Golden Week, Part 6: Mt. Fuji

The weather was perfect on Friday, May 2, as we left Kyoto and headed back east. We were on our way to Fujiyoshida City, approximately 100 km west of Tokyo, and unfortunately not easily accessed by train from Kyoto! Mom, Bro, and I took the Shinkansen from Kyoto all the way to Tokyo, then switched to an express train, and finally switched to a private train! Altogether it took us five hours to get to Fujiyoshida. Yikes. However, despite mine and Mom’s apprehensions, the extra time was worth it when we caught our first glance of Mt. Fuji. We couldn’t believe how big it was, and how big it continued to get as we got closer and closer to Fujiyoshida, a city right on the base of it!

One of our first glimpses of Mt. Fuji!

One of our first glimpses of Mt. Fuji!

Pulling into Fujiyoshida City. We couldn't believe how big Mt. Fuji was!

Pulling into Fujiyoshida City. We couldn’t believe how big Mt. Fuji was!

Our excitement continued when we got to our hotel and looked out our window – Mt. Fuji was literally in our backyard!

The view from our hotel room window. Incredible!!!

The view from our hotel room window. Incredible!!!

Literally. In. Our. Backyard!

Our hotel. Mt. Fuji is literally. In. Our. Backyard!

Because the trains took so long, we didn’t get to our hotel until suppertime. We had supper (gyudon!) at a nearby restaurant and then headed back to the hotel to relax. The hotel actually had an onsen, or a public hot springs bath. I was excited to try them, but also nervous – it would be my first real onsen experience and, as with all onsen, you have to bathe completely naked! I convinced Mom to go with me (thanks for being a good sport, Mom!) and together we went down to the baths. Fortunately we were late enough going that there weren’t many other women using the baths. We sat in an inside bath for a long time, but the water was almost too hot, so I went to one of the outdoor baths while Mom went back up to our room. The outdoor bath was beautiful – there was a gorgeous garden built around it and, if it were daytime, I’m pretty sure you could have seen Mt. Fuji! It was so peaceful to sit outside and I’m so glad that the naked factor didn’t make me chicken out!

One of the outdoor pools. It was gorgeous! (Source: http://fujiyoshidahotels.bookonline2save.com/resort-inn-fuyo-kawaguchiko-inter-jp_japan.htm)

One of the outdoor baths. It was gorgeous! (Source)

The next morning, we got up, packed, and stored our bags with the hotel staff before heading for the Arakurayama Sengen Park and the Chureito Pagoda. We walked from our hotel to the park – approximately 45 minutes – but as we were too busy staring in awe at Mt. Fuji the whole time, the walk was quite pleasant! (We also stopped for delicious ice cream. In fact, we had an ice cream every single day of the trip! Talk about yummy!)

Walking to the shrine, we happened to look behind us and were surprised with Mt. Fuji!

Walking to the shrine, we happened to look behind us and were surprised with Mt. Fuji!

For those who don’t know, coming to Japan had been a dream of mine for over nine years. During that time, one of my all-time favourite pictures of Japan was a picture of Mt. Fuji with a red pagoda and cherry trees in the foreground. (Just Google image search Japan and you’ll know what I’m talking about!) I loved that picture and even had it as my computer’s desktop background for several years! So, you can only imagine how I felt when Mom, Bro, and I climbed the 473 steps to the Chureito Pagoda and were treated with that exact picture-perfect view.

Dreams really do come true!

Dreams really do come true!

Pretty much, there are no words.

The happiest!

The happiest!

Unfortunately, we had missed cherry blossom season by a few weeks, but the trees were green and the sky was clear. The view was even more amazing in person! Pictures can’t do the size and beauty of Mt. Fuji justice.

Climbing up the 450+ steps to the pagoda!

Climbing up the 450+ steps to the pagoda!

Picture perfect.

Picture perfect.

Mt. Fuji towers over Fujiyoshida City!

Mt. Fuji towers over Fujiyoshida City!

We spent a long time here, just enjoying the view and the hot (30 degrees C), sunny weather. It was definitely one of my favourite places that we visited!

The Chureito Pagoda itself!

The Chureito Pagoda itself!

Finally, tired from the walk (and sunburned, in my case!), we took a taxi to Kappa Sushi, a conveyor belt sushi chain restaurant, for Mom and Bro’s first sushi experience! I literally stuffed my face with my favourites (there is no graceful way to eat sushi!), while Mom and Bro did a good job at trying several different kinds. I don’t think our sushi lunch was their favourite meal of the trip, though. ;)

After lunch, we picked up our bags from the hotel and boarded the train. In only 2.5 hours, we would be in Tokyo for the last leg of our trip!

Mt. Fuji <3

I <3 Mt. Fuji!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Golden Week, Part 6: Mt. Fuji

  1. TonyJ2 says:

    Nice story about the effort to get there, but well worth it isn’t it? My partner and I had a very similar experience for that short time close to Mt Fuji.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s