Hakone Gardens

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November 21st 2014
Published: November 21st 2014
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Today we decided to explore Hakone below our cable-car stop. The distance between the cable-car stops is only about 250m but the slope is very steep and justifies the cable-car. Many of the streets are paved with concrete with deep grooves, both for traction on the slope and to shed water. Although there are few footpaths and roads are very narrow many people still walk on them. When a bus or truck comes you scramble to the side as best as you can.

In what passes as the main street of Gora we noticed a multi story facade of cladding, with construction sounds coming from behind it. Intrigued we turned into the side street and discovered it was hiding a demolition site. In this area it seems to be important that everything looks pleasing.

We spent the best part of a day taking in the beauty of a large Japanese garden. This was part formal garden and part botanic garden but followed the whole Japanese design concept for gardens. Although this area gets snow in winter a number of hot houses had collections of tropical plants, many in flower. A tea house offered a tea ceremony, set in a reconstruction of a classic house of an earlier era.

Typical of the style the garden appeared to be much bigger than it actually was. A number of buildings offered hands on craft experiences from bead making to glass blowing. There were many beautiful glass items for sale but they were much too fragile to consider carrying them on our travels.

Again our luck held and we scored a lunch time table with a view.

When we eventually stepped out of the gardens Joan went to put on her sunglasses and realised that they were missing. Where could they be? We decided to retrace our steps in the garden, but to do that we had to re-enter, which meant trying to communicate with a non-english speaking gate keeper to explain what we were doing. Our hand signals must have worked as she waved us through. Within a short time Greg had found them, sitting on a bench in a craft shop where somebody had obviously placed them. Phew!

Back home we trudged, up the steep streets.

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