Updated on October 11, 2017
Day 8 of Japan Trip, Fuji Area on May 7, 2017
Eighth day of our trip to Japan.
The plan of the day was to leave Tokyo in the morning to start our three-day trip in the Fuji-Hakone region. We would be staying around Fuji Five Lakes for the day.
The images in this post are hosted on Imgur. Email me should there be any display problems.
During our first day in Tokyo my friend and I bought “Fuji-Hakone Pass” from Odakyu Company. At 8000 JPY, it covered all our transportation from Tokyo and tickets to a few attractions (attractions in Fuji and Hakone barely charge admission), which was great value for money.
Since we need to travel from Fuji/Hakone area back to Narita Airport for a flight back home on the last day, we chose to visit Fuji first and Hakone later, so that on our last day we would take the train back to Tokyo, which was much more punctual than the highway bus in and out of Fuji area.
So to reach Fuji area by the noon of this day, we booked on a bus that departed at 0845 from Shinjuku. Since we lived nearby, after checking out of our apartment it was a short 15 minute walk to the bus station.
That morning my friend and I weren’t very used to the Shinjuku neighborhood being this quiet, which was uncharacteristic of our stay here.
The highway bus station at Shinjuku was by no means large, with only a handful of seats. But it’s a typical super-quiet bus station in good order, oddly contradicting its presence as a busy bus station.
After leaving Tokyo, we were basically travelling in mountains until we reach the foot of Mount Fuji.
After three hours on the bus, we were at Fuji Kawaguchiko Lake Station. Our hotel is near Kawaguchiko Lake, which was about one kilometer from the bus station, so we decided to reach it on foot.
The town of Kawaguchiko Lake seemed more like a village to us. We passed a local “shopping street”, and found none of the shops were open. (Gosh, this is a golden week weekend, did the bosses worked so hard previously in the golden week that they needed an extra day off?) We conducted a little survey and found a couple of convenience stores (which provided essential supplies to me), some more restaurants, and the rest of the town seemed to be all residential houses.
After putting down our luggage at the hotel we headed out for Kawaguchiko Lake. It’s lunch time, and amazingly Google found us a ramen shop by Kawaguchiko Lake that just opened for the day, so we became their first customers that noon.
Like basically every other building in the town, this “Fudou Chaya” Restaurant was in ancient cottage style, which looks very Japanese.
And like every other restaurant in Japan, prices in its menu didn’t feel like one’s in a scenic resort.
There weren’t many visitors along Kawaguchiko Lake. After lunch, we headed North to Kawaguchiko Music Forest on the North shore of Kawaguchiko Lake.
It’s said that the best visiting time for Kawaguchiko Music Forest was dusk. But it was the middle of the day and my friend and I weren’t so much interested in music box stuff, so we just took a tour outside.
Then we took the bus to Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center, which was the terminal station of Kawaguchiko Lake Sightseeing Bus.
Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center is just a tiny cottage selling local souvenirs.
I saw a cake in the shape of Mount Fuji which was quite lovely. As I stood in awe of Japan’s modelling industry, I didn’t bought that cake concerning difficulties in transporting it, which left me much regret.
After leaving Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center, we took a short 700 meter walk back along Kawaguchiko Lake, then hopped onto a bus back to the Town of Kawaguchiko Lake.
After that, we changed onto another bus at Yamanashi Gem Museum Station along Kawaguchiko Lake for Saiko Lake.
At my friend’s suggestion we visited “Fugaku Wind Cave” first.
Fugaku Wind Cave
Fugaku Wind Cave was created by volcano lava, the lateral cave is 201m long and 8.7m high, which was the largest of its kind in the Mount Fuji area. With an average temperature of 3 degrees Celsuis throughout the year, up until the beginning of the Showa era, it was used as a refrigerator to store the eggs of silkworms. Echoes do not occur in this cave because the wall of basaltic rock has a property which absorbs sound.
By the entrance of Fugaku Wind Cave, the
OCD-plagued Japanese people provided free helmets for visitors. (They must thought that given the low ceiling height in the caves, there needed to be some tangible protection apart from “mind your head” signs…) Unfortunately, I joined that rank by bringing one with me.
Which turned out to be not so bad, since that would serve as a hat against water droplets.
Regular visit time in “Fugaku Wind Cave” was 15 minutes, that plus purchasing tickets and souveniers was just the bus interval of 30 minutes, so we were on the next bus to Saiko Lake.
Then, we started walking back from Saiko Lake Ridge Ground Nursing Home, along North shore of Saiko Lake (with views of Mount Fuji). Our plan was that when we would take the bus back to hotel when we got tired.
The road along Saiko Lake wasn’t as pedestrian-friendly as Kawaguchiko Lake, as it’s a two-lane street without pedestrian lane. But since there wasn’t much traffic, and we weren’t having problems walking on the side of the road.
We covered half of Saiko Lake’s north shore to “Saiko Lake Camping Ground” where we decided to take the bus downtown.
After reaching the Town of Kawaguchiko Lake we used Google Maps and located a Ramen shop with nice reviews, only to reach there and found it’s closed for the day.
So there wasn’t any restaurant left on our way back to hotel, in this
desolatetown of Kawaguchiko Lake…
But Google Maps informed us there’s a supermarket nearby, we went there, and found it’s the lifeline of local residents by selling daily necessities.
But since this supermarket was aimed at local residents, there’s no bento on sale. So sadly we headed back to a convenience store and purchased our bento dinner.
The top floor of our hotel has got an osen with views of Mount Fuji, so basically spent the rest of my day watching sunset while bathing.
Then I found that the hotel has even got a patio, so I shot these photos of the town at night.
That’s the end of the day.