Why You Should Visit YAMANASHI & HAKONE when in JAPAN
Experience the nature at its best
Why You Should Visit YAMANASHI & HAKONE when in Japan
Getting close to nature has always been my weak point whenever I travel across the world. Going to Japan and not going to Hakone would have been a total injustice for the beauty that this town holds.
Yamanashi prefecture offers amazing views of the Mount Fuji, some of the best activities in Lake Kawaguchiko, and also an access to the road which can bring you to the 5th Station at Mt. Fuji depending upon the weather.
Hakone is a small town which also is a part of the Fuji Hakone National Izu Park at the distance of around 1.30 hours from Tokyo i.e. roughly 100 kilometers. The town offers surrounding areas of hot springs, Gotemba Peace Park and famous Owakudani Valley.
NOTE:- To complete following program in a day, you need to be accommodated in the area of Lake Kawaguchiko and start your day as early as 8:00 AM or maximum 09:00 AM. However, if you have a day to spare at the mentioned locations, you can split this program in two days.
My day started with one of the exciting and fun activity and that was the Amphibian Bus Ride in Lake Kawaguchiko. Amphibian Bus is a vehicle which takes you from the road into the chilling waters of the lake and gives you a ride of 30 to 45 minutes with some breathtaking view of the Mt. Fuji.
The most fun part is the jerk you feel when you change your vehicle course from road to water. You have to seriously fasten your seat belts while doing that since the jerk is very strong and you can actually fall off your seat if you are not seated properly. The ride is equipped with an audio guide which gives you the information about the surrounding area and the mighty Mt. Fuji. It has got transparent curtains which you can keep closed if you cannot take in the chilled air. Overall it is an experience you should never ever miss when you visit this town.
The next plan was to proceed towards the 5th station at Mt. Fuji, but after visiting the Fujisan World Heritage Center en route. It is an information center and only recommended to visit if you are too keen on knowing some more information and history about Mt. Fuji. It is equipped with two halls, South Hall where it is mandatory for you to buy the ticket and introduces you to the movies related to the mountains and a 15-meter wide model, and North Hall is all about the information and history of climbing.
After visiting the center, my bus drove me to the 4th Station of Mt. Fuji i.e. at the height of 2,020 meters, since the 5th Station was not accessible due to weather conditions. The drive takes you through the windy roads in the middle of the forests. There is nothing much to see once you reach the top and of course you cannot see the mountain completely once you are on it, but legend has it, once in your lifetime you should and you have to experience climbing Mount Fuji. Now I am not that adventurous to go on a trek up on the mountain so driving by the bus was the best way to make most of it.
Because of time restrictions, I was to complete program of both places in a single day so I went ahead for my next stop which was Gotemba Peace Park. This peace park in Gotemba city in Hakone and houses a stupa which preserves the ashes of the Lord Buddha presented by late Indian Prime Minister Mr. Nehru. The peace park is a famous tourist spot and almost 70% of the tourists wish to stop here for a peaceful view around the city and Mt. Fuji. Since it is situated on a hill, it gives you a serene view.
The last stop for the day was the Owakudani Boiling Valley which is an active volcanic zone where you can experience the hot springs, hot rivers, and outstanding sulfurous fumes. You can either reach to the top from the Togendai Ropeway Station or can drive up by your vehicle. Once you are up there, you will get to see the sulfur fumes. This place also has a Hakone Geomuseum - Owakudani Information Center which has an entry fee of 300 JPY.
The specialty of this area is the Black Sulfur Eggs which are sold over here and it said to increase your lifespan by 7 years. Every time I visited this places these eggs were sold out, hoping at least once to get those eggs for myself.
If you still have any time left with you and it is not yet that dark, you can visit the banks of Lake Ashi on the way down. There is nothing much but a peaceful view by the lakeside.
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