Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hairy and Glass (This week's Photo Hunt themes)


On my most recent Japan holiday, I went to Hakone -- a scenic area located approximately 100 kilometers from Tokyo.  I had long thought of going there but had been put off for a time by the knowledge that traveling to and around there would involve getting on and off a large number -- and variety -- of modes of transport.  

But after reading the Frommer's Guide's comment that "Getting to and around Hakone is half the fun!", I decided to bite the bullet and get myself an Odakyu Hakone Freepass (which is actually not free but is convenient and would give me unlimited rides, etc. on seven different types of transport in the Hakone area).

Among the different modes of transport that I took in Hakone that day were a mountain railway (the Hakone Tozan Railway), the Hakone Tozan Cablecar (which actually is more like Hong Kong's Peak Tram than the Ngong Ping 360 cable car) and the Hakone Ropeway -- which, to my mind, is more like a cable car than the Hakone Tozan Cablecar, and whose offered ride I felt had its hairy moments! The longest ropeway in Japan (and second longest in the world, in fact), it offers up many scenic views from its cabins that have ample glass windows to gaze through (but, thankfully as far as I'm concerned, no glass bottom).  

The visual highlight of the Hakone Ropeway's 30 minute long ride (if one were to ride it from one end to the other without stopping in between) for many is also accompanied by strong smells -- specifically of something distinctly sulphuric in nature  This is because in the Owakudani area of Hakone over which it goes, there's not only a large crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago but because the area remains a starkly landscaped active volcanic zone complete with sulfurous fumes coming out of the ground, yellow sulphur streaked soil, and bubbling, boiling pools of water. 

For an added thrill, visitors can get off at the Owakudani stop of the Hakone Ropeway and go walk along the Owakudani Nature Trail, near whose entrance there's a sign (in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean) that warns of possibly hairy moments -- and does help to remind one to not take volcanic matters too lightly and not tarry too long in the area.  But while some individuals (like Puppet Ponyo -- making one more appearance on this blog and an entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts!) can get a tad horrified at staying for as long as we did at Owakudani, I have to say that I really did enjoy my visit there -- and am very glad that I made and had time to stop there for a bit before proceeding along the rest of that day's Hakone journey. :)

19 comments:

Sue St Clair said...

These are great pics and I enjoyed your informative post. :) That first shot looks breathtaking!

ewok1993 said...

I could see what look like smoke coming up from the ground, is that causing the sulfuric smell?

Thanks for the visit.

Vicki said...

Gosh the ropeway looks hairy enough for me. Thank you for telling us about your trip there.

Mar said...

Very interesting as always. Glad there was no glass bottom (can't handle that in heights!). Ponyo is simply adorable.

glass

Hunted my archives as my digital cam died on me this week. Repair is not worth it.

The Indulged Furries said...

Great photos and an unexpected take on the theme "hairy". When I was in Yellowstone National Park the warning signs give you that same feeling of dread that at any moment something volcanic could happen. Our hairy Eddie Bear is a much less menacing subject for this week's hairy theme.

Gattina said...

I was looking for glass mountains, but they seem to be true, lol !

Sreisaat said...

Love your different take on hairy. I wish I was as brave as you and went on to explore Japan solo. Were you? Anyways, yay to traveling dolls. I have one, too :)

Sreisaat Adventures

magiceye said...

Wow! seems thrilling!

Carver said...

That sounds like a fun and yes hairy adventure. I wouldn't have wanted a glass bottom either but good there was glass to look out of.

To answer your question about mine the squirrel was on there a long time. It saw me but couldn't figure out how to get down. It was as it it was afraid to let go and drop off so he climbed this way and that and up and finally down until he got low enough to jump off.

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, wow what an incredible view. It does seem to make that long and varied journey worth it. Kudos to you for going. I enjoyed learning about Hakone.

It was nice to see Puppet Ponyo again. Hope she didn't get bothered too much by the sulphur. :)

Thanks so much for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend.

Annie said...

Wow, what an adventure! Kudos to you for going for it. I hope you had a great time in Japan.

I've been busy and missed a few PhotoHunts but am glad to be back.

Happy weekend!

kitliew said...

Run Ponyo, run! Lava is coming!

peppylady (Dora) said...

Thank you for sharing...Coffee is on.

sbk said...

hi ytsl,

Puppet Ponyo looks a bit out of sorts in the photo. Hehe... I thought it might be from the odors steaming up and out into the surrounding air.

EastCoastLife said...

Wow.... that's quite an adventure making the journey up the volcano. Would love to see more views from the top. Happy weekend!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I'm glad Ponyo made an appearance...
Thanks for playing with us.
Happy Hunting y'all~

YTSL said...

Hi Sue --

Thanks for looking and also reading. :)

Hi ewok1993 --

Yup, the smoke is the source of the sulphuric smells. Think the waters are too. Basically, any opening in the earth around there.

Hi Vicki --

The ropeway was definitely the mode of transport that felt the most hairy to ride that memorable day. :)

Hi Mar --

Thanks for the Ponyo love and oh dear re your digital camera. Hope you find a good -- and non budget destroying! -- replacement.

Hi The Indulged Furries --

Thank goodness for "hairy" having more than one meaning -- otherwise, I'm not sure I'd have managed to combine it with the "glass" theme! :b

Hi Gattina --

Glass mountains? Hmmm... is that a saying in another language literally translated into English perhaps? :O

Hi Sreisaat --

No need to be that brave to visit Japan on one's own. I think it's the safest country in the world -- at least crime-wise! And teehee re your having a traveling doll the way I do with Puppet Ponyo. :)

Hi magiceye --

Exciting -- yes! :)

Hi Carver --

Some of the cabins at Ngong Ping 360 have glass bottoms -- can you believe people actually pay more to ride them? :O

Re the squirrel: hope it realized after a time that you didn't mean any harm to it all -- but were just content to take photos of it in an embarrassing situation! ;D

Hi Trekcapri --

Hope you saw the Hakone Open Air Museum photo-essay too then. And there's going to be at least one more Hakone-themed blog post to come! :)

Re Puppet Ponyo: no lasting effects from her sulphur encounters, thank goodness! :)

Hi Annie --

Had a great time in Japan. I've been three times over the past year. Was given an unlimited visits one year visa -- so made good use of it!

Hi kitliew --

Tsk, tsk, don't frighten Puppet Ponyo now!!! ;b

Hi peppylady --

You're welcome. And coffee sounds good about right now! :)

Hi sbk --

I swear Puppet Ponyo looked to me like she had the "hurry up and come pick me up please" look about her in that photo, don't you think?! ;D

Hi EastCoastLife --

That's about the most top I went there -- Didn't actually go on to its summit. That would have taken some hiking/mountain climbing!! :D

Hi Sandi --

Appreciate the Ponyo appreciation. :)

JDeQ said...

Ponyo looks pretty hairy - perfect for the theme.

Amazing shots as always - it sounds like you had quite an adventure.

YTSL said...

Hi JDeQ --

Hahahaha, you're right -- Ponyo *is* pretty hairy! Funnily enough though, I hadn't thought of Ponyo as fitting the Hairy theme! ;D