October in Hakone is the high season for the susuki grass. I headed down to Hakone from Tokyo to see it with a bunch of students. I should have went alone. The students weren’t interested in stopping the bus long enough to walk through the paths cut in the towering grass. Meanwhile, I was salivating at the chance to get out of the bus and be surrounded in the stuff. Instead I had to settle for this low quality pic through the moving bus window.
I guess this is yet another reason why I need to go live in Japan again someday.
Hike #21 in Day Walks Near Tokyo is called Myojo Peak (明星ヶ岳). Rainy season had just begun and after several days of rain there was a break in the action so I headed to Hakone. The day was incredibly hot and humid. I haven’t sweat so much in a single outing, ever. I brought twice my usual amount of water but could have used much more. More on the hike in a later entry.
Today’s pic is from near the start, just a little way past Miyaginobashi (宮城野橋) bus stop. Those are green tea fields in the foreground and Sounzan (早雲山) and Hakoneyama (箱根山) in the background.
Our 8th usage of the Grutt Pass was going to be at the Bridgestone Museum of Art near Nihonbashi. For the second time we encountered a museum that was closed due to a rotation in exhibits. Ugh.
We flipped through our pass booklet to find the closest museum, and it turned out to be the Mitsui Memorial Museum. We had no idea what to expect as we hadn’t researched this fall-back museum at all. We got really lucky.
Nothing was available in English so we didn’t know what we would be seeing. In the second room of the exhibit I realized that we had stumbled upon some of the most famous works to ever be created in Japan. Thank you Bridgestone Museum for being closed! Otherwise we would have never seen these originals.
Photography was not allowed so the pics below were not taken by me.
First up was Hokusai’s “Great Wave off Kanagawa” (Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 神奈川沖浪裏). The original is not as pretty as the prints you normally see which have been altered, but the feeling while seeing the real thing is far better than the cleaned-up prints. The above is a photo of the original. Click on the above to see the version you are probably more familiar with.
The above was drawn from basically the same spot that I took this next picture on Enoshima.
Another ukiyoe that brought back a recent memory was this next one by Hiroshige (歌川広重) from his series “The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō.”
We were near that spot a few weeks back in Hakone at the Old Tokaido Hakone Checkpoint. Here is a photo I took then from the same general location. Unfortunately, the clouds obscured Mt. Fuji for my picture, unlike Hiroshige’s.
By the way, the museum entrance fee would have been 1,200 yen. We got in free with the Grutt Pass.