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
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.