Before I begin this post I’m gonna go ahead and warn you: It’s full of beautiful pictures.
That’s Mt. Fuji. And that’s a very awed-out me staring up at Mt. Fuji.
So, I am not very good at waking up early. I am also terrible at getting anywhere on time. I was born with a clock ten minutes behind everyone else’s and that’s just the way things are. So I was very proud of myself when Napkin and I got up at 6:30 AM in order to catch the subway to the Tokyo Grand Hyatt Hotel. We were meeting our JTB tour group there and I didn’t want to be late.
Let me tell you something about the Japanese and their sense of timeliness. On time is late. We got there at 7:45 (which was our listed meeting time) and we were the last people on the bus. The tour guide was waiting for us.
And I had been so proud of myself!!
So Napkin and I slunk into our seats and tried to avoid the judging stares all around us… and off we went on our day trip to Mt. Fuji!
The beginning of the trip was relatively uneventful. We were shuttled off to a train station where we were split into groups and given stickers (girl, you know I still have mine.) Our tour group leader was a cute, well spoken woman. Napkin and I immediately fell in love with her. I have never heard someone so enthusiastic about their job (or mountains, for that matter?)
We were supposed to be listening to the legend of Mt. Fuji (the name can be translated into “Samurai Warrior”, “Never Die”, or “Goddess of Fire”) but after a while I regretfully tuned everything out because the landscape was getting more and more beautiful.
Don’t get me wrong, Tokyo is amazing, but it was nice to get out of the city and see more natural landscapes.
…And where I was staring out the window at our beautiful surroundings, my beautiful husband was doing this:
Things were pretty quiet for the next hour or so (Mt. Fuji is about two hours and fifteen minutes from Tokyo) and then all of a sudden this happened:
I saw her. The never dying, samurai warrior, Goddess of Fire herself.
I can’t tell you how I felt at that moment. The Mt. Fuji day-trip had been an afterthought to our honeymoon plans, really, and it wasn’t until seeing the mountain that I realized just HOW amazing this opportunity actually was. And I didn’t anticipate being so moved.
The mountain came in and out of sight a few more times before we reached the Mt. Fuji Visitor’s Center. Once inside, Napkin and I wandered around for a little while, reading about Japanese history and watching a short (weird) movie about how the mountain was actually made. Then we found this:
I think this display was basically a collection of Japanese students showing their respect for Mt. Fuji. Nearly everything on the board was adorable– but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, tops this:
Are you kidding me, Japan?! Mt. Fuji has a mustache?!
I love you.
If I have one criticism for the Mt. Fuji Day Trip, it would be that every step along the way felt a little rushed. Maybe it’s just me, but nothing ever had time to sink in… and there was SO much to see. In fact, we were late getting back to the bus because we were having this picture taken:
And you can’t even see the snowy top (or the mustache) anyway!
After being wrangled back on the bus, we had another hour of straight ear popping and sharp turns as we headed up to Mt. Fuji’s fifth station (there are stations around Mt. Fuji, but not directly on it because Mt. Fuji is an active volcano and wouldn’t THAT suck?)
The fifth station, despite being aimed at tourists, is totally amazing… and was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The elevation is 2,300 feet and it was BEAUTIFUL.
(They were doing some work on one side of the whole “village” …which somehow made it even more magical? Peeps the dude’s feet sticking out of the wall on the left side!)
No big deal. Just me and Fooj. Takin’ pics.
After an hour of checking out the fifth station we were rallied back to the bus for our ride to Hakone. Hakone is a little spa town (we passed a ton of bed and breakfasts that I think Napkin and I are planning to visit when we go back to Japan one day) that sits on Lake Ashi. When I was booking the tour I was a little surprised that a ferry ride was included…or curious why it was included, I guess. This is why:
…because it’s totally beautiful.
This is our boat, by the way. Say hi, boat!
The ferry ride took us to the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway– but if you think that we were just lead to an open field and a bunch of cable cars, oh how wrong you are. Remember that everything is magical in Japan.
Because why not make an “Ooh” face with a panda bear car?
The ropeway was PACKED, you guys. I mean– I was afraid there were too many people inside. We were herded into the cable cars by the hundreds. And when you’re being suspended by a single cable line, it’s a little scary.
(This picture doesn’t do my fear any justice at all, but I promise. It was packed.)
Once we got up the ropeway and out of the car– I was totally fine. It was probably because, once again, the view was amazing. Here’s a little video of the Hakone National Park below us.
Not bad, right? Pretty magical, yeah!? We didn’t have long to walk around and take in all the sights, which, again, is my only real complaint about the day (and realistically everything was so beautiful that it was basically impossible to soak it all in in one day) but here are a few pictures to give you a better idea:
Once our minds were blown we were pushed back into the cable cars and we headed down the ropeway back towards the park. I managed to shove my way to the front of the car this time so I could show you what it looked like:
And that’s basically all of the scenic stuff I have from the day. After we got back to the park, we were given a few minutes to wander around the shops and bakeries (where there is a scenic trip, there is a bakery, so says Japan) and then we were back on the bus headed home. the bus took us to the nearest train station and we were given tickets to ride the Shinkansen! (Bullet Train!) But I’ll save the bullet train experience for my next post– which is on KYOTO!
In the meantime, here’s one more to ooh and ahh at (and you had better ooh and aah at the Goddess of Fire!)