Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Japanese Room with a View: Active Mountains

Journal Cover Sheet
Room with a View: Misty Morning at Senkyoro
My journal cover sheet was inspired by a beautiful screen at a traditional restaurant at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo. The Japanese characters spell Japan. The flower is in honor of the beautiful gardens, which mostly do not showcase flowers, but rather water, earth, rock, gravel, and gorgeous plants.

We spent two nights at Senkyoro, a traditional inn mentioned in the previous post. I awakened on the first morning to a beautiful view from our living area. The mist was floating in the valley, and the gardens were a mass of shapes, and some fall color.

While at the inn, we decided to venture out with our 3-day bus pass. The mountain towns have an amazing number of buses to take you where you want to go. We took the bus to Gora where we boarded the Hakone Tozan Railway, a unique local transit that does switchbacks in order to descend the steep mountains to the town of Hakone. We also took the funicular up Mount Hakone, but due to two eruptions last summer, we could not continue on cable cars to the top of the mountain. At the lookout, the smell of sulphur was very strong from the active cauldron.

From the train we saw the marvelous Hakone Open Air Museum, so on our way back we stopped and visited it. Gorgeous grounds were home to beautiful sculptures by artists from all over the world. This was definitely the  highlight of the day for Susan and I. Bob would probably more recall the railroad and funicular.

After another amazing Japanese 12-course dinner, we slept soundly. The following morning we reversed our journey to Tokyo where we were to meet up with our small tour group and guide Toshi to visit gardens, shrines, and temples.

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