BINGO Theme: Local Bus Trip in Hakone – Part 1

Two teams embark on a ‘bingo’ race in Hakone this week. They will try to get as many places as possible by visiting tourist attractions and trying food specialties. They will do this by using clues written in each box of the bingo card to find the locations and completing related missions to mark that box. Teams can also use the “special card” once on the second day to take a space from the opposing team. Each team will also be informed as soon as the other team has scored a square.

Bingo journey starts in Hakone-Yumoto and besides this area, the missions will also take place in Owakudani, Gora, Ashinoko and other famous places in Hakone. The bingo map shows mission locations.

Team Tagawa decides to mark the squares around Yumoto. They head to the information center to ask about two clues for this area – “TUBE Maeda handling cars” and “Hakone’s edible lava”. They are told that there is a rickshaw man who looks like TUBE Maeda and the edible lava can be found at a kaarage shop called Koko Hakone. They decide to go to the rickshaw point first, which is near the information center. They find Mr. Ogawa, a rickshaw famous for his resemblance to TUBE Maeda. Their mission is to take the rickshaw and visit a place not listed in the guides. Mr. Ogawa shows them a hidden path along a clear stream that offers a nice view. After the mission is completed, the Tagawa team marks their first space on the bingo card.

The Takashima team, meanwhile, heads first to the Ashinoko area, which has several boxes on the bingo card. They take a bus bound for Ashinoko from Hakone-Yumoto at 9:15. They descend to Miyanoshita, where their clue is to “find the mysterious onsen bread that expires in 30 minutes”. Staff at a gas station tell them that he is at the Watanabe Bakery, which was established in 1891. The mission is to finish the bakery’s onsen stew bread. A crusty baguette is used as a bowl and a steaming hot beef stew is poured inside. The team must finish it in 30 minutes before the stew penetrates the bread. After completing the mission, they mark their first space. They then take a bus at 10:15 a.m. and get off at Ashinoyu, where the clue is “a museum with too many details”. After inquiring, they are told that this is the Hakone Doll House Museum, which has miniature houses. Miniature arts and crafts made one-twelfth the size of the real object, collected from around the world, are on display at the museum. The team must locate the “Three Wise Monkeys of Hakone” here.

The Tagawa team goes to the karaage shop to try the edible lava. The mission is to guess what is used to make the kaarage black and they correct say squid ink. The team then places a marker on the edible lava square.

Team Takashima sees that the other team has marked Yumoto two squares. After finding the miniature monkeys, the Takashima team also marked two squares, one of which is a corner on the bingo card. They then inquire about the next clue – “a shrine in the sky where your wishes come true”. They are told that they must take the Hakone-en Ropeway to the top and look for Komagatake. They also ask about another clue regarding the “mysterious puzzle boxes in Ashinoko”. Someone tells them that these are in the Karakuri Museum in the nearby town of Hakone, where a checkpoint once stood. They go there first by bus and get off at the Sekishomae. Iriguchi bus stop. They reach the museum and the mission is to find a pass placed in one of the six mysterious puzzle boxes and pass the checkpoint to Hakone. In the old days, when people had to go through a checkpoint, they used puzzle boxes to keep their valuables safe from thieves. You have to push and pull the surface of the box, and some of the boxes open in the most unexpected ways. Team Takashima successfully completes the mission and scores another square.

The Tagawa team takes the bus to the Picasso House at the Hakone Open Air Museum. They aim to catch the next bus at 12:50, half an hour later, so aim to complete the mission by then. The Hakone Open-Air Museum was established nearly 50 years ago as Japan’s first open-air museum. They visit the Picasso exhibition in the museum and their mission is to memorize Picasso’s full name – Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispín Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. They pass their sixth try and end up missing the 12:50 p.m. bus. The next bus is after half an hour.

Team Takashima then head to the “Shrine in the Sky” to score their third corner. They must first travel to Hakone-en, 30 minutes away, via a tourist boat. They are enjoying the beautiful view of Lake Ashi from the boat.

The Tagawa team checks the other clues, one of which is “the stir-fried liver and garlic chives that Monsieur liked”. They are told that there is a restaurant called Taigen which is famous for this dish. They then take the 1:20 p.m. bus to Sengokubara. Along the way, they stop in Sengoku to pursue another clue at the Little Prince Museum, inspired by the popular novel. The mission here is to find the Little Prince and his sheep in the same pose as a sign in the museum. Team Tagawa manages to find them and completes the mission.

Meanwhile, Team Takashima arrives in Hakone-en. They then take the cable car to the “sanctuary in the sky”. The team reaches the top of Komagatake and wants to take on the mission, which is to pray at the shrine through an open door. However, they are told that the gate only opens on certain days of the month and that they will have to come back the next day to complete the mission. They decide to pursue another clue about “a parrot that says ‘bye bye'”. It can be found at the Petting Zoo inside Hakone-en, near the boat deck.

Team Tagawa then tackles the clue to “500 men”, which they believe refers to the 500 Jizo statues called Gohyakurakan found at Choanji Temple. They arrive at the temple with a history of over 650 years at 2:35 p.m. Scattered around the temple grounds, stone statues of Buddha’s 500 disciples show various expressions including joy, anger, sadness and pleasure. For their mission, they must find a particular stone statue in a specific pose. They manage to locate it and can mark another space on the bingo card. The team now heads to Taigen to try the liver and garlic chive stir-fry adored by “Sir”.

Team Takashima checks out the parrot at the petting zoo called Animal Land. They find Ruri the parrot and manage to get him to say “bye bye”. The mission is over and they too claim another place.

The Tagawa team reaches Taigen and orders Shizuoka’s top brand fresh chicken liver dish. They mark their sixth space after completing the mission. On the other hand, the Takashima team captured four squares.

Team Takashima is now aiming to tackle a clue regarding “an edible Dragon Ball”. After asking around, they discover that he can be found in Motohakone. They have to take a ferry there but it doesn’t leave until 4:15 p.m. So they choose to walk 2.5 km to Motohakone. Along the way, they pass Hakone Shrine, one of the Ashinoko region’s most famous landmarks. They decide to make a short stopover to tackle the clue relating to a “one-of-a-kind amulet”. They managed to find a two-in-one friendship amulet made with wood mosaic work techniques. Their mission here is complete and they then continue marching towards Motohakone to search for the special Dragon Ball.


1) Try the unique Onsen Bread Stew at Watanabe Bakery in Miyanoshita
2) Check out the 500 Jizo statues called Gohyakurakan at Choanji Temple