Shot on Nikon Df with 24-85mm lens and iPhone 6
The day we spent in Hakone was probably one of my favourite parts of the trip. Although the weather was considerably foggy and rainy for the majority of the day, and resulted in an incapability to see Mt. Fuji, it didn't discredit Hakone's breathtaking beauty in the slightest. This was confirmed by the 'Ooh's, 'Ah's and 'Wow's gasped by all of the passengers in the Tozan train ride up to Gora from Hakone-Yumoto. Leaves of yellow, orange, red and every colour in between flaunted their beauty everywhere we turned.
We enjoyed a hot lunch of Japanese curry and tonkatsu in a cosy restaurant overlooking a spectacular view, before adding to our life spans with Owakudani black eggs. This was followed by a ride on the Ropeway cable cars over active volcanoes and racing back to Moto-Hakone for the last timetabled sightseeing cruise of the day.
We stayed at the Yuugiriso Inn (夕霧莊) in Hakone-Machi and had our first onsen-soaking, yukata-wearing, and futon-sleeping experience. I was especially excited for the opportunity to participate in a practice reflected in so many of our favourite cartoons, like Doraemon and 櫻桃小丸子. Contrary to my previous beliefs and concerns that these sleeping arrangements would be uncomfortable and inducive to sleeplessness, I discovered that futons are actually so comfortable, I felt like I was embraced by a warm, fluffy cloud. Needless to say, I slept very well that night.
Dinner and breakfast were offered and served at the inn, in the traditional Japanese manner- small portions of numerous mouthwatering side dishes, all delicately prepared and masterfully arranged on the dining table. Dinner consisted of dishes such as sashimi, tempura, a small stone hot pot of meat, clear soup, grilled fish, and the silkiest cube of tofu. There was so much food, and I ate especially slowly in order to savour every bite, that I think we ate for almost three hours.
Breakfast the next morning included miso soup, pickled vegetables, boiled tofu in a hot pot, steamed vegetables, grilled fish, natto beans, and the best tamago I have ever tasted.
Everything that we saw, heard and tasted that day was such an eye-opener that I found myself in a constant state of wonder and awe. I am most unlikely to forget the experience any time soon, and can't wait for the next opportunity to visit.