Hakone -> Kamakura -> Yokohama

February 18, 2007 - Yokohama, Japan

After Monkey Park, we returned to Kofu. We visited Erinji, a local temple and Kaisen onsen, but the theme for us here in Kofu is friends and food. Terry and I are really enjoying the food here. We agreed to skimp on accommodations and transportation if necessary, but not food, as it is so much a part of the culture. We ate my favorite ramen, tantanmen, which is a spicy ramen at Gaki Daisho a Japanese ramen shop. We ate at another favorite place, Akiyoshi, which serves yakitori and kushiage. Kushiage is meat or vegetables skewered and deep fried. And of’course we went to Noya, a small country-style restaurant walking distance from my old apartment. I have known the owner Mari and many of the regular patrons for seven years now. Mari refers to herself as my ‘Japanese mother’.

The following day we left for Hakone. Hakone is a very touristy hot spring town at the base of Mt. Fuji. Our day in Hakone was spent like true backpackers. During breakfast we chatted with the other travelers. Two travelers were on the German sculpting team from the Sapporo Snow Festival. They said this year’s condition were terrible and they had parts of their sculpture collapse due to the warm weather. We stashed away in our packs extra rolls, cheese and chocolate from breakfast. We spent the day making a circle around Hakone carrying our packs everywhere, leaving them in lockers when possible. We skipped lunch and snacked instead. Later, we left Hakone and arrived in Kamakura around 7pm without any reservations and still found a place to stay. Terry is a real trooper carrying her heavy pack. We are constantly talking about which things we can possibly leave behind or ship back to the States to shave off a few more oz.

We are taking the long way back to Tokyo to meet my friend Glenn. After Hakone, we stopped in Kamakura for the day. Kamakura is like a little Kyoto and was the capital of Japan at some point. There are lots of temple, shrines, and small restaurants. Then we continued on to Yokohama for the night.

[Terry] Kaisen onsen was awesome. We got there around 6:30 pm and left at 10:30 pm! It is hard to explain how one can stay in the bath house for that long but time flies... especially when you take a nap. Men and Women go to a separate baths to soak in, then you get to meet up in a lounge area wearing rather embarrassing pink pajamies that were provided. Men get to wear baby blue ones. The lounge area has a TV, magazines to read and blankets on the tatami matts for your naps.

We spent a full day in Hakone checking out the open air museum then on to a trolly, a cable car, followed by a boat ride to get a better look at the Mount Fuji. Mark said this place was very touristy but worth seeing it once through. I felt bad since Mark has seen it at least once and he tries to avoid very touristy areas. We stayed at Moto-Hakone Guest House; very similar to a Japanese style rooms we had previously stayed at and loved, but... (see photo).

Took us 4 different trains to get to Kamakura. Mark found a youth hostel and we both thought it was going to be a dormitory style, but we were pleasantly surprised with a Japanese style room with bunk beds. We had okonomiyaki for dinner; I think it was the best one I had so far. Okonomiyaki is like a pancake with meat and veggies. Of course Mark and I talked about how we should have a dinner party once we get back since we could easily make this at home. I couldn’t eat very much since I had an upset stomach all day. Too much overeating plus the 5 cups of free instant coffee at the Hakone youth hostel probably did not help. The upset stomach plus the sore shoulders from the backpack really makes you rethink about the bare minimum one could live on. I thought I had packed as light as possible but...any sense of vanity goes out the window. Mark and I even talked about how many underwears we really really need :)

BTW, we have added our first video! Click on the video tab to watch.


Erinji temple
Kendo suit
‘Japanese business hotel shower’
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