Asia,  Japan,  TDM,  Travel Journal

A day at Mount Fuji (Japan): Travel diary

Our stay in Japan has two objectives: to look at the cherry blossoms, and to see Mount Fuji. The first being reached perfectly well in Kyoto, here we are in front of the picturesque, gigantic Mount Fuji

We will first present the travel diary, then you will find all the practical information in our 2nd article here (how to get there, the best spots to take nice pictures)

Travel Notebook

The weather has not been good since our arrival in Tokyo, so we have to look carefully at the weather forecast before going to Mount Fuji. Because like Christ in Rio, the top of Mount Fuji is often in the clouds. The trick is to look not only at the weather forecast, but also at the most recent instagram pictures to see whether or not we have a chance to have a nice view

So, we have only one slot this week: on Saturday, not before, not after

How to get there

We chose to take a bus from Shibuya (they call it highway bus) because we are afraid of Shinjuku station (it is too big, we got lost there once). Shibuya and Shinjuku are at equal distance from us, so it is Shibuya who wins

Those who are closer to Shinjuku will have more choices: either take 2 subways from Shinjuku or a direct bus from Shinjuku. The lucky ones! More info on transportation here

Travel Notebook

Our bus leaves at 7:30 am but we arrive only at 11 am at Kawaguchiko Station (instead of 9:30 am) because we are in the middle of Golden Week (the equivalent of the May bridges in France what, there are 3 public holidays in the week) and the traffic is horrible. Mount Fuji is just behind the station. We are lucky! Only a small cloud that will soon disappear

We see a long queue to take the red bus that brings us to see the different points of view of Mount Fuji

So, we decide to take the train to go to our first viewpoint (and the most beautiful, especially when the cherry trees are in flower): Chureito Pagoda . For that, it is enough to take a subway (20 minutes) to Shimoyoshida Station then walk 20 minutes to go up to the top

Small accessibility point: it is possible to go up to the pagoda of Chureito in a wheelchair (there is a longer road next to the stairs) but it will not be possible to go up to the platform above the pagoda. Thus, you will see Mount Fuji, but only partially.

There are a lot of cherry trees on the way, if they were in bloom, it would have been an extraordinary sight

Anyway, Chureito Padoga is ranked among the 10 best sites to contemplate cherry blossoms in Japan. To go there absolutely especially if you are in Japan at the end of March-mid-April

The view is so satisfying that we already forget the 200 steps we took to get up here

We could have gone on but we’re a bit tired

We go down to eat some skewers at the food truck at the bottom of the hill, before raving about this tori so well placed

We walk back to the station and then take a train back to Kawaguchiko station. There are always so many people for the bus, we decide to walk 15 minutes to the lake Kawaguchi

Arrived at the lake, we could have rented a bike for 1000yen/day but we didn’t do it, I think it’s a big mistake because walking under the sun like that (despite the wind) was quite tiring

We go along the bank. At the beginning, we don’t see Mount Fuji anymore, which is hidden by a big mountain (there is a cable car leading to the top of this mountain)… and then we start to see the 5 stars hotels, and ryokans… and finally, Mount Fuji reappears, more beautiful than ever

the more you walk, the better you see Mount Fuji

And then we cross a bridge, which gives a beautiful view of the mountain, and we return by the other side of the lake, after spending time in an onsen that we don’t recommend you

We’re a bit out of date, but the pictures still look great. We can also pedal on the lake, pay a boat for a little ride on the lake… it’s so picturesque

We have already finished exploring the surroundings at 4 pm while our bus is at 6:20 pm. We inquire to see if we can change the tickets, and the answer is no, everything is already complete. We inquire to see if it is possible to make the round trip to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, but because of the Golden Week, the last bus left at 2 pm and it takes 2h30 to come back here, instead of 30mn !!! We are also studying the option to go to Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park only with thrilling games, at 1 train station. But we were told that not only it is necessary to pay to enter the park, but moreover it is necessary to make 2 hours of queue for each attraction

Never mind! We queue up in front of a restaurant in front of the station. In spite of the world that there is, that advances rather quickly, and we order the speciality of the restaurant namely a huge bowl of noodles. Fortunately that we are hungry. I even managed to finish 2/3 of the bowl and JB 3/4 of the bowl! And we will be very happy to have eaten so much because we are also going to take 4h30 to go back to Tokyo, without knowing it

Take a look at the souvenir store, there are lots of nice things like this glass shaped like Mount Fuji and mini sake barrels

The return

Our bus arrives right on time at 6:20 pm (Japanese punctuality). At 8 pm, the driver tells us something in Japanese and we will understand later that he gives us 30mn to go to get something to eat that we still have some way to go. Having eaten a big bowl of noodles, we go down just to look for something to drink. We look at Google Maps and discover that we only made 40km in 1h40 because of the traffic jams (Golden Week again! thank you the 3 holidays!). Fortunately that he granted us this break because he will drive non stop to arrive in Tokyo only at 11 p.m. at the station of Shibuya. Then we will need another 30mn to get back home. JB says to me that we should have gone back by train, certainly, piled up like sardines, but it would have taken only 2h30

Did you like this article? You will find all the practical information in our 2nd article here (how to get there, the best spots to take nice pictures)

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