey and friends. This gave me the hope that perhaps in the future the Aladdin set would be put on sale first. Currently close to 4000 yen per set still seems quite pricey and I decide to put the purchase on hold.

At the Nike shop, I was interested in one of an interesting piece of cloth that I never own before: it is a hoodie with sleeves a bit longer from the shoulder. So it is not exactly sleeveless but also not exactly sleeves. Too bad it was in the leftover size section and there was no size for me.

Similar to at Kawaguchiko, the buses at Gotemba is also not that frequent. By now I am quite used to it as the distance among the places are actually quite far even when on the bus stops list is only a few stops away. We decided to take a 3pm bus to Sengoku before changing to another bus to Togendai at Lake Ashi. Surprise surprise.. Sengoku turns out not to be a station but just a place. Luckily somehow I managed to navigate to find the bus stop to find the bus to Togendai.

At Togendai, we had 2 choices since eventually we needed to return to Tokyo. One was by taking the ropeway to Gora and the take train to Odawara. The other was to take the cruise to Moto-Hakone or Hakone-machi and then to take either bus or train to Odawara. I experienced the cruise before so I ws more interested with the ropeway. My sister preferred the cruise so I followed since this itinerary was hers after all.

We took the cruise at 420pm. There were a lot of dark cloud and the wind was powerful. Great! I wore jeans yesterday and it was too hot so today I wore shorts. The weather throughout the day had been fine but it was too cold at the cruise. Lol. By the way I actually wore the same outfit as 2 years ago here. Haha..

The last bus from Moto-Hakone to Odawara leaves at 515pm according to the time table so I had to say goodbye to visiting the Hakone shrine again. There was no other choice but to continue to Hakone-machi. I came here in 2015 at day time and the atmosphere was different now visiting in the late afternoon. We were on the last cruise already so the area was already quiet. A good thing about it is I could take pictures with the cruise without a bunch of tourists in the background. If the weather was clear, it would even be much better.

We took at 70 minutes bus ride to Odawara since our Fuji Hakone pass included a Odakyu Railway ticket to Shinjuku. The train ride is about 70+ mins to Shinjuku. There is Tokaido line from Odawara which connect directly to Shinagawa in about 70+ mins also. I decided that time was more precious than money so I forgo the Odakyu Railway ticket and paid for another ticket to take the Tokaido line.

After this trip, I have enough of Mt Fuji. It is best to be enjoyed from the photos in the internet. Going there directly is always a gamble because Mt Fuji will only appear very beautifully when when sky is clear blue with no single cloud around it. I have visited twice and 0 times seeing what I am expecting so I am very disappointed.

A bit more about Fuji Hakone Pass, it is actually quite worth it. It is actually a 3-day pass and it covers both way transport via Shinjuku. The return transport must be done by bus for one of the trip and by the Odakyu railway for the other but we have the option to choose which one for which trip. These 2 trips would already cost somewhere near 4000 yen alone. The Pass also covers Hakone ropeway and sightseeing cruise. If you have the time to enjoy both, I think both should be about to 3000-4000 yen also. Add all the trips via buses or train around the Hakone and Kawaguchiko area and everything will already exceed the price of the Pass.

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