We had slightly less than an hour before the Romance Car would whisk us back to Shinjuku station from Hakone Yumoto. An afternoon amidst gorgeous and awesome art at the Hakone Open Air Museum had banished all thoughts of food from our minds.
Now, with barely an hour before our train left, we realized we hadn't had lunch and were all of a sudden, ravenously hungry.
There was a small cafe inside the train station but we decided to do a quick survey around the area. Surely since this was a tourist town, we would find a place that would serve food, even at the rather un-foodly hour of 4 pm. We crossed the road from the train station using the overhead walkway.
There were a lot of souvenir shops selling arts, crafts, clothes and Hakone delicacies. Such a quaint atmosphere. I would have loved to do some more walking around the town.
This fish and seafood market was very attractive. There were ready to take home packs of sashimi and sushi and lots of fresh looking fish on the refrigerated shelves.
Aha, food! In between the sweets shop and the souvenir shop was this restaurant and it was open.
A picture menu on the window showed that the specialty was udon -- udon with tempura, udon with egg, udon with yuba, udon with kakiage. Hot soup and noodles - this would be just the thing for this cold afternoon.
Obviously, the shop makes its own noodles, as I could see from my bowl of tanuki udon.
The noodles are irregularly sized and look like they have been cut by hand.
They are deliciously fresh and chewy.
Lots of seaweed in the broth make for a strong and rich umami-ness.
The smiling lady at the counter speaks no english and the menus are all in Japanese, as is the sign outside the restaurant. I guess I will never know the name of this wonderful little udon place.
Before hopping on the train, we have just a few minutes to spare so I grab some traditional sesame paste sweets, which are what Hakone is famous for.
There is this very venerable looking store called Nano Hana from which I buy just two small cakes -- just to eat and taste on the train ride home.
The store clerks must have been wondering why the gaijin bought only two when all the rest of the tourists were buying boxes and boxes of these small sweets.
These small cakes filled with sesame paste are so delicious -- the steamed rice cake cover reminds me of our very own puto -- puto binan to be exact. Oishii desu yo!
We finished both cakes before you could say "Hakone".
I secretly regret that I bought only two!