On a long weekend in October, my mom and I decided to get away to Hakone, where we spend a relaxing days before heading to Tokyo to meet my dad and brother.
Hakone is a prefecture just a thirty minute train ride outside of Tokyo. After arriving at the train station, we drove through winding roads until we reached a point much deeper and higher in the mountains.
Hakone is known for its hot springs or "onsen" in Japanese. They are mineral-rich volcanic waters that do wonders for the mind and body. My mom and I enjoyed an incredibly restful few days there, drinking green tea between onsen, visiting Lake Ashi, and eating delicious food (soba is the Hakone specialty). I felt incredibly at peace, and for once, time seemed to move at a manageable pace.
We then made our way back down the mountain, hopped on a train and found ourselves in the ever intriguing Tokyo.
This was my second visit, and proved my theory that you always have to visit somewhere at least twice. The first time I visited, there was just too much to do and to much to eat, but this time, I allowed myself more flexibility and kept my feet on the ground.
I absolutely lost my mind visiting the Pokemon Mega Center at Sunshine City. I enjoyed the best sushi in the world at a location I'm going to keep secret, and the most amazing fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza at a Pizza Bar, courtesy of a half-Japanese, half-Italian chef (sorry to break it to you, but it definitely beats Dominoes).
I really enjoyed my visit and highly recommend the Hakone-Tokyo pairing if you get the chance to visit.