Sunday 19th of March was a bank holiday weekend in Japan, the sun was shining in Tokyo and we thought what a great day for us to see Mount Fuji and the Lalique Museum in Hakone which lies in the mountains about 1 and 1/2 hrs south of Tokyo. We dropped everything and dashed off to Hakone. Well, thousands of Japanese and other tourists had the same idea.
To start it all went well but when at 10am we got to Odewara the nearest big town to Hakone and heard that there was already a traffic jam going up the mountain we should have become suspicious.
We bought a day pass, took the scenic train through the mountains, a bus and a ferry across lake Ashi from where we were meant to see Mount Fuji.
But by the time we reached the lake, haze had enveloped the upper half of “our shy mountain” (as our Japanese guide described Fuji). But we got a good view of the snow covered lower half. We then took a rope car up the mountain to catch Mount Fuji from the top, but we saw less as the haze had increased.
We consoled ourselves by eating black eggs which had been cooked in sulphurous spring water and are meant to increase your life span by 7 years. Tony ate 2 as he decided 14 more years were enough, I ate 3 eggs.
Back down the mountain and onwards by bus to the Lalique Museum, which Tony had read about several years ago. Lalique was French jeweller and glassmaker, who successfully straddled the years between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. It’s hard to see much of his stuff – other than near Hakone, and Alsace.
After that our troubles really started, as everybody was trying to make their way home! Hours later we realised that we would not get back to Tokyo in time to meet our tour guide for dinner that night. Once we had contacted her and agreed that we best meet the following morning we got off the bus and went to relax in a famous Onsen called Tensan Notemburo, where Tony accidentally ended up in a pool with three heavily tattooed yakusas ( Japanese criminals) and lived to tell the tale. We finally made it home by midnight.
We have since walked the Kiso valley and seen Nara, more of that next time.