It was just an overnight trip, so we didn't need to bring a ton of stuff, but still we had a bit more luggage than usual. My new Ostrich pannier bags were put into good use.
Kao was quite excited about the trip as this was our first real vacation in a while. Now that Summer is over, the weather is much more comfortable and is just about perfect for a long rides on a bike.
It took us I think about two and a half hours to get to Odawara. We were quite hungry when we got there, so we ate lunch near the Odawara train station and looked around a bit. Odawara is quite a big city compared with Chigasaki or Oiso and it's a very Japanese city as there is the Odawara Castle, so it's somewhat tourist-y with lots of shops catering to visitors. After walking around the station area looking at mostly delicious looking foods and sweets, we rode over to the Odawara Castle. These iconic Japanese castles were all built within a period of half a century during the era just before the Edo period if I remember correctly. Not all of them still exist today and of ones that still do, many are ones that have been re-built after they were destroyed in earthquakes and fires. I believe the Odawara castle has been re-built. It stands wide and not as smart looking as some other castles, but when we went inside it was very roomy and it went up much higher than I expected.
Here's a view from the top of the the castle.
Another view with Hakone which is where we'll be heading.
From Odawara to Hakone Yumoto, it was surprisingly close. Here I am (I didn't even notice when Kao took this) looking at directions to get to our ryokan (inn).
It was exactly there that I made a wrong turn. If we had kept on going straight, it would have been just a gradual climb to our destination, but it looked like an easier route on the map to turn there. Unfortunately for us, that route turned out to be a series of pretty steep climbs followed by a very steep downhill to get to the ryokan, so we ended up doing more climbing than we needed.
But we made it and we were ready to rest and relax.
Our room at the ryokan. That's just by the window and there's a lot more to it. There was probably enough room to sleep 6-8 people.
The river just outside the window looked like this.
We took a bath (hot spring water) and then changed into Yukata (light kimono) and went for a stroll around the area.
It got dark pretty quickly and it was time to go back for dinner.
Lovely, isn't it?
Mmmmm! It was all so good after a day of bike riding (and sight seeing). There was even more than what's shown in these pictures, but we were too busy enjoying the food to take pictures of everything.
More dinner? No, this is breakfast actually.
We took full advantage of the rare opportunity to indulge not just in eating, but we also took another bath after dinner and then one more before breakfast. As you may know, the Japanese love taking baths, but onsen(hot springs) baths are special as the onsen water is rich in mineral with various health benefits. For example, a bath of regular water does warm the body and is good for blood circulation, but after this onsen bath we were very warm for many hours, much longer than usual. A stay at an onsen ryokan may not be super fancy, but for me, it's a perfect luxurious experience. You get to take as many hot springs baths as you like and then they bring you delicious food right to your room. After dinner, they even set the futon for you and you can just relax and fall asleep if you want. When you wake up, they clear the futon and bring you breakfast. What's not to like about that? Of course it costs a little more than a stay at a simple hotel, but when you consider all the extra things you get, it's not all that expensive. For us, it's not something we can afford too often, but it's really worth it on special occasions.
After checking out of the ryokan, we rode around the area for some more sight seeing.
There was this really old path of cobblestones which I think may have been a part of the foot path from Tokyo to Osaka.
Then we went and checked out a couple more places like the Tamadare waterfalls,
and the Zeniarai Benten shrine,
then headed back to Odawara.
We went to the fishing port in Odawara and went to the Fish market restaurant.
It was indeed as delicious as it looked.
Yes, it was well worth the trip, thought Kao.
"smoking is bad for you!" said the Octopus.
After all that fun, it was time to ride again. And we rode somewhat more slowly for a good 3 hours. Took some shots of the Surly on the Chigasaki beach front almost near home for good measure. The bikes rode great. Thanks bikes. We had a lot of fun and are looking forward to the next adventure with you.