Trip around Hakone with a dice – Part 2

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Trip around Hakone with a dice – Part 2

On the second day, the women are heading to Sounzan. The men miss the train which would also take them to Sounzan. The women arrive at the terminal station of the cable car and they choose mission A, which is to take a bath in a hot spring situated 800m above sea level. From Sounzan Station, they walk for five minutes to Inn Yamada-ya. The hot spring bath is located on the fourth floor and boasts a gorgeous view of the mountains. The source of the slightly muddy water is Owakudani. After their task, the women roll the dice, get a three and take the ropeway to Togendai.

The men’s team finally arrives at Sounzan and their mission is to take a bath in a free-flowing hot spring. After soaking in the bath, they get one on the dice and advance to Owakudani. Their next task is to eat black eggs which have been boiled using hot spring water. It is believed that eating one hot spring egg prolongs your life by seven years. After this, the men throw the dice, get one again and proceed to Ubako from Owakudani. At Ubako, they select mission B, which is to eat soba noodles with fresh wild plants. They have to walk 40 minutes from Ubako Station to Horiyoshi, a popular soba restaurant. However, they have to pick the wild plants themselves so they head to a spot near the restaurant. They manage to gather dokudami, itadori, taranome and udo, among other things. Some of these fresh wild plants can be used to make tempura too. The men return to the restaurant and savour the noodles, which are made of 100% buckwheat flour from Tokachi, Hokkaido. After their meal, they run to Ubako Station, but as they have missed the last ropeway run for the day, they can only continue racing the following day.

Meanwhile, the women’s mission at Togendai is to retreat by six steps to Naka Gora. However, they too are unable to continue racing as it is quite late by this time. On the third and final day of this dice race, the women start by taking the ropeway to Naka Gora. There, they choose mission B and their task is to take a footbath while enjoying some sausages and beer! After this, they roll the dice, get a six, rush back to the station and head to Kojiri. They opt for mission B at Kojiri, which is to pray at the Kuzuryu Shrine for a successful love life. They have to walk for 25 minutes in the forest to reach the shrine, which attracts visitors from all over Japan. After praying, the women roll the dice and get to advance one step to Hakone-En by the Ashi Lake Tour Boat.

The men start the third day at Ubako, travel by ropeway and later proceed two stops ahead to Kojiri. Here, after rolling the dice, they can move two steps forward to Ryuguden Mae. They however have to go to Hakone-En first and transfer to a bus to reach Ryuguden Mae, which is 300m away. Once they arrive, their mission is to go one step ahead to Sakuraijaya Mae by bus. They wait for 30 minutes for the next bus before heading to Sakuraijaya Mae.

The women choose mission B at Hakone-En - they have to pray at Hakone Mototsumiya at the top of Komagatake. It is located 1,357m above sea level. After doing so, the women get a two on the dice and head to the same spot as the men, Sakuraijaya Mae.

The men select mission B at Sakuraijaya Mae, which requires them to eat a speciality, shark’s fin ramen, for lunch. Celebrities who have cottages at Hakone often visit Fukuman En, which specialises in Szechuan cuisine. The shark’s fin ramen and soup costs the men a whopping 21,780 yen (S$267). The men return to the Sakuraijaya Mae bus stop and get to move two steps forward.

At Sakuraijaya Mae, the women’s team chooses mission A and are lucky enough to advance to Oshiba without doing any task. At Oshiba, they get two on the dice and choose mission A, which is to pray to Jizo of the late Kamakura period. They head to a hall beside Route 1 and inside the hall they find the 3m-tall Rokudo Jizo, an important national treasure.

The men’s next task is to drink amazake at a teahouse along the old Hakone Route. During the early Edo period, this stone pavement was constructed for tourists at a cost of 140 million yen. Since then, many tourists have visited the teahouse along the road. At the teahouse, the men are served traditional amazake, which contains no sugar or artificial preservatives and only natural ingredients. It costs 400 yen (S$49). The men run back to the bus stop and after throwing the dice, are able to move advance one step to Motohakone.

After praying to Jizo, the women return to the bus, roll the dice and are thrilled to get a five. They then travel by bus to Hakone Sekishoato, where they select A as their final mission. They have to go to an Edo period checkpoint, rent old costumes from that era and take a photograph. After clearing their challenge, they head by motorboat to the final goal of Heiwa no Torii.

At Motohakone, the men choose mission A. They have to bathe in an open-air hot spring at Musashiya. After finishing the task, they dash back to bus stop, throw the dice, and are also able to go five steps forward to Hakone Sekishoato. There, they choose B as their final mission and have to go to a temple nearby and pray to Jurojin. After this, they run to the motorboat port to head to the goal of this race.

The women arrive at the boat port at Ashi Lake and dash to Heiwa no Torii. They mistakenly assume they are the winners of the race but alas, the men’s team reached the goal five minutes before them. Thus, the men have won this dice race and the women have to pay all the expenses incurred by the men during the three days.


Tips:

1) When visiting Owakudani, travel by ropeway to enjoy a panoramic view of the area.

2) It is believed that eating certain black hot spring eggs in Hakone can prolong your life by seven years

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