Japan Chronicles 4 – Bullet Train, Gotenba Kameya, Owakudani Hell Valley
On Day 4 of our Japan trip on May 21, 2013, we checked out from our hotel in Osaka and rode a train to Shin-Osaka to take a shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo. I’m glad that our group survived transferring to different trains despite our number and luggage being dragged around.
Shinkansen is a high speed train that is operated by Japan Railway (JR). If I remember it correctly, there are areas in the train that are reserved and ordinary. What we took is the ordinary trip where we just bought the ticket on the day itself. Though websites say there are food carts going around, I didn’t see any. Maybe they are found in the reserved area.
I love the train! It’s so clean and well-maintained. Apparently, people can live in far regions in Japan and still get to work on time because of their complex transportation system. When I think about all the wonderful systems I see and experience around the world, I wonder what I could give up here in the Philippines to want to settle there. It always is a battle between efficiency and happiness that my culture brings about.
We headed for lunch in Gotenba Kameya which really filled our bellies. I would have wanted to sleep right after because I was on the brink of gluttony but we still had many places to go. I’m glad that I survived tired but happy right after.
There was a mini store and market beside the restaurant that served the take away version of some food they offered. They especially have delicious powder you put on top of your rice/food. I didn’t bother looking at these things in the city because I got what I needed when I was here.
I make time to really appreciate the beauty of nature. Sometimes, we’re so focused on certain things that we miss the bigger picture, that life is good.
Here’s the lunch that I was talking about. I could barely finish the rice with the bento box how else could I have finished the bowl of ramen. Come on, why is life so good? The mini container of veggies had a variety of flavor that made the experience interesting. I may not have liked all but it was memorable to me. Every tiny piece of heaven in this meal was a delight. On top of this I had the powder to bring excitement to my delicious sticky rice.
After a full and heavy lunch and some time for shopping, we headed to Owakudani Hell Valley. Owakudani Hell Valley is a popular tourist destination because of the smoking volcano with sulfuric fumes coming out from the crevasses.
They sell these black eggs cooked from the volcano called Kuro-Tamago. It is a local specialty because it is hard-boiled in the hot spring. The cooking method causes the black color and slight sulfuric scent. It’s supposed to be a tourist experience to buy these eggs but we were too full to eat any. Apparently, eating one of these eggs increases one’s longevity.
That’s the smoking crevasse where people can go to. We just decided to stay in the commercial area and enjoy the weather as we tried various products in the area.
These are nuts cooked in the valley as well.
Our gluttonous lunch wasn’t enough at some point during our waiting time so we tried their green tea ice cream. It was delicious but not my favorite flavor.
Diane and Pia were more adventurous in trying the black ice cream which they said just tasted like normal vanilla ice cream, only that it had coloring. They had black teeth while eating.
If I decide to go back to this place one day, I’ll eat the black ice cream, buy the black nuts, walk to the smoking valley and check out the hot spring. Other than that, I am still satisfied with our experience there. This is a must-see!
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