I began my day with a trip to the Hakone Open Air Museum in an attempt to make the most of the sunny days that are definitely few and far between in Japan! It was an amazingly well curated sculpture park with over 120 large scale pieces surrounded by hillsides and mountains which provided a striking contrast to the contemporary works in the park itself. Nestled in the grounds were some beautiful galleries ranging from a pavilion filled with an amazingly vast collection of Picasso’s work to an awesome photography collection depicting artists from across the globe by photographer Kishin Shinoyama. I eventually headed on and grabbed a very windy bus from there down to Hakone’s Lakeside village with hopes to see Mt. Fuji but the sky was definitely pretty cloudy and following a day of ridiculous rain I wasn’t too hopeful! However as I strolled around the lakeside passing casual fishermen and anorak clad tourists Mt. Fuji suddenly came into view and I actually felt kind of emotional! As the adopted national symbol it was pretty crazy to see in real life and such a surprise that I was lucky enough to catch it on a clear enough day! I found a spot in a nearby park with a mountain observation deck to eat my bento box lunch with a perfect view. Eventually my hands were pretty freezing so I decided to get moving to warm up! I found a lovely cobbled cedar tree lined walking trail to follow and took it to a beautiful tea house in the middle of nowhere. There I sampled traditional Japanese Mochi which are like soft squishy balls of rice paste that are toasted slightly for an amazing soft yet crispy texture. I went for Isobe which was savoury soy sauce and seaweed wrapped and then Uguisu which was sweet with a fine dusting of sand coloured soy bean powder. They were amazing and so filling and paired with tonnes of herbal tea so I was thoroughly satisfied!
Eventually I decided to head back to Tokyo before my rail pass ran out that evening and checked into my fourth home in the city. I spent the evening cooking up a huge bowl of veggies (there is just no such thing as veg in Japanese cooking otherwise) and learning Australian slang and playing card games with a group of fellow travellers. Updates to follow!
Photos; Japanese mochi, then a selection of barely there mt fuj shots, the grounds of the hakone art museum!