October 4, 2008


Akiko's parents joined us as we all set out for Hakone. This is an active volcanic mountain that pre-dates Mt. Fuji. The train up the mountain is the second steepest grade in the world and the train had many switchbacks.

Part way up the mountain was the awesome Hakone Open-Air Museum. An excellent assorted collection of modern and contemporary sculptures including Rodin, Henry Moore and a Picasso Pavilion.

From there we took another steep cable car to the Hakone Ropeway.

As you can see, I wasn't kidding about this place as being active. That's sulfur steaming out of the mountainside. And that leads to one Haakone's main attractions, The Black Egg.

They take eggs and put them in the natural, mineral hot spring, sulfur water and hard boil the eggs. A chemical reaction turns the shell black, but doesn't affect the edible egg part. Tasty! (yes, that's Sumo Wrestling on the TV in the background.)
We stayed at a hotel on the mountain so I got to experience a natural hot spring spa. Soaking in the warm mineral rich tubs was definitely soothing.

On the way back the next day we visited the museum where Akiko's Mom volunteers for the geological dept. The Kanagawa Perfectural Museum of Natural History had an impressive collection of rocks, fossils, animals, bugs and more. Very cool stuff.

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