Since getting home, I’ve been putting off uploading the last few pictures from my Hakone trip. I’m sure everyone is well and truly sick of my going on and on about it, but it was a really influential time and it’s so special to me, so I wanted to share as much of it as possible. (Also, this is the last post, I promise)
After the first day was over–and I was considerably tuckered out–I checked into the Hakone Lake Hotel. Generally, when I travel, my partner and I say in the cheapest accommodation possible but this was a work trip, so I got to stay somewhere a tad on the fancy side. It was such a treat for me. I felt so special, but, at the same time, I also felt a little out of place with my tawdry backpack and beaten up Converse.
Dinner was something else entirely. Flower petals on the sashimi. Flower petals. All-you-can-eat tempura. The most mouth watering tofu/horse mackerel that’s ever existed. A tiny burner cooking pork-wrapped asparagus. I died like four times eating this meal. It was amazing. And BY FAR the fanciest meal I’ve ever had in my entire life.
After dinner, I did work for a little bit, face-timed my boyfriend, and then got ready to go in the onsen. It was my first time! I was so nervous I would do something wrong. In fact, the brochure specifically said you could go into the onsen wearing a yukata or plain clothes and change there … I went in wearing plain clothes … I was the only one doing so. Everyone else was in yukata so I quickly raced back to my room and got changed and went back.
The onsen itself was a magical experience. I was in there for over an hour, and would have happily stayed longer if I didn’t need to get up early the next day. The air was cold and crisp, but the water was so warm. It didn’t feel like normal bathwater. There was something magnetic to it. It felt textured in some weird way. I was outside, staring up at the night sky, with the chilly air on my face and steam billowing from the water, and it was one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences of my life.
Above is Owakudani, the next morning. The mist was so strong, and the visibility was so low, I’m surprised I even got this shot. The entire mountain was covered in thick fog. I sat watching it in this little restaurant above the ropeway station. The restaurant was closed at the time, and I was the only person in there, eating my enormous katsu curry on the premise that I was the official reporter who had been paid to take pictures of all the things. It was so odd because I hadn’t been told I would get food. And, on this trip, no one could speak English, so it took hilariously long for me to work out if the katsu curry they brought me was supposed to be eaten by me (I wasn’t sure if it was just for pictures … I didn’t want to be a complete weirdo and start eating when I wasn’t supposed to BUT at least I knew enough Japanese to get me through this one…).
The hydrangeas were my absolute favourite.
The Hakone Art and Moss Museum (箱根美術館). It has an absolutely beautiful moss garden, which I so recommend checking out any time of year. The museum itself is petit, but good lord, the view. I’ve never seen a view that was actually *breath taking* before. I grew up around hills and farmland–large spaces are very normal for me. But this–this actually stopped me. I used the picture for the header of this post. I looked out the window and saw expansive mountains clothed in mist. Words hardly do it justice. Pictures hardly do it justice. It honestly looked like something out of a fantasy novel.
I never wanted to leave that window.