We* just cannot get off the to bed at 7:30 and up at 4 routine. It's like clockwork. Since there is no TV to watch and after traipsing around all day followed by sitting in the onset (hot springs), followed by a gin and tonic, followed by a meal we just fall asleep.
It does have its advantages though for example this morning. The sky was nearly without clouds and Mt. Fuji slowly came into view and changed constantly as the morning light changed. It was wonderful. Plus that time of the morning is great for writing and reading.
Following breakfast we got into the onsen before heading down to Lake Ashita. We took a boat ride across the lake and strolled along a cedar lined road. The story goes that one of the first shoguns had cedars planted along side of the road that stretched to Tokyo in 1618. This was done to protect the travelers from the rains and snow. It's beautiful and to think we are walking down a road that was traversed countless times by the famous Shoguns and their Samurai.
Then we strolled through 2 towns and ended up at the Hakone Shrine founded in 757 as a Buddhist Temple. It was stunning. The red Toris and lanterns contrasting the lush green of everything. It reminds me of the Pacific Northwest where there is moss growing everywhere. Then the boat ride back across the lake and up the hill to our hotel.
*Mark sends email reports to his family and a few friends. I am starting to include them here so that they will be preserved in the same location as my posts. I will be going back and inserting the two emails that he sent from Tokyo.