Discovering Hakone – Lake Ashinoko Cruise & Hakone Shrine

Since we hadn’t accomplished much the previous day, we were determined to see something in Hakone before heading to Tokyo for the final leg of our trip.

We got a bit confused because there are two companies operating boats on the lake: the official Hakone sightseeing cruise and another company that wasn’t advertised anywhere (but we could see the boats on the lake!).

We boarded the official Sightseeing Cruise, a fake pirate boat that takes passengers to the 3 ports around the lake.

Clouds shrouded the lake and I wouldn’t have been surprised had a pirate suddenly jumped out to attack me!

According to the signs, the boat ride was due to last 30 minutes, but it was more like 20. I suspect they try to make the cruise look more substantial than it actually is.

Once we got off the boat, it started drizzling as we made our way to the Hakone Jinja Shrine.

The Shrine was built in 757, originally at the summit of a nearby mount and was relocated to the shores of the lake in 1667. The legend says it was built in honor of a monk who pacified the 9 headed dragon who lived in Lake Ashinoko.

The Torii gate of this shrine stands in the waters of the lake and is visible from the boat. It’s very popular with tourists as it is a typical representation of Japan.

We had planned on hiking up Mount Byobu to get a view of Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Shrine and Mount fuji all together, but we knew the clouds made that impossible.

So we got on the bus to Tokyo, hoping to see more nifty things in the capital city of Japan.

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