Passing Gas Beneath Mt. Fuji

Holy Mt. Fuji! We decided to escape the urban madness for a day and retreat to a small touristy village named, Hakone. It’s about an hour outside of Tokyo on the trains and it’s nestled right next to Mt. Fuji on Lake Ashi.

 We got there and made our way to the cable car line. Once we got in the car with about 10-12 Japanese passengers we started our ascent up the mountain. It was an incredibly beautiful scene. One of those moments (and we’ve had many) that a camera simply can’t do justice. Rolling mountains covered with pine trees, cedar, and a spattering of autumn colored maples… and then, farts. Not farts in the literal  sense, of course – though if ever we were to rip one, that surely would have been the most opportune moment – but no one could escape the fact that we were hovering over a volcanic area with live sulfur vents. It looked like something out of a sci-fi film- bubbling holes, yellow stains, steam pockets, desolate landscape, and it smelled like…well, you get the picture.

When we got off the car we made sure to get a couple of snapshots of Mt. Fuji. We were incredibly lucky because she was in full view – apparently a rarity. It was  pretty amazing.

We then followed our noses to the stink bomb that is the sulfur pits and climbed several sets of stairs to the source.  I have to admit, I started to feel a bit sick at one point. The smell intensified with each step and there was a point, right at the center where the sulfur no longer smelled like farts but rather a mix of burnt dog hair and some other choice items. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop us from gobbling down some eggs that were boiled in the volcanic water. A touristy move, yes. But all the Japanese were doing it so we didn’t mind so much. Plus, boiled eggs are delicious.

Afterwards, we took a pirate ship to the other end of the lake, had a beer, and enjoyed the view of the mountains. We hit up a park, public garden, and a shrine or two in between.

For anyone that’s interested, we did all this on a “Hakone Freepass” which basically gets you from Tokyo to, and all around, the Hakone area for two days total. All-in-all, a day trip well worth the money.