Japan 2012: Day 2 Hakone Part 1

Resuming my travel entries after a 3 month hiatus. Thrashed 1 draft that was dated 31st May & starting all over again with this ……

Originally drafted a food highlights for Part 1 and even prepared the collages last week but decided to rewrite this in chronological order instead, feels more authentic this way 😛

Day 2: 18 December 2012

Set off for Hakone from Yokohama.

Original wish was to have breakfast at Bills Yokohama (Red Brick Warehouse) but they open quite late at 1000 hrs – which will conflict with my itinerary as the plan is to set off at 1000 hrs post breakfast …. Thus decided to check out this cafe instead which I spotted outside the hotel (along the route to Yokohama Station) ….

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Turns out that this is actually the cafe arm of UCC Coffee. The interior looks very comfortable and cosy, in a very Japanese kind of way – the kind of cafe where you can sit down and have a cuppa, together with newspaper/book. Nice array of cakes as well – where the mili crepe caught my attention. But cakes are more of a staple for tea, rather than for breakfast, thus gave it a miss. The outside area (which is actually the smoking zone) is spacious and a great spot for people watching as well.

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My breakfast set – coffee with thick cheese toast.

Then it was off to Hakone. Took the JR Tokaido Line from Yokohama Station to Odawara – 1 straight line journey with no change of stations mid-way, and will take 1 hour approximately. Based on my research of transport routes on Hyperdia, this is the most straightforward option and the cheapest (950 JPY) as versus to changing the shinkasen at Shin-Yokohama (or) taking a train to Shinjuku (35 min journey) in order to change train to Odawara (covered by the Hakone Free Pass) – which will take 2 hours + in total. Worked it out and decided it is not time effective in the end, furthermore due to early sunset in winter (4+pm), almost half the day is gone should I take this route ……

Managed to take a cat nap on the train and nearing Odawara, spotted Mount Fuji!!

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Reached Odawara – a major transit point to head into Hakone. Odawara is also a small city with the Odawara Castle as its main attraction. Made a mental note to possibly visit the Castle if time permits (on the journey back to Tokyo the next day).

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Purchased the 2 Day Hakone Free Pass (3500 JPY) at the Odawara Station that will bring me into Hakone and cover majority of the transport (train, ropeway, buses) within Hakone itself. Then proceeded on the Hakone Tozan Line to my next stop – Hakone Yumoto Station.

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Immediate thing to do at Hakone-Yumoto – head to the Baggage Delivery Service (last order is at 1230pm) to drop off my luggage to deliver to the hotel. Cost me 700 JPY (100 JPY as a discount from the Hakone Free Pass). Figured that it would be better spending this $$ (SGD $10.28 equivalent based on my exchange rate of 14.68) as versus to taking a 50 min to 1 hour bus journey to drop off luggage at hotel (located at the other end of Hakone). Will have an 1 hour extra to plough through the major attractions without the hassle of carrying a heavy luggage (esp. on the ropeway which is impossible) ….. this will turn out to be an excellent decision 😛

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The buildings outside of Hakone-Yumoto station. Yumoto town itself is the entrance to Hakone – and one of the major hot spring areas in Hakone itself.

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Some of the famous Hakone produce sold in the shops. Found this small ice-cream shop as well ……

Original intention was to have an early lunch in Hakone-Yumoto but after walking 1 round around the shops, found nothing interesting for lunch ….. so decided to proceed on to touring Hakone proper. Am using the recommended Hakone Round Course as a guide – With Hakone Yumoto as the start of the journey …… To be covered in Part 2!

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