Off to Mount Fuji

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November 22nd 2018
Published: December 5th 2018
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Its our last morning in our favourite little hotel and i'm pretty gutted to be leaving it must be said. We've got an early start as its going to be quite a long day of travelling to get to Mount Fuji. The forecast has changed from shining blue skies to forecast rain so we're a bit unsure as to whether we'll actually see any of the notorious mountain, but we'll wait and see…. Breakfast is ashamedly a mcdonalds breakfast muffin and the strongest coffee I think i've ever had. we're used to a little foamy cafe con leche but here they seem to like a very strong black filtered coffee with a tiny teeny coffee creamer which does little more than colour the coffee from black to very dark brown.

Once again we consult the trusty itinerary along with our metro map and manage to figure out which station we need to be at and when. This makes maneuvering around with two huge suitcases, two hand cases, an umbrella, a travel pillow and a bag of food much more manageable. Even though we have to change trains and stations three times, we manage to get to where we
The asobi factory hostelThe asobi factory hostelThe asobi factory hostel

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need to be at the time scheduled and I'm mega impressed with myself. Rather crazily, at Tokyo train station, one of the busiest stations in the world with 2 million people passing through every day, we end up seeing the woman who was sat in front of Greg on our plane from Madrid to Tokyo! How surreal that she would happen to walk in front of us at that very moment. The other slightly weird encounter we have is being sat across from a rather eccentric gentleman who proceeds to cut up bits of newspaper with a pair of scissors he's kept in his top jacket pocket. He looks like he could potentially be a serial killer so I have my umbrella prepped and ready in case he comes at me with the scissors. We decide to name him paper cut and coming up with his back story keeps us amused for a little while.

We arrive in Lake Kawaguchiko at about 1pm and next try to figure out how to get to our hostel from here as there are so many bus stops that we're a bit overwhelmed. We ask the ticket guy who is one of the only Japanese people we've came across so far who doesn't speak a lot of english. He indicates bus stop 4 and we stand in the freezing cold for about 25 minutes before checking with someone when the next bus will be. Turns out it won't be here for another hour, so we head back into the station and have some lunch instead.

Greg's ecstatic to get his udon noodles at last and whilst he's stuffing his face, I get a chance to wander round the gift shop which isn't too overpriced. I pick up an obligatory mount Fuji magnet of course, along with wasabi kit kats which I have been hunting for! Afterwards I grab a plate of fried soba noodles which are delicious. I love in Japan that when you go to a cafeteria or fast food restaurant, they have little sachets of spicy salt, soy sauce or pickled ginger for you to takeaway which is a change from the usual sachets of mayonnaise and ketchup

The bus eventually arrives and takes us to what we hope is our stop based on the directions the hostel have sent us. We have literally no idea where the hostel is from the main road as there are no signposts and we don't have internet to check the map. We decide to go back to old school and just head in the direction we think it is and hope for the best. It pays off and about 250 metres down the road we stumble upon it, woohoo! It's a hostel set up in a traditional ryokan style, which means sleeping on the floor and walking about without shoes on. Its a cool little place and every time we stay in a hostel it automatically transports me back to our days travelling around Australia (can you believe that was 10 years ago to this very month!).

After we've dumped our bags, we immediately head out to see if we can get any views of Mount Fuji. The sky is definitely clearing up and the sun is trying to break through the clouds so we are ever hopeful. Everyone is clicking away taking photos as soon as they get off the train as you can see little parts of the mountain peaking through, but Greg says he is going to play the waiting game to get the best shot he can as he is convinced the weather is going to clear up. I hope he is right and the clouds don't settle in instead... We head towards the Kachi Kachi ropeway where a gondola takes you up to the top of a hill where you get views across to Mount Fuji. We spot the mountain as we walk along and although its still cloudy around the bottom, we can currently see the top of the peak and the weather does seem to promise it will get clearer. By the time we reach the ropeway (after a good 35 minute walk) it has indeed cleared up, and all that remains is a little wisp of cloud around the middle of the mountain so we're really excited. Before coming, we'd read so many reviews from people saying they were here for two days or more and never even seen a hint of Mount Fuji.

The view from the top of the gondola is spectacular and really does take your breath away – I really can't believe we're here to see this in person, and feel so lucky we can actually see it at
Roasted mochi rice cakesRoasted mochi rice cakesRoasted mochi rice cakes

You really have to try these
all. There is an official photographer offering to take photos with your own camera for free (as long as you also get one from his professional camera lol), so we decide to get one of the only photos of us together – well if you're going to get a photo together there's no better backdrop! The guy makes us laugh as he is super cheesy and camp and tells us how oh so beautiful we are and oh my gosh, such a beautiful picture. We wander around for a while and then have some flame-roasted sticky rice balls covered in soy bean powder and melted brown sugar – delicious! It's starting to get colder and darker so we make our way back to the hostel with another long walk, stopping off for some beers along the way of course.

Back at the hostel we make use of the empty shared living room area and chill out for a few hours, as once again we've pretty much walked 10 miles and our legs are in need of a rest. It's nice to have somewhere to stretch out instead of sitting on our bed in the hotel room. they'e even got some country and western music on in the background which is rather random but not unwelcome. Afterwards, we head out to a little tempura takeaway restaurant we had spotted along the road called Hotti Motti. I always think its funny that they have stuff written in english on the door (this one says 'takeaway only') but then when you ask if they have an english menu they say no and look at you like you're crazy. We're not phased though as we've spent many a month in china (did I mention we lived in China??) just pointing at menus and guessing and hoping for the best, so this is a walk in the park. And at least they have pictures! We settle on two tempura and rice bowls which the waiter seems to approve of. We end up with a lovely bowl of deliciousness filled with battered lotus root (tastes a lot nicer than it sounds), asapargus, shrimp and squid which are all very nice indeed. We manage to keep our eyes open long enough to watch a quick programme on the laptop before passing out.


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