I may have fallen in love with Tokyo but the most memorable leg of my Japan trip was our short visit to the Mt. Fuji area.
The trip that almost didn’t happen because:
1.) The Mt. Fuji area is not covered by Japan Rail Pass
2.) We didn’t have enough time.
I was being ambitious trying to cover as many places as I can in a short period but I am glad I followed my guts because Mt. Fuji was ah-maze-ball.
The plan was to leave Tokyo early in the morning but our stomachs got in the way (note: grumpy when hungry) and we ended up missing the latest morning bus and reached Yamanaka late in the afternoon (3-4 hours travel). We also had to wait for our hotel service bus to pick us up from the station. While waiting to be picked up in the cold it also started to rain. Luckily, the service bus arrived before we got drenched. From the station it took another 15-20 minutes to reach the hotel which was situated up the hill/mountain. I originally planned to go sight seeing once we’ve checked in but the rain got stronger and since we were all worn out, we decided to stay in. The hotel had prepared some yukata’s (kimono) for us to use and I even got my mom to try one on.
After dinner, I heard my cousin screaming from the balcony. I was like what’s going on? Turned out it just started snowing. You see, it was my mom and cousin’s first time to see/experience snow so they were so excited. My cousin wished to see snow but I told her that since it’s already spring in Japan it won’t snow anymore but her pure simple wish was granted and I was so happy for her.
Once the snow excitement settled down, we decided to try the hotel’s onsen or rotten-buro (outdoor hot springs). Mom did not come with us, she didn’t like the idea of being naked in front of other people even if they’re all women. You can tell I got that prudish trait from her. I love that my first onsen experience was in this beautiful outdoor hot spring in the middle of the night and it was snowing at the same time. The contrast of the snow falling on my skin with the warmth of the hot spring was such a relaxing almost ethereal feeling. Quite the opposite of my hammam experience in Morocco, although they have similar bathing concept, hammam was more invasive. We tried other onsens afterwards but the one in Hotel Mt. Fuji was still the best.
The following morning, we had yet another wonderful surprise. I was aware that the hotel had some rooms that have views of Mount Fuji and we realised that we actually got one of those rooms. We didn’t see Mt. Fuji summit the day before because the fog covered the view. It was all dark and gloomy the previous afternoon but it was blindingly bright white the morning after.
After our buffet breakfast, we set out to the hotel gardens where you get an even better view of Mt. Fuji and yes it was truly majestic and beautiful.
Our Mt. Fuji adventure was definitely short and sweet. Both my cousin and I are planning to go back soon and stay longer. It was so bitin, we were not ready to leave yet but our next destination was calling.
Next stop: Kyoto.