The day we went to Mt. Fuji...and nearly missed it (Day 6 - by Gemma)

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September 22nd 2015
Published: November 9th 2015
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Tuesday 22nd September 2015

Although the national holiday had scuppered our efforts to find overnight accommodation at the lakes of Mt Fuji, we took advantage of the great transport links from Tokyo and took the 2.5hr bus to Lake Kawaguchiko for the day.

It was a day of lessons.

Lesson #1: Always retrace your footsteps in a new place.

The day got off to a cracking start as we got monumentally lost in Shinjuku station.

Located the bus station half an hour before we had to leave. WIN. Nipped into Shinjuku station to get some food. FINE. Got cocky and decided to exit from a different part of the station, as we were sure we had this travelling thing down to a fine art. FAIL. 5 mins before the bus is due to leave we are running like maniacs around the perimeter of the station completely lost. EPIC FAIL. We make it to the bus station in a sweaty state with literally seconds to spare. MORONS.

Lesson #2: If Chris Potter say's he's found the best route on his iPhone, he probably hasn't.

The lake itself is stunning with amazing views of the rolling hills and multiple ways to see Mt Fuji, including sightseeing buses, a 20min boat trip around the lake, renting a bike or taking a cable car. We decided as it was already early afternoon we would walk to the nearest lookout point to get a good view of Mount Fuji in the glorious sunshine before the day got too cloudy. No need for a map, for Chris was armed with his iPhone and a location for a view of Fuji.

The 2 hour walk around the lake was beautiful and peaceful, not a sole in sight other than some locals fishing. A great opportunity to get some amazing pictures of the lake. And on we hiked to the Fuji view. At one point, we seemed to go decidedly off-piste with Chris uttering those dreaded words 'I've found a shortcut'. Hmmm. We found ourselves wandering around a residential area, getting some rather bemused looks from local homeowners, as we essentially walked through their gardens. At the 3 hour mark, we had emerged from suburbia and were back on the lake, fast approaching the iPhone marker and our long awaited view of Fuji......

So it turns out that the iPhone marker 'Fuji View' is not actually a view of Mt Fuji but rather an abbreviation for the 'Fuji View Hotel', located on completely the opposite side of the lake to all the actual view points. No wonder we hadn't seen anyone other than the odd local in the past few hours. Brilliant!

With the clouds rolling in quickly, we began our trek back to where we'd started. Ironically had we just turned round when we'd arrived, we would have seen a colossal sized mountain staring down at us! 3 hours after setting off (back on the bridge where we'd started!), the dusk clouds parted just in time to give us a brief glimpse of Mount Fuji :-) We were now worn out, hungry (having only snacked on our small bento box eaten in silence outside the now infamous Fuji View Hotel!) but satisfied that we'd finally seen Mount Fuji!! And back onto the bus we went to head back to Tokyo, pack up our backpacks and move on to the next destination.

Next stop, Matsumoto....

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