Ryokan, onsen and a baby wishing tree.
The easiest day trips - in my opinion - from Tokyo to view Mt Fuji will either be Kawaguchiko or Hakone. We did the former in 2013 with Zach and Nui and so for our family trip last November, we decided to head to Hakone (the route we took was Tokyo - Hakone - Kyoto - Nagoya).
Outer from Jack Wills
Upon arrival at Hakone-Yumoto Station, we took the bus (you can seek directions from the Tourist Information Centre located at the station) to our ryokan. If you're travelling with a fair amount of luggage, I'd suggest you arrange at the station for your bags to be sent to your guesthouse.
Hakone is an onsen town so there are numerous ryokans for you to choose from and we had booked Hoeiso mainly cause it came highly recommended by a friend and it's easily accessible by the local buses.
The stay was lovely. It felt extremely private being in the mountains and with the open-air onsens and all, but I still think nothing beats my Blue Mermaid ryokan experience in Wabuka.
Food, as with all ryokans (I think?), is always so intricate I could cry.
We spent a long while deliberating if this was chicken or horse meat sashimi cause Garry's brother's friend who's Japanese had told him that "stay near river means served fish sashimi, stay in mountains means mountain animals sashimi".
It was tasty nonetheless.
I also like how the popped wheat puffs were so light and fluffy with no trace of oil!
This was also the trip where Tokyo experienced the first November snowfall in 54 years - pictures brilliantly captured by Zach who was in Japan at the same time with HIS family. (Which effectively means easier planning cause we can share itinerary haha.)
We didn't bother with the Hakone Freepass because we weren't planning to check out most of the attractions - we just wanted to chill (literally lol) in the ryokan, indulge in the onsen baths and visit the Hakone Shrine.
If you have seen similar pictures of this torii gate on the waters of Lake Ashi, you'd know why.
More importantly, this is the shrine of the baby wishing tree that I went to touch.
(I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about the tree but let's just say that I visited the tree in November and I was pregnant by December.)
So fast forward to June 2017, the hubs and I decided to visit Japan again despite me being in my third trimester. We only did Tokyo this time round because I walk really slowly these days but we took a day trip to Hakone for three reasons,
1) To reshoot the torii gate photo with a wider lens.
2) To have my cremia ice cream
Aka the BEST ICE CREAM IN THE WORLD. People say it's also "all over Tokyo" but I only saw it once at a shop in Shibuya (and it was sold out!) so I'm glad I got my fix at this restaurant at Hakone by the lake.
To be specific, two fixes.
Once when we arrived and another to reward myself for surviving this arduous climb...
3) To touch said sacred tree.
Also wished for Junior to be safe and healthy and I can't wait to bring him to Japan...
For more ice cream!