Monday, July 30, 2012

A Lost Tooth, Black Eggs & Japan's Hakone National Park

After a morning at Mount Fuji, it was time to explore Hakone, Japan's most visited national park. Thank goodness for the clear skies. Seeing for miles and miles really made a difference! Strong winds altered Sunrise Tours' original itinerary, but we still came away with a memorable experience.

What's the most scenic place your child has lost a tooth? I think my younger boy has set a family record that may be hard to beat. He'd been wiggling it back and forth for days. All of us were gazing around while suspended high in the air on the Hakone Ropeway. Suddenly, out popped the tooth.


Here's the view out one side of the gondola.

Mount Fuji from the Hakone Ropeway



Here's the view from the other side.

Owakudani Great Boiling Valley — Volcanic activity resulting in sulfur vents
Can you spot the little, yellow hut at the bottom right?

Great views and the promise of a tooth fairy visit. How cool is that? I put away the tooth for safekeeping and then hopped out at Owakudani station to take a look around.


Hakone Ropeway gondolas continuing across the valley


The winds were quite gusty and cold up at Owakudani (elevation 3,132 feet), and the kids decided that the gift shop was a much better option than braving the elements. Leaving hubby with them, I took off to get a closer look at the sulfurous fumes. Who got the better deal?


Some inventive Japanese person figured out that the best way to make use of all that volcanic activity was to.... drumroll, please.... boil eggs! You won't find that recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I could see cages of eggs traveling along a cable between the steam vents and a little yellow hut, ready for hungry tourists to purchase.

Smelly black eggs cooked in a sulfur vent, anyone? Anyone?


When I got my eggs, they were still warm from their close encounter with Mother Nature. They were stinky, too. But once peeled, it tasted and smelled like a regular, hard-boiled egg. Eating one egg supposedly adds seven years to your life. By breakfast the next morning, I had eaten five whites but tossed the yolks, so I'm not quite sure where I am on the Longetivity Scale.


Then, it was back on the toasty tour bus for a ride back down the mountain to Lake Ashi, an old volcanic crater filled with water. There were numerous options for crossing, but we got a rather run-of-the-mill ferry boat.

Waiting on the pier at Lake Ashi


The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure


Ahoy there mates! Me spy pirates ahead!



Sailing across the lake was smooth and even, without a sign of the winds that buffeted us higher up the mountain. On the other side, it was back on the bus once again for the journey to Odawara Station on the Shinkansen bullet train line. Most of the tour took the speedy train back to Tokyo, but we returned to Hakone to spend the night and enjoy the hot springs.


Picturesque mountain tram at Myanoshita Station


After spending the day on a tour bus, ropeway gondola and boat, this charming train was the perfect ending to the day. All the tourists were long gone from this part of the park, and we practically had the train to ourselves. It made its way uphill through forests and switchbacks. Spring blossoms were just beginning to bud, and the landscape still had a touch of winter starkness. Finally, we reached the town of Myanoshita where we spent the night at the historic Fujiya Hotel.

Related Post
In Awe of Mount Fuji


This post is part of Travel Photo Thursdays on Budget Travellers Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check out these sites for more around-the-world travel inspiration.

18 comments:

  1. So, this is how Hakone looks on a good day :) I love that Mt Fuji view from the ropeway. My son lost his first tooth while we were in Japan last year on one of the streets(not as scenic as yours). My kids loved those eggs. We really wanted to go on the swan boats or the pirate ship. What a great day and experience your family had in Hakone.

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    1. I had remembered that you had foggy weather when you were there, and I crossed my fingers that we would have better luck. After the horrible weather the previous day, I was wondering if Hakone would be a waste of time, but it turned out wonderful. The pirate boat would have been cool.

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  2. Wiggly teeth make me queasy. It's such a big moment for kids though isn't it.

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    1. Yes, it's definitely a big moment.

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  3. What a lovely journey, Michele! Someone had a great idea with those eggs...sounds like you are on your way to a long life :-) The pirate ship looks very cool!

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    1. I really wish we could have taken the pirate ship.

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  4. Beautiful photos! We had a stretch of time where my younger daughter seemed to lose a tooth every time we went some place. I was a little suspicious that there was a lot of tooth wiggling going on because she realized the first time that it happened that the tooth fairy left local currency which Emma decided was far more valuable than Canadian money. The most memorable was probably in Provence - it fell out during the night and was never found! :) She also lost one on the beach in San Diego - fortunately we found that one in the sand!

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    1. What a coincidence. The tooth fairy leaves local currency for my kids, too. My boy made out like a bandit because the fairy left 500 yen which is 6X the US money she usually leaves.

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  5. What a very cool place to lose your tooth. At least he didn't lose it biting into one of those eggs. I think it's pretty cool the way they boil those over the volcanic vents. I'd have to try one for sure.

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    1. There was no chance of him biting into that egg. He couldn't get past the smell.

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  6. What an amazing trip and your son will now have an amazing story of how he lost that tooth! :) Unforgettable, huh?

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    1. I tried to get him to yank out the next super wiggly tooth at a orangutan rehab center on Borneo, but he wouldn't agree to it.

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  7. What great views! So glad you had a cloud-free day :) When I saw the eggs, I first thought they were the hundred-year-old eggs... lucky they just looked like them :)

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    1. If it had been a century egg, I would not have eaten it.

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  8. I am envying you being at Hakone on a good day. I had a day of rain and fog, and no sign of Mt Fuji. The gondola was not even operating!

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    1. After the terrible weather we had the day before, I felt quite lucky to get clear skies.

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  9. I'm really looking forward to visiting Hakone. Those black eggs look amazing!

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  10. I'm really looking forward to visiting Hakone. Those black eggs look amazing!

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