Sunday, March 18, 2012

Visiting a sacred shrine via...piRRRate ship.

Ok, it's almost like a pirate ship.  Kind of.  So, we left Owakudani by bus to arrive at one end of Lake Ashi, where we embarked on a 30 minute ferry ride across the lake on one of these pirate ship-looking boats.

You know the drill with the 3d pictures.

Mind you, this video was taken at the very front of the ship.  I stood there for a solid 25 out of the 30 minute trip, and it was cold as a mothereffer.  Thank god for thermal pants and thermal tops.

Moving water creates a neat "there's a glitch in the matrix" effect when making panoramic photos:

After crossing Lake Ashi, we took another short bus ride to the Hakone-jinja shrine.  This specific shrine was meant to replace 3 separate shrines in Hakone, essentially unifying them all into one Hakone super shrine (my words, definitely not theirs, hah).  This particular shrine is 1250 years old!

Here are folks participating in the cleansing process we saw at the Meiji shrine.  Wash right hand, left, take a sip, and spit it out.

This shrine is surrounded all around by forest, and it is at the base of Mount Hakone.  I THINK these trees were cedar.

This one specific torii gate is special in that it's actually sitting in front of the shrine, IN Lake Ashi.  It's a very pretty gate.  We were able to see it on the boat ride, but my camera phone wasn't able to capture it in any meaningful detail.  Cross your eyes!

This shrine wasn't as packed as the Meiji Shrine.  That in combination with being in a forest, with a light overhead drizzle, and being next to a large body of water all made for a very serene experience.

Betcha didn't think this was coming, vertical panorama!  At the wee bottom is the lakefront torii gate.

On my way home I finally had the chance to try this one restaurant that I had been eyeing every time I passed by.  The front of the restaurant (no pics, I was hungry!) mentioned something about steak for 100yen, so naturally I was curious. After looking at the menu, I still had no idea wth the whole 100yen thing was about, but the pictures looked super tasty so I was all in.  880yen later (10.50 US dollars) and I had this:

Four pieces of properly marinated, medium steak, juicy/crispy chicken, super thick bacon strip, and a marinated hamburger patty.  All that along with miso soup and a salad.  I'll definitely be going back.  Now I've got six options for Japanese food, ramen, sushi, curry, udon, yakitori, and this place.  

Something about the restaurant's sink seemed extra special to me.  Maybe it was the cleanliness, the positioning of the spouts, the high-powered gush of soap...  I'm guessing it was the soap.

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