Greetings from Tokyo, Japan! I arrived in Tokyo last week and it's been a blast as usual. If you weren't aware, I'm originally from Tokyo and my entire family still lives here. To celebrate my little brother graduating college, I decided to come back for some quality time with my family.
As fun as Tokyo is, my parents planned two trips within Japan while I visited - Hakone and Kyoto. I'm sure everyone recognizes Kyoto but most likely not Hakone. Hakone is a small town about an hour southwest of Tokyo by express train (a little slower than a bullet train) and is largely known for their 'onsen' hot spring resorts.
Due to its close proximity to Tokyo and the Japanese' love for baths, it's a popular tourist destination. I remember growing up, I would go on a weekend trip with my Grandparents and family to relax at Japanese Inns, eat great food and - you guessed it - bathe!
While Hakone does offer other tourist attractions such as the Hakone Open Air Museum, the Hakone Ropeway, the Owakudani Geysers, most travelers visit to relax and bathe....which is exactly what we did!
|The Mikawaya Ryokan|
The outdoor hot-spring bath was amazing. The cool, fresh air and the hot water filling up the wooden tub. Hot spring water is known to increase metabolism, boosts blood circulation, reduces pain and a whole lot of other benefits! The most noticeable thing though, is that your skin becomes smooth like a baby's bum! I feel like I'm saying this over and over but really, it's the most relaxing thing ever.
|My little brother not wanting to wake up from the comfortable futon!|
Generally, most Hakone ryokans include dinner and breakfast at their restaurant. Ours was a 9 course dinner full of beyond delicious Japanese food; from sashimi to steak, house-made tofu to honey-boiled peaches - truly pleasing to the eye too!
For breakfast, it was the same, beautifully presented food. I think of it as a different form of a spa experience. Your body is treated well externally through the hot-springs and internally by fresh, tasty cuisine.
After a couple nights of rejuvenation to the body and quality time spent with family, we had one thing left to do before heading back home to Tokyo. We walked around the Hakone station where most of the souvenir shops are. There, you can purchase bentos (lunch) for your train ride and some souvenirs.
|Adorable little town of Hakone|
|The typical souvenir shopping scene at the Hakone station|
|Chicken rice bowl for the train ride back into Tokyo|
|The express train back to Tokyo|
Next stop: Kyoto, Japan
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