Odawara & Hakone

November 3rd 2006

November 3rd is National culture day in Japan. At this national holiday, there are many festivals showing japanese tradition in parades. We went to Hakone to see it...

This was the main act in the parade. People standing on one leg, hopping a bit and then throwing poles synchronously.

Furthermore there was some fanfare, the american army band played and there were some dancing people. It was nice, but not overwhelming like the Genki festival or so.

After the parade had finished, we went further on our trip... that is... we wanted to. We had to wait in a long, long, long,long line for the station, as apparently we were not the only ones with that idea. After asking someone whether we were in the right line for the train we wanted to take, after switching lines and after waiting over an hour we got a train upto Gora, from there took the cable car and the ropeway without any further trouble...

the ropeway gave a nice view over the sulphur fields near Owakudani...

and by the time we arrived, it was almost time to go back, as it was getting dark already. We bought some black eggs that are said to be boiled in one of the sulphur onsen at Owakundani. Only the shell was black and smelled a very little bit like sulphur. They were still warm and tasted good.

Still a bit of time for a few shots to make a panorama, before getting back to our Ryokan in Odawara.

we had a great Japanese style dinner in the Koshimizu Ryokan. I had a nice and long conversation with the woman serving dinner. She could only speak and understand japanese, so it was a bit difficult from time to time, but I managed to get some information about several things that were served, I told her how nice the dishes looked and how good it tasted, we talked about differences between European dishes (where everything is boiled, baked, fried,...) and Japanese dishes (where they just buy things, chop them and put them on several small plates, as she said). The woman was very humble and didn't think much of her dishes, but to us it was a great meal (tasty and very different from what we were used to). I also told her where we had been that day and what the planning for the rest of the vacation was and we talked about the influence of america on japanese and european culture and individualism. All together: great practicing for my Japanese skills!

Like in most places where we stayed, the ryokan had futons on a tatami floor (soft, thin mattress on a traditional japanese floor made of grass mats)

The next day we left for Kyoto by shinkansen