Archive for April, 2006

Going to Hakone to see Mt. Fuji

We went to a beautiful place around Tokyo called Hakone. It took about 2 hours to reach there by train. We took the One-day Hakone pass. With this we could take any means of transport, any number of times, in that region for that day.
After train, we winded up the hill in a bus. Then we walked through a cedar avenue to reach the lake Ashi. We got into a ‘pirate ship’ in the lake. We could see dwarf volcanic hills around the lake, mostly with flat top. Unluckily the weather was gloomy and due to poor visibility we could not see Mt. Fuji.
Hakone is a very popular place for sight seeing around Mt. Fuji. But it was quite a pity that we dint see Mt. Fuji even though we knew it was right in front. But anyway the place was nice and we saw remarkable things.
We took a long rope-way to a hill. We reached Owakudani. It had natural volcanic hot spring. We could smell sulphur and see white fumes all around. There were boiling fuming pools. They were selling eggs boiled in the hot springs. It eggs were Black from outside, but tasted quite normal.
We came down the hill in a so-called cable car (but it was actually a train sloping down the hill). We were thinking of taking a bath in one of the hot spring in our way back. Public baths in hot springs are popular attraction in Japan – though you have to go in naked with other people
But unfortunately, we did not find any on our way back and returned back safely in train.

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The Panda at Ueno

There is also a zoological park at Ueno. Its a zoo with the main attraction – Panda.
Its not a big zoo. Nothing much special. However, must be enjoyable for kids. A lot of cute japanese kids coming there.  There was a long queue to see the Panda. There was just one white and black Panda. It was in kept in a small room covered by glass. Everyone was taking pictures of the panda, flasing their camera on the poor creature. Poor Panda – he kept on hiding his face with both hands. Though it was an attraction for many people, I felt pity for the Panda. I think he doesnt feel good in there.
There is one red panda also. The penguins were worth watching. And other few animals worth watching were polar beer, hippo, giraffee and gorilla.

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Winter is finishing in Japan and Spring has come. We can see cherry blossoms on trees now – few days back the trees were just bare branches. Cherry blossom is called Sakura in Japan. It indicates the arrival of spring.
We went to the Ueno park to see Sakura. It is the most popular place in Tokyo to see Sakura. It was very beautiful. Pinkish white blooms covering the trees. Both sides of the avenue lines up by sakura. Japanese say "sughoi" (means great!) – sughoi sakura. Japanese were taking close of pictures of the blooms.
There were lots of Japanese coming to see Sakura. Many people making picnic there.  We had been in japan in exactly the wrong season – winter. We felt lucky enough to see the Sakura.

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