After the insanity of Tokyo, I really needed a break. So, on the advice of a teenage stranger at a sushi bar, I bought a 3-day pass to Hakone. And what a break it is. A mountain town, there’s almost nothing to do here. No madness, no crowds, and certainly no stress. Just groups of old ladies in hats, taking a midweek break from the city.
But there is a pirate ship.
This is what everyone does in Hakone: climb on a rickety train that runs up the delightful mountain. Switch to a cable-car, which carries you further up the mountain.
Now switch to a bubble ski-lift, which carries you over the top of the mountain.
…where a gargantuan Pirate Ship meets you. Yep, a Pirate Ship. An incredible, cheesy, terrible plastic reconstruction of a pirate ship, loaded with a booty of retirees and awed schoolchildren. “Sailing” across Lake Ashi, with this photo-snap-happy group, it was some of the most fun I’ve had in Japan.
Hakone: the perfect salve for a post-Tokyo decope.