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Hakone 箱根

You might not know this place but look at the picture below and you will get a spark!

[Image: 5200_01.jpg]

I came out of the train station, dragging my luggage.

I look around and decided to get help from the tourist information.

I walk inside from the small open door.

Two people stand behind a service counter greet me with a bright smile.

"Speak English?" I asked.

"OH... NO NO No...", both of them apologies. Clearly, they are both surprised that I speak English!

No problem at all. I took out my pen and write two characters on my train ticket.


They looked relieved... now, they can help me.

I followed the map and dragged my luggage up the hill.

The air was cool and crisp... the bird chirping... running water in the river sounds so calm...

I'm in Japan.

Before I reached my hotel, I saw a lady wearing kimono coming out from its main door.

She bow and usher us into the hall.

I saw a signboard that says hot spring “温泉”。(Yes, Hakone is famous for hot spring).

I ask her how much? (of course, I write because she don't speak English too.)

I wrote “料金

She wrote "无料

This is how I travel...

If I can make it, so can you!

(28-09-2013, 10:57 PM)chialc Wrote: [ -> ]She wrote "无料

AFAIK, they don't use the simplified Chinese characters for their Kanji. Should be,

Further, Tourist Information counters run by JNTO usually have English speakers and maps. There're also hotlines to call for assistance, if you're unable to go to these counters. It's actually quite easy to do Free-and-Easy hols in Japan. Cool

Further, with Google Maps to "recce" ahead (using Street View) and Internet (either Skype or online), you can also book ahead. Most budget type accomodations usually caters to foreigners (eg. Backpackers) and can speak English. Usually, they also have free WiFi.

PS. I have the same photo but not as clear as it was getting late. In fact, I was told you need to be lucky to even see Mt Fuji... The town where it was taken is actually quite ulu...
not all places have information counters with english speakers, having iphone with internet to access google map for japan is very helpful in getting around. It helps if you or someone in your party can understand chinese characters, just take note not all trains on the same platform will go to the same destination it is important to read the electronic info display on the platform which very often display in japanese with some chinese characters which can help you figure out.

As what kopikat says if you want local guide there are volunteers who can do it meet you and bring you to places that you want to go but bear in mind all cost including food fuel tickets for rides or admissions are borne by your party including for the volunteer who is bringing you around.

For eating out, most of the japanese fast food eateries and restaurants in the cities these days are manned by PRC, if you cannot understand the menu can try your luck speak mandarin to them 8 out of 10 time you will meet PRC then can order in mandarin.

Buying food from supermarkets is another way to go, prices will drop by the hour after lunchtime until late the best time to buy is around 8:30pm by then nearly 35-40% discount. The hotel where I stayed previously quite fortunately had a supermarket, I always "bio" 8:30pm clean out all the fried snacks for supper Tongue
Excellent tips from both SGD and KOPIKAT. I'm still learning.

I'm sure many people will benefits from your tips.

Looking forward to more posts from you....

Hi Guys, If you're going to Tokyo, remember Hakone... direct bullet train from Shinjuku (<2 hrs)

[Image: draft_lens18490169module153148090photo_1...e_ship.jpg]

Here is another of my story:

I'm walking on a main street, searching for lunch.

I stand in front of a small restaurant with curtains which acts like a door.

I survey the look-alike display of the noodles and rice outside the store.


Ok, this one looks great and its only Y 2000.

Let me take a closer look at the characters and make sure that I remember them. You see, I need to be very careful because some of the food has similar spelling (to me).

OK, I'm ready... as I recite the spelling one last time in my head.

As I walk through the curtains, I heard many people shouting... greeting me...I mean.

The chef who is standing on a elevated counter on my left pointed a seat in front of him.

I oblige.

A waiter hand me a menu and serve me hot tea.

I take a few moment to get familiar with the menu.
As expected, no picture, only Japanese characters (dancing around).

I activate my 'pattern matching' skills and quickly located my lunch.

The rest, I'll leave it to your imagination.


Having lunch could be a intense experience and to all young students, Dictation 默写 do has it's purposes.

(29-09-2013, 01:19 AM)sgd Wrote: [ -> ]Buying food from supermarkets is another way to go, prices will drop by the hour after lunchtime until late the best time to buy is around 8:30pm by then nearly 35-40% discount. The hotel where I stayed previously quite fortunately had a supermarket, I always "bio" 8:30pm clean out all the fried snacks for supper Tongue

Yeah! I did that too!

