Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our over-night family trip to Hakone to enjoy and soak in the onsen

Our family's plan was to leave last Tuesday. Tuesday of last week, October 11th very early and head to Hakone. Stay the entire whole day and night, onsen up basically and then Wednesday morning head directly for Disneyland!!!! So, Monday October 10th, I packed for myself (packed for the boys the day before). Last time the boys and I baked homemade chocolate chip pecan cookies to take to Hakone last year. This year they suggested rice krispie treats! Sounds perfect I said, and so Branden, Noah and myself made them last Monday morning. We also ran ourselves to the grocery store near the swimming school, to pick up any last minute items needed for such a nice drive up to the mountains the following day. Noboru packed a quick overnight bag and we were all set, by Monday afternoon just waiting and enjoying the day before our trip to the onsen.
Part of being a mother to me means always being prepared. Hopefully these things will never be needed but, a godsend if you need something especially being far away into the mountains in Japan in an onsen village basically. Noboru did need the Advil, I'll share that story down below. I always carry, kids cough meds, kids fever/headache meds, adults ibuprofin/Advil, and antacids. In the US, I never did this so much because a 24 hour open Walgreens type drugstore is always near somewhere. But in Japan, if we travel somewhere, I bring them. Also great for airplane trips too. Peace of mind in a ziplock.
Apple tea and peach nectar for Branden. Calpis and apple Natchan for Noah. Straight tea and orange water for myself and tea and Natchan for my sweetie pie. I bought everyone 2, because they're cheaper buying at a regular grocery store, 80 yen or so each bottle versus paying 120yen at a conbini or place along the highway.
I know this is my thing, but I always bring too much food for road trips. What if...someone needs some chicken ramen, some instant tantanmen, lol. Corn potage soup with baguette pieces in them. @_@ Wiener wrapped bread. Deli made banana chips, these are freakin' fantastic btw! Honey roasted peanuts. Noboru said he'd like a can of teriyaki chicken while drinking his beer after taking his last onsen of the night. So, sure enough I remembered to buy the beer and the can of chicken, lol! You'd think we were going away forever! And not just 1 night. : )
And no, I didn't forget the chopsticks.
We left the house at 7:30am Tuesday morning. Branden did not have school that day because he had the town undokai that Sunday and Monday was a holiday here in Japan. So Branden had off school Tuesday. We arrived at the Yunessun spa and onsen around 10am-ish. We stopped off to take bathroom breaks a few times. But it was basically a 2 hour drive from our home to the onsen. So not too bad at all.
To be in the mountains and onsen area in the Fall to watch the leaves turn colors, so beautiful! What a wonderful way to celebrate Fall being here!
Branden and Noah at the entrance of the Yunessun.
In the coffee onsen.
Entering the wine onsen. The water was so nice and hot the day we went and soaked in here. Smelled amazing!
The water coming from the wine bottle, very hot natural spring water. A couple times a day wine comes out of it. : )
The green tea onsen. Smelled amazing, so hot, all of them were so nice and hot to soak and enjoy.
Huge green tea cup!
You can see the other 2 onsens up above the main green tea area.
My cutie pie, cooling off... soaking for that long can really heat your body temp after a while.
Sake buro! This was lovely and supposed to make your skin look younger. We jokingly told Noah...you're barely 6, if you stay in here too long you could end up leaving this one looking 4! LOL. We all laughed.
Now that's a huge pot of green tea! : ) If you notice this green tea is darker then the huge one downstairs.
Noboru said...boys do something funny! Noah said, sure..opened his mouth and pretended to drink from it! Obviously he really didn't but we all laughed.

And then they announced it was time to add more coffee into the coffee buro. It's very concentrated and comes in a wooden barrel. Like soaking in your favorite coffee drink. Yummm! Anyway...there we were watching a small crowd waiting for a coffee refill. Branden and Noah went in and we were so hot Noboru and I, we stood out and cooled off some and watched the boys. However then, the words on some older woman's (50 something) swimsuit caught my eye. By the looks of her she was pretty conservative didn't look wild in the least. You know...in Japan, I'm sure most of you have read some pretty normal things written in English here. But I'm sure you've also seen some absolutely weird things written in English here as well. We all have. What I read on her swimsuit. You'll never believe it!
Ahem! And that's all I'm gonna say about that! @_@ Needless to say, Noboru and I had a little laugh over this one. Just when you think, I've seen it all, you see something that surprises you all over again! And again she seemed like a conservative lady, if she knew what it said, she'd probably be mortified. : ) Can you imagine if she brings that swimsuit to the US, like to Hawaii or something, all the looks she'd get? @_@ Oh well, enough said on that.

