Two-Years Ago (25-January-2016) — Japan

Gone to See the World. Semester at Sea Spring 2016 Voyage on the MV World Odyssey. Day 20: Hakone.

Our group departed Yokohama for an overland bus and high-speed train tour of Hakone, Hiroshima, and Kobe. The first stop on the bus was at Fuji Hakone Izu National Park where we rode a gondola up Mount Komagatake. A short hike on an icy trail brought us to the peak (1327m). I could have used crampons on my boots, and was glad I had a walking stick. It was very, very cold, but we had a perfectly clear view of Mount Fuji covered with snow and Lake Ashi below.



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.

We then visited a Shinto Temple in Hakone. I focused on the “water purification” process before entering the temple. One or two other tour buses with students from the ship happened to be there at the same time so we had to be careful which bus we got back on.



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.

We were dropped off on in Hakone on the shore of Lake Ashi with free time to get lunch. Several of us stopped at a local noodle restaurant for lunch. We were given menus with pictures of the different meals. I selected the  “Smelts and Buckwheat Noodle Soup”. The waitress kept asking if I knew what “smelts” were. They looked like the fresh water smelts my grandfather would bring home from Lake Superior.



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.

After lunch we waited at the Pier for our “Pirate Ship” ride on Lake Ashi. That was hokey. The tourist pirate ship looked exactly like the one I rode in Gdansk, Poland — except with Japanese pirates.



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.

The tour bus picked us up at the other end of the lake and brought us to the Hakone Open-Air Museum.



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.

The final stop for the day was at Tenseien Yumoto Spring, a traditional Japanese hotel/spa in Hakone. When we checked in, we were given traditional Japanese Kimo’s that we were to wear during our stay. The room I was in was traditional Japanese style — minimal with a low table and pot of green tea. Later on the room was rearranged with a futon on the floor. Our group had its own room to sit for dinner, but we selected our food in a traditional Japanese buffet along with the other hotel guests.



Individual images in this slide show can be viewed here.
Color versions of the images can be viewed here.

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

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