After the scrumptious breakfast it was time to pack up and head out. We lingered a little while longer in the main building soaking in as much of the relaxing energy of the onsen as possible. Taka-san took a few photos for us and while we waited had one framed for us in an elegant glass frame. He also presented me with a small gift which turned out to be a chirimen silk potpourri sachet in the shape of an ume blossom.
The ryokan, in anticipation of Golden Week, had decorated the lobby with antique Boy’s Day Banners. It was very festive and in particular the pinwheel, of hawk feather arrow fletching, in gold and silver, caught my attention. Can’t you just imagine them spinning in the spring breeze? Very auspicious.
After several bows, many thank you’s, and a few more photos, the staff called their driver for us. Our little suitcase was carefully tucked into the trunk and in no time we arrived at the quaint train station. It was time to head back to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
The calm of the ryokan followed us on the train journey. It had rained on our trip in, but the sun managed to peek through the clouds which made the mountains glisten as we departed. There are only a few stops here and there on the switchback line. One happened to have a Shinto shrine built into the mountain side and spilling its way on to the platform. At risk of being stuck there, I jumped off the train to get a quick snapshot. The photo just doesn’t do justice to the energy of the place.
We met a young couple who were giggling and having fun after their Hakone stay. Their lack of English and our lack of Japanese didn’t matter. We all shared a sliver of time where you didn’t need to communicate to know exactly how each other felt. Happy, refreshed, excited. Well I don’t know how to put it to words, I guess you had to be there.
Once settled back onto the Romance Car of the larger train the scenery started to change over. Brilliant views of the mountains now included rural towns and soon enough a glimpse of the big city. From the train to the subway to a short walk and we were back in Hiroo.