Second day in Japan, I made a day trip to Mount Fuji. Woke up early, ate my free breakfast at the hotel but not so impressed. The free breakfast supports the phrase that you get what you pay for. Croissant and salad or toast, boiled egg- served in cold and salad, but I felt the beverage choices are good and the 2 option breakfast good enough to start off the day. Saves me time walking around to look for cafes.
Seeing the snow-capped peak of Japan’s no.1 volcano, Mt. Fuji, is the top of my list of things to do. Just like any first time traveler to Tokyo, the urge to see the beauty of Mount Fuji is so strong and I just can’t ignore it. Mount Fuji is beautiful in photos but it is more amazing when you get to see it up close with your own eyes!
I am not familiar of the routes but base on my JR Pass map the easiest way to get there is by taking the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station. From Otsuki, take the Fujikyu Railway Line to Kawaguchiko Station. The JR Pass is not valid between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko. I bought an express ticket getting there, then for the returning journey I took normal train because that was the earliest train, thinking to reached early on my destination it was an opposite as it ends up so long to reach my destination, so for fastest way of getting to your destination I suggest pay an extra bit of bucks.
As you know Rail Transport in Japan is a major means of passenger transport, especially for mass and high-speed travel between major cities and for commuter transport in metropolitan areas. Estimated journey to get there should be around 3 hrs but it took me 4-5 hrs to reached because I was so confused with the platforms in the train stations, and its quiet few platforms which took me time to review again my map and asked the locals. On the positive side, I also found new German friend and yes I am not just alone who is confused and lost by that time. We both keep changing trains for few times till we managed to get to our destination. But as we were looking out for which platform we gonna board, a boy came to rescue. Not only did he give us the directions but sensing that we was bit confused, he left his own track to escort and guide us on our way.
The Japanese people are polite, courteous, kind, generous and always happy to help you explore their wonderful country. The courteousness in Japan began from the first day itself, in fact moment I step in the country. Their humility, friendliness, genuine eagerness to help flavoured my senses. Actually I met so many people like these on the go and all of them helped me out in some way or the other, many times leaving their own works for mine.
Getting there is a bit challenge to me, normally for many they would go with tour because if you are not familiar with the routes its quite confusing but I like embracing the spontaneity and whimsy associated with discovering the best parts of a location by wandering the streets, experimenting with tourism books and maps, talking to the locals and to travel with freedom. Without a tour group or guide suggesting plans,and can make my own choices and follow my interests while travelling.
When I reached Kawaguchiko station around 11 in the morning, I went to the Fuji Visitor Center is an information center for travelers to Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes. An information desk on the first floor provides details about climbing and weather conditions, as well as about tourist attractions around the mountain. Before I decided to look around the attractions, I had my early lunch first. I found a restaurant opposite the visitor center, which by far you will see the magnificent view of the mountain. I got some lavender ice cream and start to look around the attractions.
If you want to enjoy Mount Fuji at a more leisurely pace and from a nice natural surrounding, you should head to the Lake Kawaguchiko. I rode on Lake Kawaguchi Pleasure Boat, it’s like a 20 minute loop in the lake with the stunning views of Mt. Fuji. A nice way to see the lake and more views of Mt. Fuji, so be sure to take your camera.
On the boat I went on, you had a choice of being up on the roof, out the back or inside on more comfortable chairs (and a warmer temperature). I managed to be up on roof of the boat so need to be extra careful with your belongings as its windy.
I didn’t have a lot in mind when planning this trip, but I knew I wanted to see the Kachi Kachi ropeway. The cable car ride was short, but it provided great views of the town, Lake Kawaguchiko, and Mt. Fuji. If you came here, you can see many rabbits and raccoons statues everywhere. The rabbit and raccoon are the characters of story “Kachi Kachi Yama”. That story was set in mount Tenjo and described about a story of a rabbit who gets revenge on a thieving tanuki (Japanese raccoon) by setting him on fire and drowning him in a river.
On the top got souvenir shop and beside that they sold rice cake with Mount Fuji stamp, sakura mochi and hot ocha. I grabbed some but the taste is hmmm not so so so… maybe I am not fan of rice cakes.
Other interesting spot is the bell of Tenjo. Some people said that your wish will come true if you ring the bell while watching mount Fuji. I tried and hoping my wish will do come true 🙂
When I took the ropeway down, the officer bow to the visitors. It’s so touching as I felt like she really thanked us for our visitation.
After my Kachi Kachi Ropeway experience I grabbed some fujiyama cookie and went back to Lake Kawaguchiko to see the reflected image of Mt. Fuji on the lake surface is known as the “Upside-down Fuji.” Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch this view. So, I just took photos instead.
I consider my self lucky as I got the clear view of the mountain. The upper part of the mountain was still blanked by a thick covering of snow.
Note however, that clouds and poor visibility often block the view of Mount Fuji, and you have to consider yourself lucky if you get a clear view of the mountain. Visibility tends to be better during the colder seasons of the year than in summer, and in the early morning and late evening hours than during the middle of the day.
After my Mt. Fuji experience, I headed down back to Tokyo for a night life experience in central ward of Tokyo Shinjuku. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest railway station, handling more than two million passengers every day. I visited the robot restaurant, don’t worry about getting the dinner just get the show! It is quite strange, the show structure consists of few short performances which lasted about 15 minutes each, followed by interval in between. Somehow the combination of beautiful Japanese women dancing and fighting with robots. It’s loud,colourful and crazy. It’s one of those “so bad it’s good” shows where you are left confused and also entertained, it was a new different experience though.
I left Shinjuku around 11:45 in the evening and wow the trains are still operating and there are still a lot of commuters as well. I reached at the hotel late night and felt hungry, if you think convenience store food is limited to potato chips and dodgy dried meats, then come to Japan, where chains such as Lawson’s, Family Mart and 7-Eleven offer salads, pasta, fruit cocktails, and sushi. I grabbed some then went back to the hotel with a smile on my face for this great experience.
Well that’s how I spent my 2nd day in Japan.