So many of these areas you feel like you're in a totally different world (like huge cups of green tea, you almost feel like you shrank down to the size of a Little or a smurf) or you feel like you're in a different country altogether.
We had a mid swim snack of sorts. We knew we'd be having dinner soon, and we had a decent breakfast before leaving the house. This was just to tide us over. The Fanta peach soda was so yumm!
Remember these were the Dr. Ci Labo hot baths last time, now they switched it to the Pokemon baths for the time being. The boys liked the Pokemon ones, but I would have preferred the Dr Ci ones back.
The Roman bath area!
When we went outside to sit in the onsen caves and also slide down the slides, we could now feel at this point a clear crispness to the air. It was definitely cooling down temp wise.
The water temp going down the slides was nice and hot!

After hitting all the onsen baths we decided to go to the naked side of the onsen however before going to that part we wanted to hit our favorites... one last time. So we went back to the nice hot coffee bath, then to the wine one, then to the green tea one for the last time, see the leaves starting to turn colors a bit behind. Lots of greenery. The way the onsen itself is set up it's nestled right in the top parts of the mountains. Surrounded by mountains all around. It's so fun being here and quite beautiful. All that Fall time nature while soaking in the gorgeous onsen resort!
Well, we split up, they went and enjoyed the men's naked onsen area. I went, and enjoyed the ladies naked onsen area. It was so pretty...many many different rotenburo but like I was soaking in a Japanese garden the way they designed it. Another area, was inside but the window was like 20 feet long it was seriously the biggest/longest window and it overlooked the outside onsens everything was wood at this particular buro, onsen was wood, ceiling all wood, even window panes and frames all wood. It was so nice. We had a set time to meet back up. Before that though, they had a lotion, Dr C type aroma bath in the naked ladies area, I soaked in there. And then after that I went and changed. And we all met up. We had all basically bathed times 30 all day long. Then showered and met up for dinner. We had Italian for dinner, it's right at the Yunessun. They're menu is basically been copied exactly from Capriacciosa. Which is great for us. ; ) We ordered 2 extra large garlic tomato pasta dishes. 2 pizzas. And cokes. Noah eating his spaghetti in this pic.
Branden ate his pasta and was now eating pizza. Noah and he shared a whole pizza all by themselves. : )
Food a plenty.
Hey Noah!
Before walking to our car we had dessert. This is in the lobby of the onsen place. Their whole menu is in English. The man who owns it...I think he's the owner. He was there last year and he is so nice!
This year I picked grape. Branden and Noah picked a grape and vanilla twist. After having our icecream, I went and bought some omiyage.
Yummm! See the Pokemon toilet paper? As we exited the onsen area, every child got a free Pokemon toilet paper. Go figure. : )
By now it was near 5:30pm, an entire *entire* day spent there! We left, feeling fantastic and hot/warm, muscles relaxed and tummy's full. When we left the onsen and headed to our car by now it felt weatherwise, definitely by now even crisper/chillier then even before. We were clearly in the mountains in the Fall season. Hopped in the MPV and went and checked into the hotel.
We just took our stuff upstairs to our room and relaxed. Noah sitting here flipping through the channels. With his glow in the dark super white skinny chicken legs. ;P
Noah just chillin'
Noboru relaxing drinking green tea. The clock on the TV says 6:06pm or something. We sat lazing around relaxing until 7:50pm. The boys and I eating yuzu, so good! We each had 1 bottle of drink left, we put them in the fridge and had them after our soak in the hotel onsen. At 7:50pm, we switched into yukata, all 4 of us and we headed down to the basement and to the onsen we went. Time to bathe yet again.
We had the big room, same as last year. With 2 rooms, one tatami room with futons and 1 room with 2 twin beds. Noboru and I took the 2 twin beds, a la Lucy and Ricky Ricardo style, lol. And the boys slept in the futons together.
Costco bag had all the snacks. Oh yeah I almost forgot, at the restaurant Noboru told me..."I have a splitting headache, you wouldn't happen to have anything would you?" I said, while yes I do. It's in the car. So, as soon as we checked into the hotel, Noboru had 2 Advil and boy he felt totally better in 30 minutes. He could enjoy the whole night. I was so glad I brought it.
About to take onsen soak #5000! And loving it! : )
Noah about to go and soak with daddy and big brother!
When we came back from our nightly shower and soak. The futons were already laid out. By the way, when I soaked outside in the rotenburo, at the hotel, I heard the boys voices, I said...Branden? Noah? Is that you? They said, Hi mommy. "Anyone in the men's side but you guys?" They said, nope. I said, yeah I'm the only one on the girls side. : ) By now...8-8:30pm, it was *really* getting chilly outside at this point. But it made the outside soaking feel even better. I went inside dried up, put a fresh pair of clean undies on and wrapped my yukata back on and met them outside. The 4 of us in our yukata went back to our room. The boys zonked out. Noboru drank his ice cold beer and ate his chicken. I had my orange water and the other pack of yuzu and that's it. None of us had instant noodles. Go figure. But still better safe then sorry.
Nighty nighty boys this was before they zonked.
Good thing for satellite at the hotel, we watched X Factor. Noboru and I really like this show.
At, 6am, I woke up. I had slept so well, I woke up before the alarm. Noboru woke up too. Our breakfast time was set at 7:30am. You have to book/reserve the time you want to eat the day before. And pick your meal from a choice of 3 breakfast meals for adults. Kids get 1 choice. So we still had plenty of time. So, we all woke up and we went to soak in the onsen again for the morning. Geeze by the time we would get to Disneyland we would have had 100 baths, and like 4 showers. @_@ Definitely clean. After our Wednesday morning shower, we all got dressed in the day befores clothes. Except Noah's shirt the day before had some pasta sauce so he had to wear the emergency shirt I brought. I put my makeup on. Blow dried my hair, flat ironed my hair. And to breakfast we went.
The hotel is like a French chateau. It looks really neat.
This is the entrance into the hotel. Greenery and trees all around of course, it's very quiet around here, very peaceful.

