Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu! Our First Birthday on the Road

My birthday weekend in Japan was definitely a unique experience. It’s safe to say that it probably will not be duplicated for the rest of my life (unless I fly back in to Tokyo, of course). We got the entire group of seven together and headed out of the city to the tourist town of Hakone, Japan. Now when I say tourist, I mean local tourist, not international tourist. This place is where many residents of Tokyo come visit to escape their 12 million or so city-dweller neighbors. Our method of transportation was none other than the Shinkansen Express- also known as the Bullet Train.

The fastest train in the world

A quick hour on the Bullet Train and we were in the sleepy little town of Hakone. Unfortunately for us,  the weather didn’t want to agree on making it a nice weekend. After visiting a few different shrines and temples in the area, cold rain came down and did it’s best to soak all of us. A bus ride took us to the vicinity of our hotel, where we had another 15 minutes of walking before we finally arrived. Drenched from the pouring rain, we all hit up the hot springs at the hotel and let the warm water soak away all the stresses from a long, transportation-filled day.

The next day we visited the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun “Hotspring Amusement Park & Spa”, which the best way I can describe it as a water park that is mostly made up of themed hot tubs. There were over 50 different types of hot tubs to try out, and, although we didn’t check it out- had a “Undress Zone” where you could go into the different hot springs stark naked. The springs were peculiarly themed to look like coffee, red wine, and even beer.

The massive hot spring water park.

Checking things out from underwater

Yep, hanging out in a hot spring that smells and looks like coffee!

But the highlight of the day had to go to the waterslide setup on the other side of the park. Despite the weather being in the upper 40s, the hot spring water slide heated you right up after the cold run up to the top. And the place was practically empty when we visited, so no lines! I think Dana and I might have gone on it over 20 times.

Hot springs water slide-- definitely the big winner of the day

After a full day acting like kids, we took a bus and a couple trains back to our residence in Tokyo. I was lucky to have Dan and Ai make me a fantastic sushi birthday dinner and they even opened the bottle of champagne that they received as a wedding present. Other than the weather being a little nicer, it was a great birthday weekend and I couldn’t have asked for more!

Birthday sushi dinner -- definitely will miss this food after we move on!

Our gracious hosts Dan and Ai even shared their champagne with us

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One Response to Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu! Our First Birthday on the Road

  1. Lizzie Jone- Best Neighbor In The World says:

    Hey guys!! First of all….CONGRATS ON THE ENGAGEMENT! I have been so busy, that I am just catching up with all of your travels. I told you guys that you should have just gone to Epcot. Could have toured the world drunk in 2 hours…lol! Anyway, all is well here. We got your postcard…loved it! Shared it with Jim and Linda across the street and they were so jealous. So keep them coming….
    Love the pics. So interesting to see all of the things I will never see in person in my lifetime. But, that is what a camera is for 🙂 I really hope that you guys continue to have a blast, stay safe and wash your 1 pair of underwear that you brought.

    Keep in touch,

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