Be happy. Smile
Hakone is, yes, a crowded spot. Where in Japan is not crowded? Still it has an intriguing appeal to the visitor. Expectations are usually meet if you do not ask for too much. In this trip, nevertheless, I had learnt about the lack of discipline in my family. Gone are the days when
I said "smile!" and every one did it in a perfect sincrony. It took several shots to get every one smiling...
I am glad that -at home no one follows orders like cows. Looking forward to seeing my kids performance in life... Be together.
Blaming others for own faults. Not in Japan
I am asked or almost on daily basis about how is like to live in Japan? "Two extremes!" I 've been told, regarding my "Latin culture" and the Japanese ways.
Well , it is not that different if you pay attention to the details and forget a little bit about the many times digested predjuices you could have about Far East and "Latin Culture". But there is, indeed, a big difference in how the regular Japanese citizen tackles certain problems. In case of failure or accident, the Japanese would never automatically blaim others to save face and responsability. Perhaps, very innocently, it will make an introspective analysis of his/her faults and will come up with a more balanced view. If it has to accept a degree of responability, or the whole responsability, it will.
I have learned a lot in this in 20 years, but I do recognize that I still get very upset when I have to deal with western people that automatically blaim others, and happily call name others, when failure and/or accidents occurred because their own faults.
At the entrance to any Shinto shrine, worshippers pass under a torii gate. The torii symbolizes a perch for the mythical birds that announced the dawn and called out the sun goddess Amaterasu. Passing under the torii cleanses the mind of the worshiper prior to prayer. The largest torii is at Nikko at the entrance to the Tokugawa shrine. Other giant toriis are in Kyoto and Kamakura. This torii lies on the shore of lovely Lake Hakone
Take a BACKPACK for A DAY TRIP TO HAKONE/MT. Fuji
You need a handy backpack, something not heavy but big enough to keep your coat/jacket as the trip to Hakone/Mt. Fuji will have all sorts of weather especially in spring. We were there mid-April and it was overcast and rainy at one point, then sunny and hot after a few hours. Then it was cold again during our pirate boat ride.
Many people were caught out with thin clothing and were shivering during the boat trip. They had to stay in the cabins most of the time and missed out on some good views around the lake!
The backpack is also good for taking small snacks like pastries, bread, cookies, etc. as lunch is not till 1:30 pm and the trip starts around 9 am. If you got picked up much earlier than that then it will be a while before having a real meal again.
The bags we took were also useful for souvenirs as we opted to take the speed train back to Tokyo. Of course good walking shoes are always best in trips outdoors. Though there was the sky gondola ride and boat rip, you still have o do a lot of walking especially around the Visitor's Centre at Hakone as it has a huge reserve/park and lots of ground to cover. It is a good idea to pack a small first aid kit for small accidents l- band-aid, little ointment/disinfectant, etc. Cameras - digital or not are a must Out door gear is highly recommended- especially wind breakers as it could be windy during the cruise and the trek to the mountain/Valley of Hell.
Layering is the standard here for clothing- meaning you just remove a layer of clothing depending on the prevailign weather, then add a jacket or coat one the climate gets colder again.
Take also scarves and beanies for your family. The Gray Line Company is the main organiser of the Hakone/Mt. Fuji day tours. Other companies also use them aside from the hotels in case you book through your hotel. You pay them directly. The hotel only rings them for you.
Pampas Grass Plain
As you take the bus up from Moto Hakone to Ashiniko, you'll pass by a hillock of pampas grass.
The trek to the peak can be muddy and discouraging, but standing in the midst of the windy plains with swaying, yellow grass as tall as yourself is an experience in itself.