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Sulphur pool Owakudani Hakone Japan

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

Date: 31 March 2015

After a very relaxing bath at the Hotel Green Plaza onsen, I moved on to my next stop — the host springs of Ōwakudani. But these hot springs are not safe to soak yourself in due to high sulphur content.

Lake Ashi from Hakone ropeway
Lake Ashi, from the ropeway
Hakone ropeway Owakudani station
Ōwakudani station was the very next stop
Owakudani mountain Hakone Japan
This was the view from the ropeway station
Owakudani sulfur wells Hakone
There is a lot of volcanic activity deep underground
Steam production well Owakudani Hakone
But they are making the most of it
Owakudani trekking trail Hakone
This was a hiking trail
Owakudani hiking trail Hakone mountain
But I did not venture far as I saw no one trekking… plus I had no time for trekking
Owakudani natural hot springs Hakone
So I walked towards the hot springs
Qwakudani mountain height Hakone
1050 metres above sea level
Owakudani sulphur warnings Hakone
The sulfur content is too high so there were signs asking people not to touch the water
Owakudani hot springs Hakone
Before walking towards the sulphur springs, I went inside the building housing the restaurants and souvenir shops
Black egg Owakudani Hakone Japan
I was curious to find out the significance of this black egg was
Black eggs Owakudani Hakone
Inside, you can buy eggs. You take the egg and boil it in the sulphur-rich water and the shell turns black it seems.
Owakudani sulphur hot springs Hakone
You could feel the heat as you got near to the sulphur pools… and you could smell it too!
Sulphur pool Owakudani Hakone Japan
Sulphur-rich water was murky and bubbling hot
Mount Fuji viewing point Japan
The other reason why Owakudani is a popular draw is for the viewpoint
Mount Fuji from Owakudani Japan
A view of Mount Fuji being the main draw, of course
Planes flying over Mount Fuji peak Japan
I swapped lenses to catch these two airplanes flying over Mt. Fuji
Man photographing Mt. Fuji Japan
Unfortunately, from this distance, you can’t really get a good photo of yourself with Fuji-yama in the background especially with clouds in the way

One thing I have experienced time and time again on my travels is that, when fellow tourists see me with a DSLR, they assume that I’m better at them at photography and ask me to take their photos using their cameras. I oblige sometimes but the problem is, when one reacts positively and compliments me for taking a good photo, then other tourists hear that and approach me with the same request. This went on for a while here. Continue reading “Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji — and last night in Tokyo” »

Big cherry blossom tree Rikugien garden

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Date: 30th March 2015

The last time I tried to visit Rikugien garden, I was too late. They weren’t allowing anymore people to queue up. This time I arrived earlier, got off at Komagome Station and rushed towards the entrance. Luckily, the lines were still open.

Line to get inside Rikugien Tokyo
But the line was long — both in front of me and behind me
Sakura tree at night Tokyo city
In the mean time, I had a sakura tree across the road to look at

It took me nearly 20 minutes to get inside. There was an entry fee of 300 yen but I was happy to finally get in this time.

Rikugien garden sakura Tokyo
These are the dates for the special viewing of the famous ‘Weeping Sakura Tree’
Inside Rikugien garden at night Tokyo
It was pitch dark with only a few lights illuminating a few trees
Trees at night Rikugien Tokyo
I had my tripod with me

Rikugi-en means “Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry” — which comes from the idea of the six elements in waka poetry, while ‘en’ (as in gyuen) means garden. Continue reading “Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree” »

Little girl on shoulder Ueno park

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Date: 30th March 2015

After I visited Akihabara for the second time, I then decided to head to Ueno Park. I had been there a few days ago, but I was disappointed to see that the cherry blossom trees weren’t fully in bloom. I worried I wouldn’t see it fully bloomed before leaving Japan.

Ueno park pathway Japan
At first glance, I assumed things hadn’t improved
Sakura trees Ueno park Tokyo
But as I walked closer, I could see some trees certainly had more flowers this time around
Ueno park shrine evening sun Tokyo
The evening sunlight was quite nice so I went up to the shrine to take some photos
Funny tree shape Ueno park
I wonder if they wrapped this tree’s trunks so that it stays in this shape
Ueno park in the evening
I love the sunlight between 4PM-6 PM, it’s great for photography
Sakura in full bloom Ueno park
As I walked further, the trees here were much bigger and thicker in cherry blossom flowers

Continue reading “Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park” »

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