Off to Fujisan! Day 8 is the long awaited trip to Fuji & Hakone. We booked a tour to see mt Fuji as we didn’t really know how else to get there on our own. (especially as neither of us can drive).
Our day started extra early as we needed to be downstairs for the bus at 7:45, even with our relaxed day the day before we both were quite tired. However, almost the entire trip was spent on a coach….so that wasn’t much of a problem.
I’d like to write about how amazing it was, seeing the mountain up close, and driving over it, and going on a boat on one of the lakes and then up a cable car to amazing views. But honestly all of that was overshadowed by just how long we spent on the coach.
Our stop off at the half way point was only for 20 minutes (which was spent in fog) and our stop to take photos of the peak when the fog cleared on our way down was only for 2 minutes. The ‘cruise’ was barely 15 minutes and the cable car was 7 each way, with a 10 minute break up the top.
Mt Fuji is behind this building.
This is me at mt Fuji...
This is Michaela at mt Fuji.
THIS is mt Fuji. That cloud on the left is the one we were standing in in the previous photos.
There was a huge gift shop and we bought some more odd Kit-Kat flavours as well as some water in mt Fuji shaped bottles. There's no escaping it, we're real culture vultures at times.
Lunch was the longest break but that was spent with a fish looking me right in the eye daring me to eat it (I didn’t). So although the mountain was beautiful, and the views were incredible I would have prefered to go without the tour. It was all very rushed and I don’t think I would recommend the tour.
Lunch! Just brilliant. Varied and interesting and all cooking away on flame heaters in front of you. I really enjoyed this. I didn't eat my fish's head either I must confess.
Bubble, bubble, I have no idea what most of the food was (apart from the noodles obviously) but it was very nice.
The boat trip on Lake Ashi was enjoyable enough but very quick.
Our boat was fast and modern. Others on the lake had a more retro look.
Michaela found her sea legs almost immediately.
We had a few minutes to find a toilet and grab an ice cream at the foot of mt Komaga-Take before it was our turn to board the cable car to the top.
You can just see the other end of the cable on top of the mountain here.
Now I saw Where Eagles Dare quite a few time when I was young and it left a lasting impression on me about cable cars and all their dangers (including ice picks in the arm!) In principle they seem fine and dandy, much like big wheels, but in practice they leave me feeling a little unsure.
Never-the-less here I am cool and collected, ready for the ascent.
As was Michaela...
As it happened nothing disastrous befell us that day. There were a couple of queasy moments as we rattled, bumped and swayed over the supporting pylons but nothing that made me actually squeal in fright.
The views from the top were magnificent but time was very short (a feature of the whole day sadly) and we soon had to return.
Everyone piled into the car for the return trip. It was the last car of the day and I noticed the 'maximum 40 people' sign in passing as I was hustled past it as more and more people were squeezed on. There must have been over a hundred of us, breathing was a problem due to the crush.
Once we'd returned safely to terra firma it was back on the bus for the return trip.
See the cute cow? Everywhere you look in Japan there are little animal or creature drawings. Everything possible seems to be anthropomorphicaly upgraded to sentience from business logos to buses.
The Shinkansen (bullet train) however is another story entirely.
This was something both of us were very excited about (yes!) and had paid extra just so we could return by it. We stood at the station and watched the train from the other side stop and let people one, we got a brief look at one as it woooooshed through the station (I got about 3 seconds of footage before it had gone), and then it was time to board.
The Shinkansen looks awesome, and the inside is great! The seats are a nice size and have a ridiculous amount of leg room. The views were amazing, if a bit quick passing and the overall feel of the train was welcomed after our day on the coach. We even stayed and watched the little pink ladies clean the carriage and turn the seats around for the return journey!
This is my happy face. What an amazing machine this train is.
Look at the leg room. This is so they have space turn the rows of seats around for when the train goes back the other way. A very welcome by-product of an already cool design.
Even though it can be pricey I would love to ride a shinkansen again and hope we can in future trips. I’d also love to visit Hakone, a hot spring town, as it was just beautiful there. Though I think I’d prefer a private hot spring to a shared one.
To round off our day we stopped for a meal. I had a pizza. In Japan they put the cheese on last so it keeps all the other toppings in place. My Japanese pizza was delicious.
Michaela had something that moved!