Glamping in Hakone

Autumn is coming to an end now but, as everyone knows, autumn in Japan is beautiful. This year I was crazy busy and didn’t fit in as many leaf viewing adventures as I would have liked but I did manage to find the time to accept an invitation to a weekend away in Hakone, a famously beautiful natural area 100km from Tokyo.

We were a big group, eight Japanese people, two Laotians, one German, one half-Japanese half-British person (hint it’s my boyfriend) and little old me. Seeing as everyone else either was Japanese or spoke it fluently, we spoke in Japanese all weekend which was a challenge for me, but a fun one. Intermediate language learners will know that, while you might be able to sound good one to one, group conversations are THE HARDEST. Luckily when we got drinking everything magically became easier…

Four of us rented a car and drove from our place, blasting cheesy music all the way

road trip Japan autumn

Our glamping campsite! Honestly we could have just stayed there the whole time and soaked in sufficient amounts of Japan autumnal beauty. The huts were basic but nice. They also had radiators. After friends and family, properly heated buildings are #3 on the list of things I miss most from the UK. I’m not joking. You can’t imagine how happy the radiators in our glamping huts made me.

glamping hakone japan autumn

This being Japan, every glamping hut had a built in BBQ and you could order a load of meat at the campsite office. Seeing as we were the drivers we were tasked with going to the shops to buy necessary non dead animal ingredients. When we got back we got set on eating, drinking and making merry!

Japan BBQ Japanese barbecue

Some of us nursing hangovers, the next day we went out for some leisurely walking! A highlight were these beautiful fields of ススキ (Miscanthus sinensis, Japanese pampas grass). 

2017-11-04 14.49.58

Before leaving, we stopped at Hakone’s Little Prince Museum. A tribute to the life and work of  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the museum attempts to transport you to early 20th century France. It fails, in a charming, touching, tenderly Japanese way.

Hakone Little Prince Museum

And then we started the drive back to Tokyo! As my friends are mostly hard-working Japanese salary people instead of awful hipsters like me, it was a short trip but a fun one.


Bar Dio – JoJo themed bar review!

Unpopular opinion: I don’t like Akihabara that much these days. When I first went aged 14 it was exciting but now I’m old and it’s too big, too loud, and too full of sweaty pervs who don’t shower enough.

Luckily there is anotdoor Bar Dioher, slightly less well known, nerd hub for me to frequent. Nakano is a couple of stops from Shinjuku and it’s a great mix of anime otaku culture in the Nakano Broadway shopping complex and traditional style izakaya in the surrounding side streets.

If you go down one of these side streets you will find some stairs and a massive coffin for a door. As a fan of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, of course you don’t ignore this ominous sign and go right in all guns blazing.

Bar Dio is a Jojo風Bar (themed) bar and the level of detail is astounding. I’ve been to some themed bars where the appeal is getting drunk on regular stuff surrounded by some figures which is fine, but Bar Dio goes all out. Every corner of the decor is JoJotastic and every item on the menu has some cleverly appropriate JoJo title. I recommend the chan chan cocktail, it’s creamy and delicious and  its matcha component makes it green for a certain character. We also enjoyed a nigerun dayou and a Rohan Kishibe during our visit, I’ll leave you to imagine what they have in them.

One of the things I liked best about Bar Dio is the clientele. When were there everyone literally talking about Jojo the entire time. It was a mixed crowd in terms of gender and age and everyone was talking about their favourite seasons and characters as well as having lively debates on theories. Once they realised we could speak Japanese and loved Jojo they were happy to include us in their conversations and I felt more out of place for having only watched the anime than for being a foreigner! Music from the anime was playing in the background most of the time and at one point the owner put on an entire episode. Actually the one he chose was pretty pivotal (part 2 episode 20) so be careful if you come here having not watched it all and want to avoid spoilers.

Bar Dio JoJo bar

The owner doesn’t say that much and I thought he had this sort of enigmatic quality about him. Who is this guy?? How did he come to love JoJo SO MUCH?! He seemed to be pleased to have some foreigners who could speak Japanese and asked us questions about Jojo fans in the UK as well as our favourite characters. He let us try on some of the really high quality costume stuff he had around which I don’t think he does for everyone so that was nice of him.


Bar Dio is good just as a bar. The atmosphere is friendly, the food is good and the drinks are excellent. But if you love Jojo this may well feel more like a pilgrimage than a night out, in the best sort of way.

2017-02-03 21.35.56

JoJo Bar Dio
It could be ambiguously interpreted which toilet to go into…