Japan 2012: Day 2 Hakone Part 3

Day 2: 18 December 2012 (Con’t)

After leaving Owakudani, continued on the ropeway to the next destination – Togendai!

Based on the round course, the ropeway will pass by Ubako (supposedly a viewing point for Mount Fuji as stated on the official tourist brochure) before reaching Togendai ……

First sightings of Lake Aishi from the ropeway ……

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True enough, my hunch was spot on! Upon reaching Togendai station, saw on the wall that the last cruise for the day leaves at 1450 hrs!

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Recalled I reached the station pretty early (around 1410 hrs) …. So walked around the station, nothing much 😛 …… On hindsight, could have spent that bit more time at Owakudani but well …..

Got this marvellous view of Lake Ashi from one of the windows at the station, as highlighted in a previous Weekly Photo Challenge entry some time back …… Here’s the same lake, from another window, with a different perspective ……

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OK, finally got onto the Lake Ashi cruise ……

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The cruise ship parked at the dock (as you can see, the sky is kinda gloomy) and the interior of the cruise ship ……

More about the Lake Ashi & the cruise itself:

(Source: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5201.html)

Lake Ashinoko (芦ノ湖, Ashinoko) was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano’s last eruption 3000 years ago. Today, the lake with Mount Fuji in the background is the symbol of Hakone.

The best views of the lake in combination with Mount Fuji can be enjoyed from Moto-Hakone, from the Hakone Detached Palace Garden and from the sightseeing boats cruising the lake. Note however, that clouds and poor visibility often block the view of Mount Fuji, and you have to consider yourself lucky if you get a clear view of the mountain. Visibility tends to be better during the colder seasons of the year than in summer, and in the early morning and late evening hours.

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As per the above link, there are actually 2 companies – Hakone Sightseeing boats and Izuhakone Sightseeng Boats, that operate the boats/cruise across the lake (and stopping by Moto Hakone and Hakone-machi on the way). In this case, with the Hakone Free Pass – there is no need to top up additional for the cruise operated by the Hakone Sightseeing Boats company – better than as the ‘pirate ship’ ……

The journey from Togendai to the next point – Hakone-machi took about 30 min. Reached at around 1520 hours ……

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Upon reaching Hakone-machi, found out that the last boat back to Togendai leaves at 1530 hrs!! Furthermore at the pier, there was a notice that the stop-over to Moto-Hakone is skipped due to whatever reasons ….. Duh!

Based on the bus guides that I have gotten from the tourist information centre at Odawara, I can probably take a bus to Moto Hakone from Hakone-machi, and then try to get back to Togendai by bus ….. Navigating the Hakone Bus system is such a challenging task and I have to be mindful to keep to the schedules sorely from Hakone Tozan Bus (covered by the Free Pass) …… Decided to head back to Togendai (safter option I felt at that point in time) and get to the hotel instead, take a rest and try to figure out on the rest of the sights to be covered in due course.

Based on Japan Guide – could have covered by foot and passed by the Checkpoint Museum, Detached Palace Garden and the Ancient Cedar Avenue along the way to Moto-Hakone …… Oh well, now I know why daylight savings and early sunset throws such a spanner into intended itinerary planning ……

So, in that 10 min that I have at the Hakone-machi pier, below are the shots that I managed to capture ……

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From bottom right clockwise – how the cruise/pirate ship looks like …. surroundings around Hakone-machi …. The building on the 3rd picture is the icnonic Hakone Hotel located right at the edge of the lake (imagine looking out to the lake from your room, very nice hotel but had other preferences for this trip :P)  …… and a mock-up of Aladdin on the ship next to the one I was one ……..

On the return journey back …….

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On the bottom right, finally spot a ‘faint’ view of Mount Fuji (which is very heavily snow-capped)! The cloudy skies (based on the top photo)  means that there is no clear view from Lake Ashi (depsite being one of the main viewing spots of Mount Fuji in Hakone) …… The photos on the left taken on the cruise back are actually views of Moto-Hakone. The red landmark you see is the famous Hakone Shrine, a temple along the shores of Lake Ashi ……

That concludes 7/10 of the round course completed for the day! Decided to consolidate the last part of the trip (hotel/ryokan) in Part 4!

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