Transportation Celebration Vacation

August 17

It occurred to me at some point in the late afternoon that our family trip to Hakone was as much about experiencing as many different forms of transportation in one day as it was about sightseeing in the famed tourist trap itself. In fact, the balance of our day was spent going down and up a funicular, up and down a cable car, across a lake on a ferry disguised as a gaudy pirate ship, walking, riding a city bus, back on a ferry, only to finish with a ride on a charter bus. It was the charter that was the ultimate giveaway. It only took us fifteen minutes to get from the ferry terminal to Sounzan Station where we started the day. Of course the view from the cable car was more panoramic, but all told, the day was more about travelling as many different ways as possible than it was about actually doing anything at the destination.Gora Park Tea Houses
I exaggerate to an extent. There was a nice stroll around Gora Park, the children in our group enjoyed an exhibit of stag beetles and the like, and the tea house section of the park evoked a feeling of the atmosphere at Shisendo. Between ferry rides, most of our group went to an aquarium while I joined my wife on a hike down a historic section of the Tokaido road known as the Hakone Kyukaido.
Hakone Kyukaido
We traversed a stone paved section of the old highway that had been lost to history until it was uncovered a few decades ago. In less than an hour, we arrived at an authentic rest station, Amazake Chaya, and enjoyed green tea and sweets while sitting on a red cloth covered bench in an experience right out of a Zatoichi movie. Of course a modern road runs by it today, allowing for a quick return by bus, but for a brief hour when we were the only two on the path save a single couple we encountered along the way, we were immersed in history and a sense that we had travelled back to another time.

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Hakone Amazake Chaya