In my part 2 on Hakone, I will share with you some of the memorable Hakone sights that we experienced.
1. The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Ninotaira, Hakone-Town, Kanagawa-Prefecture, 250-0493 Japan
This is a definite must go for anybody that visits Hakone. Why? It’s got an impressive open landscape of art, sculptures including those by Henry Moore and a Picasso Museum.
2. Quest to find the perfect view of Mount Fuji
Y and I were really excited to find a place where we can find a perfect view to take shots of Mount Fuji. R was not very excited as he had to do the driving, and I was making him go on a wild merry go round, referring to my trusted Hakone guide.
We first drove to Lake Ashi, where we could apparently take a ferry and then a cable car to potentially see Mount Fuji. However, the timing took too long and we weren’t very keen.
Next, we referred to the Hakone Guide, and read about Toyo Tires, it’s a famous drive up the mountain that many motorcycle riders take. It felt exciting almost like Initial-D the film. So we drove up for maybe another 45 mins from Lake Ashi. The drive is named Toyo Tires, and it culminated in an actual Toyo Tires building, with a small cafe, viewing deck and some memorabilia on Toyo Tires rides and their motorcycle gear featured in the lobby.
If you are feeling adventurous, the Toyo Tire drive is well worth it. Of course we were also rather lucky we caught Mount Fuji, as we were told, it’s very elusive and it is hard to catch a uncluttered view of it.
On the way to the Venetian Museum from Toyo Tires, we chanced upon this cute shop with an ice cream cone light outside. We were so famished we decided to go in and see what did they serve for food. We had some soba noodles with tempura, soft ice cream, and also bought one of their milk cartons which was too cute to resist- the milk bottle was encased in a styrofoam cut out in the shape of a cow.
3. Hakone Glass no Mori (otherwise known as Venetian Glass Museum)
940-48, Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-shimogun
This features Italian styled buildings – housing a museum and shops, with a large garden surrounding a canal like pond – looks like it is modelled after Venice. The Glass no Mori’s Venetian Glass Museum houses a collection of over 100 pieces of Venetian glassware – such as vases, lamps sculptures. It did feel a bit wierd standing in an Italian looking place in Japan, but it looked lovely especially when the sunset and all the lights were on, it had a really romantic feel to it.
While we drove out of Hakone to Tokyo on our last day, we discovered the town area near the Hakone station has some very interesting eats and local produce, if you want to bring back something.
They seem to be known for their dried grilled fish – like this stall here.
We then chanced upon this fish cake stall – was so delicious! And only 100 yen per stick.
I was then drawn to Cafe Isamiya, as there was this poor lonely panda bear sitting outside, think he was calling out for me, so we decided to go in for some waffles.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~THIS ENDS HAKONE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But I must share this amazing rest stop on the highway we discovered on the way back to Tokyo – EXPASA. It’s an amazing haven of super Japanese eats, supermarket, restaurants. A must go. And in typical Japanese efficiency – they have a wonderful traffic information screen of all the highways’ traffic situation.