Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hakone Ropeway and from the ground views of volcanic Owakudani (Photo-essay)

One of the highlights of my visit to Hakone back in 2012 most definitely was my getting to spend some time walking about Owakudani as well as viewing the active volcanic zone -- that's home to a number of active craters, steam and sulphur vents, and bubbling pools -- from the Hakone Ropeway.  So I couldn't imagine revisiting the area when that section of it was closed off (as was the case from May 2015 -- after a small-scale eruption occured there -- through to July 26th of this year) and am happy to report that much of Owakudani is accessible once more (albeit complete with health warnings and the handing out of medicated towels to breathe into in case one's negatively affected by the sulphuric fumes).    

Looking back, I don't think I did Owakudani and ropeway (which, to my mind, is more of a cable car than the Hakone Tozan Cable Car that's actually a funicular railway) to and out of there sufficient justice.  So here's dedicating a whole photo-essay this time around to them; one cobbled from photos I took not only over two days of my recent visit but also a few of the shots that I took four years ago!

A clear view of the sulphuric Owakudani valley 
from the Hakone Ropeway in 2012

The scenic view from the ground at Owakudani,
again back in 2012

Can you believe how much smokier it was on 
my second visit to the same area four years on?! :O

And it was somewhat chilling to look up at the Tamago Tea Shop and 
that I had visited in 2012 but now are closed off to the public 

This especially when I had seen that area looking 
so much greener and fertile just four years ago

Understandably, I think, the likes of Puppet Ponyo were 
happy enough to stay close to the ropeway station that 
stands at the edge of the super deep and steamy valley!

When we went again to Owakudani the day after,
it all was pretty clear once more!

And yes, that really is Fuji-san peeking out over
Owakudani, as viewed from the Hakone Ropeway! :)

7 comments:

Carver said...

Wonderful shots. What an interesting place to explore.

peppylady (Dora) said...

For me it hard to picture Japan having Mountains. But I know there part of ring of fire.
Coffee is on

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

Thanks, and it is indeed! :)

Hi peppylady --

Would you believe that about 72% of Japan is mountainous? Wikipedia says so! :b

sarah sbk said...

Hi YTSL,

An interesting compare and contrast essay which I thoroughly enjoyed. As you know I have little sense of smell for some things. Were the cloths for covering one's face sented??? I didn't notice.....

YTSL said...

Hi sarah sbk --

Yup, the cloths were indeed scented with something that smelt faintly antiseptic. Did you keep any of the ones you were given? Somehow, I've ended up with three -- and have put them in the drawer designated for medical stuff here in my Hong Kong flat. ;)

Bill said...

Hi YTSL,

This combination of images from two different visits creates a memorable integrated impression of a somewhat elemental setting. Your travel companion, Puppet Ponyo, looks a little uneasy posing near the edge of the volcanic cauldron. I'm sure she felt more comfortable in the ryokan with her travel party.

This photo-essay confirms my impression of Owakudani that I experienced years ago: a setting for a stark drama that could be set in feudal Japan...Or, your photo of the tea shop could be a shack in a Taoist Hermit's kingdom, or in my HK film fanboy's mind - the mountain setting in Master of the Flying Guillotine...Well, in anybody's mind, your photo of the cone of Mount Fuji transcends all.

Bill

YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

Thanks so much for your eloquent words. I don't know if you realize it but I often look forward to reading your lovely comments on my blog posts. :)

Puppet Ponyo was indeed more comfortable at the ryokan than at Owakudani. On the whole, I think she was happier indoors than outdoors on this trip! ;)

Re Mount Fuji: the day before I saw its top most bit, I saw what I like to think of as one of its "shoulders". Even then, the sight was pretty awe-inspiring. When you see Fujisan in real life, you totally understand why the Japanese consider it a holy mountain. It's that beautiful and awesome.