We waited. It didn't open for breakfast until 7:30am. We got table #1.
Noboru getting 2 hot coffees, one for him and one for me..... I could get my own but he brought me both of the 2 hot coffees I had at the Hotel Marroad that morning. A classy guy, he is!
Homemade mikan juice! I love this, and I swear it tastes like half kiwi juice half mikan. But they say it's pure mikan, though it looks a bit light in color in my opinion....anyway no matter... it is delicious! Best juice ever, I thought that last year too.
Good morning sweetie pie.
Fresh fruit cup and hot coffee and fresh squeezed mikan juice. The kaki which is in season and we love it...was so wonderful.
I had the bread breakfast platter. 3 bread on a plate, 1 white toast, 1 wheat and one roll. On the other plate was a delicious salad and 2 sausages. I gave my sausages to Noboru. But my breakfast was delicious. This hotel has western type breakfasts which is why we will always come to this particular hotel when we onsen up in Hakone. Because most hotels in Japan are heavy on the seafood and I dislike fish and seafood in general unless you include shrimp or lobster (love shrimp and lobster). So, I feel bad when getting fishy entrees and passing them up. But this place is right up my alley.
The kids meal is delicoious, french toast, fruit cup, salad and tomato soup with pasta in it.
Noah ate his entire breakfast, Branden did too.
Noboru had the ham and cheese sandwich, his looked so good! I should have ordered that. Though mine was good his looked better.
Piece of ham and cheese breakfast sandwich. Noboru said..try mine. I said, yes please!!! : ) Yummm! So that is how he ended up with my sausages, we traded. Though I would have given them to him anyway though.
Got milk?! LOL! Both our boys love milk! Noah had 2 full glasses of milk! Branden had 2 full glasses as well. Noah actually wanted a 3rd..they were selve serve near the coffee. But I didn't want his tummy overly full of milk especially for the long drive we were about to take, so I said, no to a 3rd glass.
We went to our room then switched to fresh jeans, fresh shirts. All 4 of us. And we were ready. We went downstairs and checked out. We had a lovely stay. Before we left the man checking us out, offered to take our family picture outside on the balcony. We said yes. So he took my digital camera and he took 4 pictures. Really lovely ones, I'm going to make copies and put one in a frame and it in the house somewhere. They came out so nice. All 4 of us surrounded by mountains and greenery.
We hopped into the MPV. And we left Hakone happy. We had a great time. We had brought back 2 of those gift onsen power packs. Not 1. 1 pack went to the grandma next door right away, the other pack went to Noah's sensei, the Yayoi sensei. She *loved* them btw, so much she said sugoi and told me how great they were..so much she even went to Noboru in the undokai to say thanks even. He said...my wife picked them. I had no idea. He knew, but he said that anyway. The 3 misc, ones are ours. 1 green tea one... wine and one coffee. We have since used the coffee one. The night after Noah's undokai. Smelled so awesome just like the one in Hakone. A 2 hour drive after leaving Hakone, we arrived at Disneyland. By 10:30am we were walking around Disneyland already. Wednesday morning of last week. Anyway that was our Hakone family trip for October 2011. We will go back next Fall as well.