|Above, Lake Ashi in the Hakone area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Call it bravado or call it stupidity, but the number of foreign visitors to the Hakone area is practically unchanged since a volcanic alert was issued for the area. The number of Japanese visitors, however, has dropped.
According to The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun):
Foreign tourists continue to be seen in the hot spring resort areas in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, even while the number of Japanese tourists has fallen because of volcanic activities on Mt. Hakone.
More than a week has passed since small-scale eruptions prompted officials to raise the volcanic alert on the mountain, which straddles Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures, to Level 3, which restricts people from approaching the mountain.
At Hakone Hotel Kowaki-en, a hotel in the town about two kilometers from the Owakudani district, the lobby was packed with foreign tourists checking out on Tuesday morning.
However, the number of foreign customers did not change even after the volcanic alert was raised to Level 3, according to employees of the hotel.Hakone was featured in the 2001 feature, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack.
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