Switching Sides


Friday night I headed to Hakone (箱根) to meet an old friend and colleague. We hadn’t been in contact for 16 years. Several weeks ago she tracked me down through my account on LinkedIn. Hakone Tozan SwitchbackHad we not been connected through business, it may not have been possible to find each other.

Hakone has been on my list of places to visit since I first heard about the switchback railway, fittingly known as Tozan Tetsudo (登山鉄道) – climb mountain railroad. It is a single track snaking along the side of steep mountains surrounding a high lake. There are three switchbacks which allow trains to make the ascent. As seen in the first photo, they are double switchbacks, allowing ascending and descending trains to pass each other as well.

Hakone Tozan SwitchbackOur train came down the left track and parked on the switchback. I was at the back of the train, but when we pulled out my end became the front. While we waited, the train coming uphill pulled into the switchback on the right side. In the second picture you can see the train pulling out from the right and switching over to the left while we wait.

Hakone Tozan SwitchbackThe rear (formerly the front) of the ascending train is visible in the third shot, as it continues crossing over to the left. The driver is taking a break because there is a driver at the other end of the train doing his job.

Hakone Tozan SwitchbackThis last shot shows the ascending train climbing out of the switchback. Shortly after that our train could proceed forward to switch over to the right track and head down the slope.

The weather was cloudy, rainy, and misty all day. It gave an interesting feel to everything, but limited what photos I could grab with my camera. Probably I will be picking up my new camera and lens in the next month. I have been instructed to pick up a 12-24mm lens. I have never shot anything wider than a 28mm, so I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities. Mostly I think my teacher wants to force me to get closer to my subjects.

Mount Fuji is spectacular from Hakone, but the heavy mist prevented us from getting even the slightest glimpse of it. Maybe another time.


One Response to “Switching Sides”

  1. Bahia Says:

    I’ve ridden that train!

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