Can I ask, does anyone have any concerns about the radiation after the Tsunami?
Quote:If you're going to Tokyo, remember Hakone... direct bullet train from Shinjuku (<2 hrs)

Travelling by Shinkansen is the fastest and easiest means of Rail Transport but also the most expensive. For those who're planning to do that, it may be cheaper to buy a JR Rail Pass in Singapore first (Pay 1st and collect in Japan, triggered on the day of collection). Comes in different no. of days eg. 7-days and for different region. For such a case, it'd also be better to plan your itinery ahead so as to maximise the usage of the Rail Pass.

Quote:Ok, this one looks great and its only Y 2000.

For Lunch, I'd usually budget for < Y1000. Reason is, it need not be very elaborate and time consuming as the time can be better maximised for exploring the sights. In fact, you can get quite a good lunch for Y500 - Y800 in most places. Even cheaper would be those so-called 中華料理 (Chinese Food) joints, but over here, we eat as Japanese Food ie. Rice or Noodles or at Burger joints (McDonalds or MOS Burger) or their Japanese Fast Food eg. Yoshinoya (Used to be Beef w/ Rice but nowadays, have other meat), or Curry House (Japanese curry has lots of curry spice but is not chilli hot). Sometimes, I may just get something eg. Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls wrapped in seaweed) from their Convenience shops (like 7-11) or Bento boxes and just have a kind of picnic lunch at the scenic spots.

For Dinner, yes, I like to end the day with a good and more elaborate meal. Usually, I'd be back in the city area and with so much competition around, you can easily shop for those with good value for money eg. All you can eat + Free flow of drinks / beer at an additional flat price charge. Budget Y1500 - Y3000 depending on the food.
The high speed train to Hakone is called Romance Car(non-JR). It is much faster than normal rapid train but if you wish to save some money, rapid train by Odakyu Railways(non JR) is also quite fast.
I think JR pass does not cover the private railways.

There are many different kind of rail passes available in Japan Airports and Major train station like Ueno and Shinjuku. Unless you are covering cross regions like Kansai, Kanto, Kyushu, it is probably cheaper to buy regional pass to tour around the region.

Japan is pretty big and I seldom see the need to cover different regions in one trip. Tokyo or Osaka alone are like a combination of multiple small cities with lots of interesting sightseeing locations.
(29-09-2013, 03:17 PM)KopiKat Wrote: [ -> ]How to travel between Hakone and Tokyo

Yes! Hakone Free Pass is mandatory! Otherwise, don't waste your time going there.

[Image: 89fea7eb0ef816952f1a62ed86dcb61b.jpg]
(picture courtesy from google)

***** Cheap Food *****
I walk pass a venting machine inside a subway station.

There are a few people standing around a coffee table??? (I don't know how you call this type of round table about chest height. Its for you to put plates of snacks and then people just stand around these type of table. what do you called that? may be cocktail table?)

Anyway, a few people standing around these tables and after closer inspection, they are eating noodles... hot noodles.

I look at the vending machine again and realized that it's selling noodles.... really cheap, many choices with < Y 400. (as usual, I can not read the words).

I put in my money and no noodle come out.

Instead, a small piece of paper come out.

I took it to a small counter on the left of the machine and was served with a bowl of noodles... Japanese noodles of course. (with real authentic Japanese fish cake :-)

************* more cheap food ***********
There is no picture or display set but clearly this is a local favorite restaurant.
It's crowded inside.
I sit down and look at the menu on the table.

I'm not able to read the menu and also no pictures.

I look at the menu again and decided to pick a cheaper option... about Y 400 or 450 range.


When the food was served, it's Japanese curry rice (yes, non-spicy type).
And, yes, you are right, it's 100% Japanese rice topped up with curry sauce... nothing else. no meat, no vegetable and no chicken... nothing.

I look around and saw a few types of pickles on the table. Red, green and yellow color one.

I tell you and you don't believed me.

This is one of the best dishes that I had in Japan... merely Y 400.

天天快乐. Blush
All food in eateries or restaurants comes with free ice water or ice tea.

The beef bowl at Yoshinoya costs only 280 yen with free ice water/tea. The yoshinoya in Japan is different from Singapore's and they serve pretty good food.
Actually, it is not only the price and serving portion(normally bigger than Singapore), the quality of food is much higher than Singapore.
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