Harry KurniawanIntan’s husband who lives in Indonesia, he took some time off for his first visit to Japan. He is particularly looking forward to eating Japanese food and going on the Lake Ashi Sightseeing Cruise, which he read about ahead of time on the Internet.
Intan Novia Fatma NandaIntan has been studying in Japan, at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, since September 2015. This is her first time traveling since coming to live in japan, so she is very excited about this Hakone trip.
The Odakyu Romancecar is a comfortable and easy way to get from Shinjuku to Hakone. In roughly 85 minutes from Tokyo (Shinjuku), Intan and Harry arrived at Hakone-Yumoto Station, the beginning of their Hakone trip. Beverages and snacks are available for purchase in the car as well. When Mount Fuji appeared on the right side after about 50 minutes of traveling, it was greeted with a round of applause from both Intan and Harry. They had an excellent start to their trip, remarking “Since the windows were so big, the scenic views from the car were spectacular!”
The Romancecar VSE (Type 50000) was used for this trip. Harry was so impressed he exclaimed “It’s so cool!”. They even took a souvenir photo.
The interior of the Romancecar is fully equipped with Wi-fi. The service uses an application format and supports languages including English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean, and Thai. It is also linked to the “Hakone Navi” information site, so information on traveling in Hakone can be obtained easily.
This is a box of the “Hakone Hachirigoe” baked sweets that are for sale in the Romancecar. You can enjoy two types, with flavorful chestnut paste and sweet potato paste inside.
The Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Shinjuku Station can provide information on travel along the railway routes and assist with ticket purchases.
On this trip, Intan and Harry used the Hakone Freepass. The Freepass for adults with departure from Shinjuku is 5,140 yen (valid for 2 days) or 5,640 yen (valid for 3 days), and can be used for round trips on the Odakyu Line as well as for unlimited use of major transportation in Hakone*. The more you travel in Hakone, the more you save.
*Use of the Romancecar requires a separate express ticket (Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto: 890 yen).
By using the Baggage Service at Hakone-Yumoto Station, your baggage will be taken to the hotel you will be staying at, letting you start sightseeing with your hands free right away. Depending on the size of the baggage, this service is available for 800 to 1,100 yen.
Hakone Baggage Service
Hakone Yuryo is a hot spring facility specially catering to travelers on one-day trips, with a theme of providing hospitality in the form of both hot baths and food. The facility contains private rooms where families can enjoy comfortable bathing, as well as large communal baths, and also includes a restaurant that uses local ingredients, so guests can relax as they desire. The private rooms in particular let people not accustomed to communal baths freely and casually enjoy the hot spring to their heart’s content.
“We were able to pray quietly and peacefully in the private room. The traditional Japanese atmosphere is just wonderful.” said Harry.
The Free Shuttle Bus travels between Hakone Yuryo and the Hakone-Yumoto Station roundabout in about 3 minutes.
For lunch at “Irorisaryo Hachiri” in the facility, Intan and Harry ordered the shichirin (charcoal brazier) aburi 3-item set (dried red sea bream, deep-fried tofu baked and coated with miso, and vegetables) with rice and miso soup. “Aburi” is a traditional Japanese cooking method where food is roasted and only small amounts of salt and seasonings are added. Its charm is that it allows the true flavors of the ingredients to be enjoyed directly. The foods to be roasted can be confirmed in advance, so this can be considered a type of Japanese cuisine that Muslims can enjoy with little concern.
Intan commented “The yuzu-kosho seasoning tastes like Indonesian green sambal sauce!”. It seems like she has found a taste to her liking.
At Iroirisaryo Hachiri, English-language menus are available. Even though the menu items are clearly described, it is also recommended to simply point to their photos to order.
The hourly fee for private room use ranges from 3,900 to 5,900 yen per room. Reservations can be made in advance by e-mail.
The charge for the large communal baths is 1,400 yen per person. *Half price for children under 12.
Business hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (weekdays), 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (weekends and holidays) *There may be irregular holidays taken.
