The Hakone Mountains and Lake Ashi

August 14, 2018

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks” — John Muir. The Hayakawa family took me to the Hakone mountains, and we walked along Lake Ashi to view the scenery. Lake Ashi is bustling with avid fishermen catching cod, cyclists doing their morning exercise, retired elders enjoying a nice walk, and tourists admiring the beautiful lake. At Lake Ashi, there are many tourist locations to visit, so we decided to visit a secluded Buddhist temple, the Hakone shrine water gate, and a famous bakery.

We first visited the bakery. This is Yukari’s favorite bakery because it has a really famous curry bread. The bread is baked and filled with a rich creamy curry sauce, which is then topped with Rice Krispy-like flakes to enhance the overall bread’s crispy surface. This was the most delicious bread I had ever tasted in my life. We enjoyed this revolutionary bread with a relaxing and fantastic view. Outside, the bakery had seats that overlooked the lake and even included a stream of flowing water where visitors could place their feet to relax. This whole experience was very relaxing. At 10:00 am with 9 hours of sleep under my belt, the whole experience was putting me to sleep. Nevertheless, we continued and walked up to the Buddhist temple.

The Buddhist temple was very serene and in touch with nature. Before we entered the temple, we cleansed ourselves at a water station. During the medieval era, people would wash both of their hands and mouth as this was a way of dispersing any evil they had on their body. I misinterpreted the way people washed their mouth. Apparently, the water was supposed to only wash the surface of one’s mouth, never actually putting the water in your mouth. I accidentally swished the sacred water in my mouth and spit it out. Nevertheless, Yukari said it was okay, and we moved on to the shrine.

The Hakone shrine was a beauty. This was very popular among tourists and locals alike. It was so popular it took 30 minutes to even take a photo under the shrine. When we finally were able to walk through the shrine, we could see the perfect view of Lake Ashi. This definitely capped off my visit to Hakone.

This place was breathtaking. I hope that one day I can revisit this spectacle.