A Visit To Mt. Fuji, Japan’s Sacred Volcano
A Visit To Mt. Fuji, Japan’s Sacred Volcano
Join Anand Desai, a software engineer with Cox & Kings, on his exciting visit to Mount Fuji in Japan, and his ride in a bullet train for the very first time!
“Don’t worry sir. We could not have left without you. You are our guests”. I could hardly resist hugging the charming and beautiful executive on the reception when I heard her say these overwhelming words. Panting crazily with our almost 1.5 km of run from the station, these lines were clearly the best I have heard in my entire trip!
How I Almost Missed My Trip!
Right from the beginning of my 3-month trip to Japan, two things I wanted to do at any cost, were visit Mt. Fuji and ride a bullet train. It was this day that both my wishes were about to come true. The coach for our most anticipated (and worshiped throughout our entire stay) “day tour” of Mt Fuji and Hakone was scheduled to leave at 8 in the morning. Knowing the Japanese custom by then, I was sure that it would leave on the dot of 8. I left from my apartment at 7:00 AM (still half asleep) which gave me just enough time to reach the boarding point. But I realised that I had boarded the wrong metro line, which was headed in exactly the opposite direction of our expected station!
I got out at next station and boarded the correct train from the next platform; I was almost sure by then about the fact that I would miss my trip. Still, I decided to give it a shot. After reaching the station, the difficult part was to find the correct way to the bus boarding point. At 2 minutes to 8 o’clock, I lost all hope of finding the place in time. Frantically running here and there, I finally came across a map which pointed me to the correct place which luckily was just a few meters away. I reached the point 5 minutes past schedule and that’s when I was confronted by the above words. I was directed towards the coach with fellow travellers who had already boarded and giving me the “that’s the culprit” look.
On To Mount Fuji Visitor Centre
Boarding the coach, I start for the tour with huge admiration for these beautifully cultured people.
Our guide for the day was a thinner and older version of “Daniel Dae Kim” with typical guide-like sense of humour. With my fresh, overwhelming experience of Japanese people, I fell in love with him as well. Tokyo to Mt. Fuji visitor centre is almost 2.5 hours drive. After the introductory explanations of history and geology of Mt. Fuji by our guide, there was not much to do except sleep OR look at the beautiful Japanese countryside from my window. I chose to do both in regular (or rather irregular) intervals.
Mt. Fuji Visitor centre has a small museum-like exhibit where you can learn about the history and Geology of Japan’s highest mountain. You can brush up your knowledge here in case you could not catch the Japanese-accented English of your guide. On a clear day, you get a spectacular view of Mt Fuji from the second floor observation deck. You can view Mt. Fuji with its distinctly symbolic ice-topped tip and clear base from this observation deck.
After the visitor centre, the coach proceeded to Mt. Fuji’s 5th station, located at approx 2,020 meters above sea level. There are shrines, Torii gates and souvenir shops around. This includes panoramic views of the surrounding mountains in all directions. Soak in the exciting atmosphere of 5th Station; you might even spot some climbers preparing for their adventure.
Lunch & A Visit To Hakone National Park
We began our descend towards the restaurant where our Japanese lunch was scheduled. I opted for a Japanese lunch with a sense of adventure and did not regret at all! The food was scrumptious and comprised of sticky rice, sashimi and various sauces.
After having a bite to eat, we drove to the nearby Lake Ashi, located in Hakone National Park. We had a short cruise trip scheduled here. After we had admired the spectacular scenery of the pristine waters surrounded by Mt Komagatake, Mt Fuji and other mountains on our boat trip, we headed to Mt. Komagatake Ropeway, which took us above Lake Ashi to the top of the mountain. You can spend time here admiring the panoramic views of Lake Ashi, the Owakudani valley and obviously Mt. Fuji. There is a beautiful shrine on the mountain, which I felt was the most quiet, and peaceful place on the earth!
Coming back from rope way, our coach drove us to the Hakone station.
The Much-Awaited Bullet Train Ride!
This was truly the icing on the cake of our amazing day on Mt. Fuji. We were supposed to board the most famous Bullet Train, Shinkansen, to get to Tokyo. This serpentine-looking train was really handsome from the outside and equally high standard from inside with high quality seats and equipment. The ride was so smooth that once we got into it, we didn’t realize when it started and reached the Tokyo Station. Time literally flies when you’re travelling at 200 mph after all!
I ended my trip with extreme high regard and admiration of this country, its people, its natural beauty and its technology. It was really a new Japan I saw that day!
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About The Author
Anand Desai (though Software Engineer by profession) is a travel freak, photography enthusiast and a hardcore foodie and cook. His passion is to write about travel and capture memories in photos and articles. Travel doesn’t mean reaching a destination for him; he believes that it’s the journey which changes one’s life. Anand is also learning the food history of India and planning a journey through India to explore the history of local cuisines. Anand’s motto in life is: LIFE IS ABOUT GOING PLACES! Because no matter where you have been OR how far you have come, THERE IS ALWAYS FURTHER TO GO!