After a bus ride on a winding mountain road that seemed to me like an eternity I stopped right in front of Lake Ashi. At that moment I understood why my friends love Hakone. The view is magnificent. In fact, it is hard to put into words how I feel. A large body of water, surrounded by hills covered with dense green forest: a quiet environment swept by a little breeze. Nearby, on the other side of the road a remnant of the Tokaido road so well depicted by Hokusai in his prints. This stretch of road is lined with tall cedar trees that seem to be there for millennia. I’m back on the lake, just on time to board the pirate ship that crosses the lake in its length. This is a nice attraction, but with a depressing cardboard like setting. I ride in the front on the uppermost deck. The wind is now very strong and I feel iced to the bone. On the way to the right, I see the buildings of the famous Ryuguden Japanese-style inn (ryokan). At halfway, on the left, a view of postcard: a combination of the lake, the torii of Kuzuryumyojin Sanctuary and Mount Fuji. Once at destination, I enter the Togendai cable car station.