Kawaguchiko: Mt. Fuji [2016.01.28]

I took a weekend couple-of-days trip out to Mt. Fuji because, well, because. It’s one of those must-see things and I had the time soooo away I went.

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Hopped on a bus at the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (¥1,750 one-way), this is my preferred method because no transfers. Imma lazy sonofabitch. It takes approx. 2 hours to travel by bus. If you want to do the “fancy” “tourist” way, you can take the bullet train. But that requires a transfer at Otsuki, which I don’t understand why anyone would want to do. You don’t get there any faster (Shinjuku to Otsuki – 70 minutes; Otsuki to Kawaguchiko – 55 minutes; Total – 125 minutes) AND its more expensive (¥2,500 and ¥1,140, respectively). Way more expensive. So a big fat NYOPE from me.

Mt. Fuji is an active volcano and Japan’s tallest peak. It is considered one of Japan’s three sacred mountains (三霊山 – along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku) and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries.

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I didn’t exactly go at the right time for seeing-seeing Mt. Fuji., the snow condition was pretty shotty the 2 days I was there and Mt. Fuji 5th Station wasn’t accessible. The 5th Station is the gateway to climbing Mount Fuji…essentially it lies about halfway into the Yoshida Trail, which leads from Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine at the mountain’s base to the summit of Mount Fuji.

So I just stayed and touristed around Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Saiko. And by touristed I obviously just mean take a lot of stupid dorky tourist pictures with the mountain.

I stayed at Kagelow Mt.Fuji Hostel. This is, by far, the most amazing hostel I’ve ever stayed in (Imano in Tokyo is a close second). Man the Japanese know how to do it. These are the hostels that I don’t even mind paying $30/40 for. I was in a 4 bed room, super clean, super roomy. I loved the design features here – all concrete and wood, almost looked like a boutique hotel. Recommend fosho.

Spent 3 days in Kawaguchiko:

Day 1

Got into town pretty night. By the time the bus arrived it was already dark. My walk to the hostel was pretty sketchtown. Only the main road had any resemblance of a sidewalk, the other smaller roads you pretty much had to walk on the road. Thank god it wasn’t too busy because walking in the dark on the road in snowy weather is one way to get killed.

Got to the hostel and dropped off my bag. Stupid me should’ve eaten first so I didn’t have to risk my life walking outside in the dark again. But risk I did. Moseyed back out to this Tempura shop for dinner.

Day 2

Went to the train station in the morning to get my Lake Kawaguchi/Lake Sai sightseeing bus unlimited ride coupon. It costs ¥1,200 and allows you to ride the 2 sightseeing buses as many times as you want for 2 days. Not really quite sure why anyone would not buy the coupon if they’re planning on sightseeing. It’s a hassle and I doubt you save that much money. Plus you don’t get change back, so unless you’ve been hoarding a shit ton of coins…buy the pass. It’s only like $15 people.

Stopped at all the stop that sounded interesting to me. Kawaguchiko Herb Hall? No thanks. Yamanashi Gem Museum? Also nope. Random road side shrine? Yup.

Ice cream was also on the yup list. Blueberry and vanilla soft serve? Yes Please.

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Had houtoumen (ほうとう) – famous home country noodles from the Yamanashi prefecture for lunch.

While waiting for the bus I hopped over to the Sightseeing Boat/Ropeway Entrance to check out the view from there. I totally didn’t know that the ropeway allows you to get a 360° panoramic view of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi or I would’ve totally done it. Damn translation issues! I also found this nifty hot food vending machine because, Japan.

Next I hopped on the Lake Saiko sightseeing line and went to the Lava and Bat Caves. I wanted to go for a hike but hiking alone is a big no-no of Papa Lai’s. Also, I didn’t bring my hiking boots. So even if I wanted to teenage-angst defy my pops, I couldn’t have due to my desire to not freeze my toes off and fall down a mountain (which, ha).

Hopped back onto the red line at the close of the day back to the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center (unobstructed view of Mt.Fuj) to catch the sunset.

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Bought a bunch of groceries from a 7-11 and cooked dinner at the hostel. Then drank wine like a classy lady.

Day 3

I thought about taking the bus back to the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center for more mountain viewing but decided against it. Already went twice the day before and I had to catch my bus back to Shinjuku and spend all of my monies. Decided to go for a run instead. Still got all da views. Would totally run more if it was this scenic all the time.

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Proud of myself for not following the hostel cat’s footstep and napping in the sun.

Ate lunch at a little curry shop (where the patrons were all grown men reading manga), showered back at the hostel, and went back to the train station to catch my ride back into the city.

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