“Yosegi” (marquetry) craftwork involves cutting various kinds of wood into small pieces, and then putting them together to form a pattern or shape. Expert craftsmen can create incredible patterns using paper-thin pieces or complex curved shapes. There are many different variations on what can be made, including plates, cases, cups, and trophies, and visitors can buy them as gifts to take home. The yosegi work of Hakone is particularly famous, and among these workers, Kanazashi Woodcraft is well-known for offering hands-on workshops.
Intan and Harry try making coasters in the workshop. The cost is 800 yen, and there are manuals available in English describing how to make them.
Participants are free to use 40 of the provided triangular or diamond-shaped pieces to make any shape they wish. Imagination is the key!
“I really enjoyed making Japanese crafts using natural materials, and was able to make a great gift. It was an amazing experience!” Both Intan and Harry were overjoyed.
Business hours: 9:30 to 16:30 (workshop registration accepted until 15:00)
Telephone: 0460-85-8477 *Workshop reservations only accepted by telephone
Access: Short distance after getting off at the Hakone Tozan Bus “Hatajuku” stop
This is a hotel built on land owned by a financial family group and used as a villa over 100 years ago, which offers sweeping views of Lake Ashi from its rooms. Various kinds of food are available for dinner, but it is definitely recommended to try the Japanese cuisine. The dishes, prepared with masterful skill using seasonal ingredients, will be sure to leave you with fond memories.
Muslim-oriented dinners exclude pork and seasonings that contain alcohol, but menu items as similar as possible to standard Japanese food are served whenever possible.
“We were charmed by the colorful and beautiful food. Japanese cuisine is a work of art!” reflects Intan, as pleased as can be with her dinner.
Harry was especially delighted with the osuimono clear soup: “When I lifted the lid off the bowl, I was mesmerized by the wonderful aroma that rose from it”.
Since osuimono is a soup with a base of Japanese dashi stock that draws out the umami and flavor of fish and konbu (seaweed), it can be enjoyed by Muslims with no hesitation.
Address: 80 Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: Free Shuttle Bus from the Hakone Tozan Bus “Moto-Hakone-ko” stop
Hotel reservations can be made over the Internet from the Odakyu Travel website (http://www.odakyu-travel.co.jp/eng/). When making reservations, Muslim-friendly dinners can be ordered.
*Please make reservations one week in advance.
This is a shrine along the historic highway extending from Tokyo to Kyoto where many people passing by have gathered for religious visits since long ago. It also has a torii gate in Lake Ashi, which has become a landmark of Hakone since it can be seen from many different places.
After passing under a torii gate, a stone stairway stretches off into the distance. Harry enjoyed the atmosphere here, stating “This is a sightseeing spot surrounded by Japan’s history.”
The traditional architectural styles of Japan can be observed at temples and shrines. Intan took many photographs of them while pointing out “The red pillars and reliefs on the buildings were very impressive”.
Address: 80-1 Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 10-minute walk from the Hakone Tozan Bus “Moto-Hakone-ko” stop / 3-minute walk from Hotel de Yama
One of the features of Narukawa Art Museum is the magnificent view that can be seen from its Panorama Lounge. After entering the museum, if you proceed to the Panorama Lounge in front, you will be able to see Lake Ashi and the torii gate of Hakone-jinja Shrine below you. It was unfortunately raining on this day, but if the weather is clear Mount Fuji can be seen beyond Lake Ashi.
The museum’s collection consists almost exclusively of Japanese-style paintings. In particular, there are many paintings gathered here with themes of scenery or plants from around Hakone.
Intan gave her impression: “The titles were written in English, so I was able to easily find out about the subjects that each artist used”.
Harry explained “There were many pictures of scenery and plants, so I could really get a feel of the seasons and the olden days of Japan.” From his Muslim viewpoint, these seemed to be relaxing subjects to look at.
Japanese-style paintings are created with pigments made from powdered minerals that use glue as a binder. You can see their unique finish, not found in other types of paintings.
Admission: 1,300 yen for adults
Business hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (no closed days)
Address: 570 Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 10-minute walk from the Hakone Tozan Bus “Moto-Hakone-ko” stop
Intan and Harry visited “Hotoriya”, newly opened at Hakone-machi Pier. This is a multi-purpose facility that opened in January 2016, which includes eating and drinking establishments and gift shops. The architectural concept of the building is a “honjin”, a kind of headquarters for samurai to rest during their long journeys. While it has been made to be modern and refined, it is also a place where you can feel the atmosphere of historic Japan.
