Gora, the bridesmaid to Hakone

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July 11th 2018
Published: July 12th 2018
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We woke up early to a warm, humid day in Gora. We had a lovely shower and an onsen, which was nice and relaxing for stiffening muscles.

We ate our traditional Japanese breakfast and then went out for the day. We wandered around the streets and alleys of Gora. It is a very green and leafy area, though not as expensive or prestigious as Hakone by the lake. We went up to the lookout, via a hotel lift, which ascended diagonally up the hill. It was bizarre to watch through the glass. It was extremely hot in the sun and fans and air-conditioning blew full steam ahead.

We went into stores and tried different specialities and bought a few treats to share. There are so many unusual regional desserts and sweet foods to try here, though it was always disappointing to buy it at a reasonable size, only to remove the box to find a wrapper inside, that was around a plastic container holding the tiny sweet inside... false advertising on the treat size inside. I suppose good things come in small packages. We also had a few different ice-creams, just to make sure we did not miss anything. ?

There are various flowers in bloom here- it is very pretty to wander around, albeit really steep streets. At every corner, a different plant is colourful in foliage or in flower, it is a relaxing environment. Our accommodation was nested in the side of Mount Hakone, but on the opposite side of the mountain to Lake Ashi, where we had both visited previously. Marcus had ventured up near to the top of Mt Hakone yesterday and saw the sulphur crater and the top, though could not see the views over the Lakes. Unfortunately, it was overcast when we were there so I chose not to go up as I knew I would not be able to see Mt Fuji at that point in time.

We wandered down the severe gradient to the bottom of Gora, in and out of shops and down to below the railway line, which we would be catching tomorrow. It seemed to be the locals area below the train line and the tourists’ area above it.

We returned to our ryokan mid to late afternoon for a rest. It was very warm outdoors, so we had a shower and a rest. Our ryokan was interesting. We slept on futons on tatami mats. It was an interesting experience, but gee I miss our bed at home. The vista from our window was very pretty. We could see Mt Myojingatake, and many Japanese maples and hydrangeas. This mountain is often hidden in mist, which makes for a mysterious, but beautiful experience.

We have been binge-watching Vikings, season 5 part 1. We watched the final two episodes. I was very grateful for the lazy afternoon as my legs were gradually starting to tighten from the extremity of yesterday’s mammoth climb.

We enjoyed an onsen in the afternoon and were able to sit in it, immersed in the hot water for a couple of minutes, then got out, more relaxed from the hot water.

Our beautiful hosts prepared another delicious meal. It was like a hot pot in the centre of the table with our own individual portions, not unlike a large bento box. They seemed to treat us as special guests. We received other things that the other guests did not receive. She was a beautiful lady and her husband adorable. They lived next door in a simple house and the guesthouse was above it.

We had a relaxing night, talking and watching The Handmade’s Tale and then went to bed.

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