Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Hakone is under 60 miles from where I was staying in Tokyo, so I tried to take the subway there. This was maddening and everything went wrong and it took all day, but the last leg of the trip was via the tiny red mountain train, and that made everything better. Everything was fresh air and fall colors and waterfalls. The train used little switchbacks, when we would roll up onto a dead end, and back out. It was tiny and charming and slow and cold. 
I'd learned to pay for the cheapest ticket and settle the difference at the add fare machine instead of trying to figure it out in advance, since I kept getting off early or switching over to another train provider early or late. At the Hakone staton, Chukoku no mori, this slightly backfired as there was no add fare machine and it was open access. It was alarming, feeling too stupid for the honor system.
 I walked around a little bit, being charmed, before I went to the museum that brought me to Hakone.

 The hakone outdoor museum was stellar. Usually I like to find unusual angles for photos but this setting was so balanced and lovely that anywhere you pointed the camera would be lovely.
For example, this irrigation.
 This was the jewel of everything, 6 or so stories of a double spiral staircase (one staircase for up, one for down) inside a stained glass window. I took hundreds of photos in here; it was an incredible space.
 Here I am at the top.
 The Hakone Open Air Museum had a long foot bath next to the cafe. It wasn't very hot, but I was charmed by the regularly spaced shoehorns. Honestly I should get one so I can step into my shoes instead of jamming my feet in and then unfolding the squashed down back.

 This was for washcloths to go with the foot bath. As far as I know, I used the honor system just fine in this instance.

 This was my favorite part of my trip. It was so restorative. There are all sorts of things I would still like to see, like the lake and the glass forest.

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