From the café on the 2nd floor, sightseeing cruise ships can be seen traveling across Lake Ashi with Mount Fuji in the background.
5 shops are lined up on the 1st floor. “Hakone Hyakuwa”, located furthest to the back, has many kinds of gifts for sale.
“NIHON ICHIBAN” is a specialty shop managed by Nikola, who is of German nationality. The shop sells a wide range of items including traditional crafts, designer goods incorporating Japanese styles, and tea.
Address: 161-1 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: Short distance from the Hakone Tozan Bus “Hakone-machi-ko” stop
Both Intan and Harry were very curious about the boat on Lake Ashi that they could see from Hotel de Yama and Hakone-jinja Shrine. It’s actually an operating pirate ship!
This is a pirate ship sightseeing cruise that started operation in 1964. Traveling between sightseeing locations with major bus stops like Togendai Pier which connects to the Hakone Ropeway, Hakone-machi Pier, and Moto-Hakone Pier, it is very convenient to use. Looking out from the ship you can see unique and special scenic views as well, so taking a ride is highly recommended.
For an additional charge, passengers can use special first class cabin seats with excellent views, that are perfect for quiet relaxation.
Intan and Harry took a souvenir photo with the luxurious throne in the special cabin of “Royal II”, a red pirate ship that is the latest model.
Harry was especially thrilled. “Very good! 5 stars!” he exclaimed as he strolled all over inside the ship during the 40-minute ride.
On the cruise, it’s easy to find special scenic views of Hakone. How about taking a souvenir photo from the deck?
Fare: 360 yen for adults from Hakone-machi Port to Moto-Hakone Port; 1,000 yen for adults from Hakone-machi Port or Moto-Hakone Port to Togendai Port. The special first class cabin is 150 yen from Hakone-machi Port to Moto-Hakone Port, and 500 yen from Hakone-machi Port or Moto-Hakone Port to Togendai Port. Passengers can embark and disembark freely if using the Hakone Freepass.
*May be cancelled on days with strong wind.
Access: Hakone Tozan Bus stops are located at all ports.
“Daruma Ryoriten”, in Odawara’s urban district, is a restaurant with a long history that was established in 1893. The building it is located in, constructed in 1926, has been designated as a registered tangible cultural property. With its design style extending to the smallest details, it is a place where you can experience history and art just by entering.
It serves Japanese cuisine including sashimi, sushi, and tempura with extravagant use of fresh seafood caught locally in Sagami Bay.
Sushi and tempura are well-suited to the Muslim diet. By removing the mirin (a seasoning that uses alcohol) from tempura dipping sauce and replacing it with salt, it can be made the same as dishes that Japanese people usually eat. It is recommended to make reservations one day in advance for preparations.
Address: 2-1-30 Honcho, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access: 10-minute walk from Odakyu JR “Odawara Station”
Reservations can be made over the Internet from the Odakyu Travel website (http://www.odakyu-travel.co.jp/eng/). When making reservations, Muslim-friendly dinners can be ordered.
*Please make reservations one week in advance. (If reservations are not made, ingredients using alcohol (mirin) will be included in items such as tempura dipping sauce, osuimono clear soup, and miso soup.)
It was a very enjoyable trip, with almost nothing that was made more difficult because we are Muslims. I definitely give the sightseeing cruise 5 stars! I’ve never been on anything that was so much fun before - the ride was comfortable and the view was spectacular. The Odakyu Romancecar was also incredibly fast, quiet, and clean. I was so excited when I saw Mount Fuji! I hope I can come again sometime while my wife is still attending school in Japan.
I’ve been living in Japan for several months now, but never knew that there was such magnificent scenery to see outside of the city! Next I want to invite my friends and family over and go traveling together. I’m still a little nervous about transferring on buses and trains, but I’ll give it my best.
The yosegi craftwork was especially memorable for me. Also, the rooms and dinners at the hotels were excellent, and I was moved by how beautiful Japan truly is.