Thursday, November 27, 2014

day 1. HAKONE

Kent started his paternity leave (another air force bonus!) last week and my parents came to Japan to visit!  It was a stupendous week.  

we did SO MUCH in the 7 days my parents were here!! 

this post is only DAY 1 of my parents' visit and I've got 40+ pictures!!  

We drove up into a volcano for a couple of days and had so much fun!  the fall weather and colors were perfect.  We stayed in the fuji-hakon-izu national park at an authentic Japanese Ryokan hotel and ate at hole in the wall authentic japanese restaurants.

Hakone is an active volcanic area in the region of Mt. Fuji.  Japan - especially this area-is well known for their onsens.  An Onsen is a public bath- sometimes man made and sometimes completely natural.  The Japanese love their onsens.  They make me terribly nervous :)   Kent thinks they are relaxing.  I don't like hot water or being naked in public so they aren't really my thing.

We checked into our hotel and walked down to Lake Ashi- which is actually a caldera from an exploded volcano!  pretty cool, huh?  

At the caldera- we caught a ropeway car and went up onto an active volcano!!  
Japan never ceases to amaze me.  there is so much to do.and it's always stunning.

check out the views from our ropeway car!  it was unreal.
up at the top- the volcano is spurting out lots of hot water and stinky sulfur gas!  and the mountainside is pretty barren besides a few plants adapted to live in the extreme conditions.

we also found WASABI ice cream on top!  here's my mom trying to convince the kiddos it's really tasty.
it was absolutely horrendous.  one of the worst things I've ever tasted.  cold ice cream with a hot flavor.  SO SO nasty.
Although metta took a couple of licks before she decided she didn't like it.  She's so weird.
we hiked up the volcano further to get the lucky 'black eggs' to lengthen our lives by 7 years!  they are boiled in the volcano water and turn black because of the sulfur!

we bought a bagful and ate them all!

the boys loved peeling them- but not eating them!

this sign about the 'kuro-tamago' (black egg) kills me.  I LOVE their translations.  
it really was pretty stinky up there!

here's a fresh batch of black eggs.  they were really hot!  
photo op with the black egg hello kitty!

 it was a really fun experience!  definitely worth the trip up!

we took the ropeway car back down the volcano into the giant caldera lake Ashi and rode a pirate ship around it!

how cool is that?!?

the views were all perfect.  
 tori gates in the water!

when we got off- metta begged to get back on.  thumbs up from her!!

 I'm never afraid of heights or water until I'm around them with my kiddos!  and then I keep imagining them plummeting overboard.

 mack was a champ all day.  just hung out and slept.
 after the pirate ship we found the last open place to eat in all of hakone!  apparently everywhere closes at 5:00!?   luckily we found the most delicious place.  kent and my mom had terrible sashimi.  blegh.

but my dad and I had delicious curry with katsu pork.  definitely one of my favorite japanese foods!

our hotel was within walking distance of all of these places!  after dinner we walked back and checked out our japanese sleeping arrangements!
we had japanese robes to wear! and ate on the floor!
this place was the real deal!  we slept on futon mats! 
AND the hotel had it's OWN onsen!  eek.  Kent really wanted to go.  I was hesitant.  and then it turns out that our room got a private 40 minute session in the outdoor sulfur hot spring onsen! and my parents were there to watch our kiddos!

so- kent and I went!  I think it's the only way I'll do the whole onsen thing.

here's a picure of our bath.  It was really cold out that night and perfect to soak in the hot spring.

I love japanese posters!
here I am before getting in.  I was a little nervous.

and after.
this was their public bath upstairs.  You have to sit naked on the little stools and scrub your body thoroughly before you can bathe!

the next morning - continental breakfast was included!  it was CRAZY.  japanese breakfasts are so so different from anything americans would eat!  I actually got a little nauseous! and food never makes me nauseous!

 I don't even know what more than half of it was!

luckily- the japanese vending machines came to the rescue!  I got hot chocolate!  the vending machines have hot and cold drinks!

the vending machines are EVERYwhere.  this one had french fries and other fried items.  so weird.

 lots more to come!!

No comments: