Monday, 3 October 2011

Sheer Indulgence of "Onsen" on the Tozan Railway

EMU Hakone-tozan 1000 series at Ohiradai Station

Although I just visited Hakone in July (see my July 11th’s blog), I prowled there again to hunt for a superb “onsen”(hot spring). I love Hakone, a winy volcanic mountain resort in the western part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Access from downtown is excellent. Taking Odakyu and Hakone Tozan Railways, it takes only 90min from Shinjuku. This time, I rode a standard commuter train on the Odakyu Line.

The Hakone Tozan Line is substantially divided into two sections at Hakone-yumoto Station. The section east of Hakone-yumoto is an ordinary railway, whose track gauge is 1067mm. Trains of Odakyu Railway directly operate into the line (see the bottom photo). Meanwhile, the section west of Hakone-yumoto is an steep mountain climbing railway whose track gauge is 1435mm. A special train of Hakone Tozan Railway with mountain climbing specifications operates on the line (see the top photo).

After taking Hakone Tozan Railway, I got off the train at Miyanoshita Station and visited the following quiet onsen, surrounded by steep mountains with dark green forests.

There are several reasons why I like hot springs, but a hot spring in the open air is the most charming of them all. Only the voice of the gentle wind and the limpid stream were heard as I soaked in the bath outside. I really appreciated it. Onsen is the heaven specifically for people who are leading a life of hustle and bustle in the city.

EMU Odakyu 1000 series at Hakone-yumoto Station