Japan never considers time together as time wasted, it is time invested.” – Donald RichieHakone is located less than 100 kilometers west of Tokyo. Hakone is THE place to go if you want to have a complete personal journey. By visiting 3 iconic sites you will experience a re-birth of sorts: First we must cleanse your body at the Onsen (hot springs). Japanese are very particular about cleanliness and at the Onsen it is taken to a whole new level. For starters you must completely bathe yourself before entering the Onsen, once there you are not allowed to wear any clothing to prevent contaminating the water, if it makes you feel better mixed bathing is forbidden. Also since 2015 a lot of places started prohibiting access to people with tattoos for fear of being related to the Yakuza Clan. However some onsen may allow access if the tattoo is covered with a special patch and it is not visible. #MintRecommendation: book in advance at Hakone Ginyu Now that we have cleansed your body it is time to calm our minds by going to the Hanoke Schrine for a spiritual experience. The Hakone Schrine or Hanoke Gongen is located by the Lake Ashi. The Shinto Shrine is the home of the Hakone Okāmi, made up of three kami (or spirits) named:
- Ninigi-no-Mikoto was sent to Earth to plant rice
- Konohanasakuya-hime (Sakuya-hime short version): the cherry blossom princess, a symbol of delicate earthly life.
- Hoori-no-Mikoto: the son of Ninigi-no-Mikoto and Sakuya-hime, he’s an ancestor of the emperor and the prince of the mountain fortune.