20 May 2014
Our Hakone expedition only lasted a day, but that is all the trip was meant to be (at least for us). It was great to see Mt Fuji, actually, the only time we ever saw Mt Fuji, check out the lucky black eggs, and get accustomed to Japan transit. We were off to Katahara Onsen. Val had found the locale, which was a little out of the way, but what is travel unless you leave the beaten path? Well, Katahara was WAY out of the way, and didn’t have the fireflies or the hydrangea festival we had planned on attending, still a little too early in the season.
Hakone Expedition Continued
We left the campground in the pursuit of a bath and cleaning clothes. Little did we know that the trip would require more then crossing a Lake Ashi on a ferry, bus travel to Shinkansen, then 3 local trains to get to the middle of nowhere.
We had thought Katahara Onsen was a hotel, which we had read about. We soon found out that it was WAY out of the WAY and an AREA. We did get to ride on a Shinkansen, then a local train, and then a VERY local train that was very cute and RED. It was old, red, and only had 4 or 5 compartments. Once in Katahara Onsen we found that not many hotels were open since this isn’t their busy season. In the next two weeks the hydrangeas will bloom, which is how we found out about this place. The hydrangeas and fireflies, mom’s never seen one). A local man took pity on us and drove us in his personal vehicle to one (which ended up with no vacancies) and then another that charged a lot of money. I almost feel like he raised the prices because we couldn’t argue, plus we were in the middle of no where, but it is 10 tatami mats. He charged 6,000 yen PER person. Mom wasn’t too sure, but what were we going to do? Camp and then find somewhere else tomorrow? I just bit the bullet and spent the $120 to wash clothes, shower, shave, & soak in the onsen.
I did learn my first full Japanese sentence, which was VERY helpful: “Katahara Onsen wa doko dess ka?” Saying: “where is Katahara Onsen?” 🙂 I also tried asking where we could purchase some cooking fuel, but that wasn’t very helpful, since they couldn’t tell us where.
We did see our first gas stations today and out here in the middle of nowhere ( well the Japanese version). We are becoming more of a novelty.
Ashlynn tried catching the Shinkansen train on video as it passed by our station at full speed ___.____. It was like 2 seconds….and…you FAIL! I laughed so very hard. And she said she was glad she made me laugh! We will try again another day. The Shinkansen is an upper-class all sit down in assigned seats. Good thing it’s free with our Rail Pass or we wouldn’t be on it!
It is now raining and that is making us feel better about the cost of our room. The room is littered with clothes hanging on line, hangers & chair as we sit at our floor table on the tatami mats. Ashlynn cooked vegi’s, noodles and some dried sausage for dinner and we picked up on bento with 5 fried maple rice pieces, this is one of our favorites at this time – cost only $2,50 out here in the middle of nowhere! All batteries got charged also…so that was nice.