We arrived in Hakone around 10.30am. The ryokan check-in time was 2pm so we left our bags in a locker at Hakone Yumoto station. From the station, we got on the "Hakone tozan railway". This is a special train I really love. You know my love of trams. It's a little bit similar to a tram experience!
This is the only mountain railway in Japan using a "switchback system". The driver and the conductor change shifts and the train switches to reverse travel directions halfway up the line. The view from the train is really wonderful. In June you can enjoy colorful hydrangeas both sides of the railway and it's really beautiful too.
When we arrived at the museum, it wasn't raining but quite foggy. This was my first time to visit Chokokunomori (means forest of sculpture) museum and I was really impressed.
Most of the artworks were outdoors and you can walk around the lovely gardens while you see great sculptures collected from all over the world. Unlike other art galleries, you don't have to worry about your kids running around or making loud noises.
|footbath in the museum!!!|
|they have very good Picasso collection|
|our boy enjoyed this museum too!|
We enjoyed a pleasant morning there and had a buffet lunch and then after lunch Nico had a little playtime at the museum kids space where he enjoyed Isamu Noguchi's (my favourite artist!) "Octetra".
After that, we went back to Hakone Yumoto and went to our ryokan and had a lovely evening there.
On the second day, we had breakie at the ryokan and checked out at 10am, then left our bags in a locker at Hakone Yumoto station again. We caught a bus to Tougendai where you can get on a gondola and see lovely views of the mountains, Mt Fuji if the weather's good, and Lake Ashi.
When we went there, a part of the gondola line was closed due to the active volcano. Usually you can get on Hakone tozan railway to Goura and get on a cable car from there and then get on a gondola to Togendai. This is the most popular route, but we couldn't do that, so we decided to get on a gondola from Togendai and see Owakudani, where you can see smoky mountains from the window and go back to Togendai. The weather was good, but we couldn't see Mt Fuji unfortunately.
|We saw Mt Fuji at Owakudani in 2012 (we were a bit younger..)|
At Togendai, we bought some take-away lunch and got on a pirate ship ( ! ) to cross Lake Ashi. I really like that we can enjoy all sorts of transport like gondolas, ships, cable cars and the views in Hakone.
|This photo is from 2012 with Mt Fuji and younger Paul|
After that, we went to Yasuragi no mori which was a little bit of an odd choice for us. It's a national park and you can go for a bush walk. I thought there would be some kids play area (obviously I didn't do good research) so when we arrived and found nothing much there, I was a bit disappointed, but in the end we enjoyed the nature and the walk:-)
After this, we went back to Hakone Yumoto Station and got some souvenirs from shops around the station and then caught the Romance car home.
|sleeping in the Romance car|
It was just a one night trip, but Hakone take you to a completely different world in Japan. I know people enjoy the mixture of traditional and new things in Tokyo but if you feel a bit tired of walking around the busy crowds, this is a great escape from the hustle and bustle ;-)