Mount Fuji Lake Ashi Hakone Japan

Japan: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Date: 31 March 2015

The second to last day on Japan soil. I had to make the most of it and accomplish a few more things. Experience a proper, natural outdoor onsen (hot spring), see Mount Fuji from closer up, — and eat sushi at a proper sushi restaurant.

Today I was going to be spending the whole day at Hakone, a popular getaway for Tokyo’s residents. Famous for offering great views of Mount Fuji, many hiking trails, resorts and many natural hot springs.

Yesterday, I bought a Hakone pass off a hostel mate who had purchased a two-day pass but only used the benefits of the pass yesterday. I could make use of the pass to avail buses and local trains within Hakone today. But first I had to get to Hakone from Tokyo station.

Tokyo station Odawara platforms
At Tokyo station, platforms 9 and 10 have trains going to Odawara (Tokaido Line)
Tokaido line Okachimachi eki Japan
I forget exactly which stations I had to get down at and transfer trains, but eventually I had to stick to the Tokaido line to get to Odawara station
View from train to Odawara
It was time leave the urban sights of Tokyo
Shinagawa station platform Japan
I think this was Shinagawa station, the second station I had to switch trains from
Odawara station Japan
It took just over an hour because of all the transfers
Bus depot Odawara station Japan
But from Odawara station, I now had to take a bus to get to the docks at Lake Ashi from where the sightseeing cruise departs
Odawara river stream Japan
You could see right away why city-dwellers come here

Odawara sights from bus Japan
Problem is, there was quite a bit of traffic and the bus was chugging along rather slowly
Cyclist Hakone hill ride Japan
I saw quite a few cyclists riding uphill

I must say though, the roads aren’t very wide. We were riding up and down hills, and the roads are just two lanes, so there isn’t a whole lot of space for cyclists. So ride carefully. I also saw quite a few high-end cars with their roofs down cruising past. The air is clean out here so I can imagine this is the right environment to go for a ride in convertibles.

I was wondering if I made a mistake taking the bus because it was moving at a rather slow pace. Sure, traffic was backed up at a few places but the buses would stop along the way to drop off passengers at various resorts, onsens and other attractions. Anyway, it’s not like I could afford to take a taxi. This bus ride was covered by the pass.

Hakone lake town Japan
I reached the town-like area by the lake where I had to get down
Sightseeing cruise office Lake Ashi Hakone
This is the office for the sightseeing cruise at Lake Ashi
Hakone sightseeing cruise tickets Japan
It costs ¥1000 for a one way ride across the lake, ¥1840 for a return journey. I didn’t have to pay for it as the ride is covered in the Hakone pass as well
Lake Ashi sign Hakone national park
Ashinoko is the full name of the lake
Lake Ashi cruise port Hakone
It was quite windy
Lake Ashi cruise docking port Hakone
There are two boat services that tour the lake. The one that is covered in the Hakone Pass is not this kind of boat.
Pier Lake Ashi Hakone Japan
I waited at the pier for my boat to arrive
Pirate ship sightseeing Lake Ashi tour
And if that looks like a pirate ship… it is
Pirate ship Lake Ashi cruise Japan
Not a sight you see too often these days, eh?
Pirate clown Hakone cruise ship
And yes, that’s a pirate clown
Inside Hakone sightseeing cruise ship
There is seating inside
Hakone sightseeing cruise ship outdoor
But I wanted to take photos
Hakone sightseeing pirate ship deck Japan
So I went to the upper deck, even though there were cold winds
Pirate ship outer deck Hakone
Still, the views are much better from here
Leaving lake ashi pier Hakone
The boat departed
Lake Ashi torii view Hakone
I decided to swap lenses
Torii lake ashi trek hakone Japan
The torii is part of Hakone Shrine inside the forest

Lake Ashi island Hakone Japan

Mount Fuji Lake Ashi Hakone Japan
But the main attraction is of course, Fuji-yama!
Mount Fuji peak from Lake Ashi
Fortunately, it was a clear day and I got an unobstructed view of Mount Fuji’s peak
Lake Ashi trees Hakone hills
Lots of trees all around
Lake Ashi forest Hakone Japan
After days of city life, it was refreshing to see Japan’s countryside again
Pirate ship lake ashi Hakone Japan
Pirate ships… in Japan. He he.
Hakone hills ropeway Japan
Hakone also has a famous cable car (ropeway is the preferred word here)
Pirate ship Hakone sightseeing tour
We were at the end of our ride
Pirate boats Hakone cruise tours
We disembarked our pirate ship and set foot on land

The cruise across Lake Ashi barely takes 20 minutes. It’s still an enjoyable cruise as the sights all around are pleasant. Next up, I would take the ropeway up to a resort from where I would soak myself in an onsen while enjoying a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. That’s the next post!

Next post in this series:

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji — and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport — and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and exploring Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku — views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo — and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

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  • M


    Hi Mithun,

    Just want to tell you that you have done an amazing job with your Japan blog. I am a fellow Indian, about to visit Japan in 1 week for 21 days. I know exactly what are things I should be aiming to do. Cheers


    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Glad my blog posts helped 🙂 I’ll be publishing a post on travel tips for Japan soon!

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