Day 5: October 26th 2008 Sunday
Dinner at Hakone
Feeling a bit tired, we slept little bit late. While getting ready, Miki noticed the checkout time had already passed. As we went to the front desk, I told the receptionist we are sorry for being late. Not sure if she wanted to skip the hassle with a foreigner, or why, but she didn't charge us for being late for checkout. Our schedule was to go to Hakone for the night. As most of my luggage was in Chofu, and I was planning to go out around Japan on my own directly from Hakone, I needed to make quick stop at Chofu to organize my stuff for the coming week outside Tokyo. After that, we took train to Tokyo main station, where we switched to a bullet train heading to Hakone direction.
Hakone is, as I understood, somewhat famous town to go relax at hot springs. It's about 1 hour from Tokyo, and has lot of ryokans with baths. As we slept a bit late, we arrived there around 2pm. After checking in at the ryokan, we went out to head to some shrine, which Miki told is worth visiting. However, the front desk clerk told that as it was already quite late, it would be closed by the time we'd get there. This was a bit unfortunate, so instead we just went out for a walk around Hakone. In Tokyo, there was some foreigners here and there, but Hakone had lot of tourists. Clearly more targeted for people on vacation, compared to Tokyo. The scenery in Hakone was quite nice. On clear day, you were supposed to be able to see Mt. Fuji, but no such luck for us. It was quite cloudy, and we were lucky it wasn't raining. We stopped at a small water fall, and a small shrine. Then we went through the Hakone down town, stopped for coffee, and bought few cans of Umeshu.
Back at the ryokan, it was about dinner time. As Miki informed the staff we were ready to eat, a woman clad in kimono started pouring in the food. There seemed to be no end to the food, it was really fabulous dinner. I had no idea on most of the food, but I wrote some of them down. There was tuna, hamachi, shrimp, scallop, tempura, ichijiku (translates as "fig tree", no idea), mozuku, tororo, kobo and hanpen. It was great, even though I didn't know what I was eating. Not all of them tasted that good, but still, it was the most interesting dinner I've ever had.
After dinner, we went upstairs, as there was some sort of game room. As we found out, it consisted of different pachinko and slot games. I tried to stop the wheel in slot, but having drunk few cans of umeshu, I wasn't at my best accuracy. After a while, we returned back to the room to sleep.