Transportation in Hakone

Sadly, it's taken me a long time to wrap up my trips to Hakone.  I'm not entirely sure where time has went, but it's going by pretty quickly!  (Not necessarily a bad thing, though.)

My three- and two-year old boys love things that go, so simply riding the transportation systems in Hakone is a fun activity for the kids.  You can easily see Hakone in a nutshell by riding the train, cable car, ropeway, pirate ship, and bus.  I've ridden the systems now in the fall and winter, and I think it's better to visit the area during the fall because of the beautiful, colorful foliage.  (However, everyone seems to want to visit in the fall, so riding the train and cable car during the weekend is not an enjoyable experience—unless you like feeling like a sardine in a can.)  I bet it's beautiful to visit right now, too, with the cherry blossoms in bloom.

While we were walking to Miyanoshita station from Fujiya Hotel, we walked passed this restaurant with a foot onsen.  I still haven't done it, but how cool is it to have something to eat and drink while soaking your sore feet in natural, hot springs water? 

This was the train coming back from Gora station.  Only a few people were trying to ride away from Hakone last fall.

This is how busy the train looks going to Gora station where you can take the cable car to the ropeway to the cruise ship.  We had to wait until the second train arrived because the first one was packed.

CJ and his friend playing with trains on the train.

The train stops at Gora station, where we transfer onto a cable car.  Since we have double strollers, I like to put them next to the door so the kids can look out the window.  (Plus, there's really no other place to put them without the hassle of having to fold and unfold them.)

The cable car's last stop is Sounzan station, which is typically the transfer station for the first of two ropeways to get down to Lake Ashino.  Unfortunately, last February, the ropeway from Sounzan to Owakudani was closed.  We had to take the bus to Owakudani station.  This was probably the hardest part of our trip because all of the boys fell asleep.  What's so hard about sleeping children?  Nothing unless you have to take them out of the stroller, collapse the stroller, and then get the sleepy kids into the bus (at least the attendants helped put the strollers away).  We definitely looked like a circus act.

This, though, is what the ropeway entrance looks like, and I'm happy we got to experience this part of the ride last fall.

Changing of colors.  It's pretty interesting to see lots of green and leafless trees in the same area.

Owakudani Valley, which is a crater formed by a volcanic eruption at Mt. Kamiyama.  

Last fall, our mission was to ride the pirate ship, so we didn't exit the station to see the hot springs.  Last February, though, we hiked to it, which is the the third (middle) window in this photo.

Hello Kitty sighting at Owakudani!

We parked our strollers to the side and pretty much carried the kids up the steps to see the boiling valley.

This is the most adventurous trip we've ever done.  The hiking wouldn't have been so bad if the kids weren't so big now and tired to walk.  We made it, though!  Definitely grabbing a picture of all of us here!

I'm not sure if I'll ever make it back to Owakudani, so I figured I should try the kuro-tamago while we were there.  They're eggs that turned black due to being boiled in the hot springs.  One egg is supposed to increase your life by 7 years, and 2 eggs by 14.  You're not supposed to eat more than 2 1/2 eggs, though!  They sell bags of 5 eggs for ¥500, so you can split them with a friend.

I ate two eggs!  Once peeled, they look and taste like regular eggs.

This is a picture I snapped after our walk back to Owakudani station.

At the station, the kids were able to dress up like conductors and play in a mock gondola.  They had such a great time.

Having a mini amusement park is a good and bad thing.  Good because the kids can run off some energy and have fun.  Bad because it makes you lose track of time.  While we were there, I saw a sign with 1615 on it.  I guessed that it was the last departure time from the station.  It was 1545, and we still hadn't ridden the gondola or ship, so we hauled out of there as fast as we could since we didn't know what the last departure time was for the pirate ship.

The kids loved riding the gondola.  There were a lot of "Ooh's" and "Aah's."

This is how it looks going down towards Ubako station.  I have yet to stop and explore what's at this station.

Finally on our way down to Togendai station.  As we were getting closer to the station, I saw two pirate ships—one was docked and the other was just departing.  I was hoping that we would make it onto the other ship.

It was so sad.  When we arrived at the station, I saw that the last departure time for the cruise ship is 1625, and it was 1630.  We missed it by FIVE minutes.  FIVE minutes!  I felt so terrible since we had talked about riding a pirate ship with the kids (and our friends hadn't had the opportunity to ride it before).  We walked over to the docked ship and took some photos.

Luckily, we rode it last fall.  The kids were so excited that they started running towards the ship.

It feels so weird to be riding a pirate ship that isn't a ride at Disneyland, and it's a really cool experience.

Even though it was windy, the kids had a blast on the deck.

The wind made it pretty chilly outside, so we went down into the cabin.  The kids seemed entertained with everything they could find like the ship's wheel.

CJ playing peek-a-boo.

View from the back of the ship.

Having an "I'm actually living in Japan" moment.

The ship took us to Hakone-machi where we had lunch at a ramen restaurant.  Afterwards, we jumped on a bus to take us to the hotel.  While on the way back, I spied Mt. Fuji!  What a way to end our trip in Hakone!

For more information about transportation in Hakone, visit Hakone Navi.

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