Need backpacker insurance? Save money with this World Nomads Promotional Code!
One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

Day 18: 17th February
Straight out of The Goonies...
The flag of Japan

Hakone, Japan

Today we took a day trip out of Tokyo to the Hakone region, just North of Mt. Fuji. Not that we had any chance of seeing it today at all - Hakone was caked in a heavy mist. To me this reinforced how lucky I was to see Fuji-san so clearly on the second day.

Hakone is a notorious tourist trap - and the most entertaining one I'd been to. I think the people I was with made it. We all had a lot of fun and acted like a bunch of big kids.

The first stage of the tourist conveyor belt was a steep train ride up the central mountain. The area is a dormant volcano, with an outer rim, a lake inside, and a mountain at the centre. At the top the rock was yellow from the sulphur and we walked through clouds of toxic, egg-smelling sulphate gases belched from the rock. A prime time to dispense of any excess wind if there ever was one. There were also hot bubbling volcanic springs - it really did look like another planet (apart from the ever-present vending machines. Japan has about 5 millions of them, and you are rarely more than 5 minutes walk away from salvation through coke,