From Hakone Tozan railway; all photos HHW.
Day after the opening, I leave Yokohama together with my Swedish colleague Cecilia Lindborg. We’re off for Hakone – a vulcanic highland area, not far from Mount Fuji and wellknown for its beauty and its hot springs. The pitch of the railway leading up from the coast is so steep that tunnels and bridges aren’t sufficient to bring us there. The train zigzags its way up; three times the driver has to walk along the set of cars to change direction. At last we reach the terminus and find our way to the ryokan – the inn.
Our reserved room has not a number, but a name: Bright Star. A low table with two cushions to sit on; two sleeping mats with thick, warm, light blankets; a kimono, a coat and a pair of slippers each. Beyond the paper wall, a waxing moon is climbing over the valley. After dinner, the onsen bath is waiting for us – hot and sulphuric. Then, a cup of green tea, some sweets and a chat before bedtime.