THE DAY OF FUJI!!! Since there was a big trip to Kyoto that got canceled, we were a bit bummed. With a few free days left, we wanted to do SOMETHING. So my mom and I searched the glorious miracle of the internet and found this 2 day tour of Mt. Fuji. Wasn’t too expensive and completely 100% worth it. So to Fuji we went!!
Wednesday, Dec. 4th:
We had to be at the bus stop at 7am so we had to leave at an even earlier, ungodly hour. 4:30 am. *twitch* With the going-away party the previous night and lots of packing to be done, I got about 5 seconds of sleep. *twitch* But still, FUJI!!
Me and my mom were ready to go. Stumbled along to the train station, got sort of lost figuring out the right train, and prayed we could find this bus station we needed to get to (we really had no idea where we were going). We knew it was by Tokyo Station, but that was about it.
Isn’t the sunrise so purty?
Finding the bus was an adventure and a half! It’s the wonderful task of trying to find something in country where you can’t ask anyone ANYTHING because you don’t know a word of their language. It makes life fun! We got off at the right station but neither of us know anything about bus stations. I’ve never been a Japanese bus before. We followed the signs pretty well and got out of the train station only to find…. there’s about 230984 bus stations and we have NO idea which one we need to get to. Now, the tour was set up to accommodate people who stay at certain hotels (we said we were from this one hotel near Tokyo Station because I knew where that was and thought it would be easy to get to and find this mythical bus station). We go to the hotel to ask but they have no idea what we’re talking about. But these lovely Japanese people are so kind and we have this whole team looking up what this tour is and what the bus station is and calling the Japanese CIA… They were going to find this station if it was the last thing they did! And, bless them, they found it. A very nice man actually walked us there (it wasn’t even close to where we were looking). We made it /just/ in time and got on the bus!
Though it turns out… that was a bus that took us to another bus station… where we had to wait… for our REAL bus that would take us to Fuji. Complicated stuff!
But we made it!! Now, this is important for later: I don’t do well on moving vehicles in Japan so I didn’t eat anything because I didn’t want to get sick on a 3+ hour bus ride. My mom also had no food. This is important. The bus ride itself was great. The tour guide was actually really funny. Corny funny. My mom and I were laughing like dorks. At first it was uneventful, but as we started getting closer to Fuji, the beautiful landscapes came out.
Now, I’ve NEVER seen mountains before. Ever. In my life. And everywhere you look now, it’s beautiful mountains as far as the eye could see. I wished I had 29342309 more eyes to see it all. And then, of course, Mt. Fuji itself. My mom and I were waiting breathlessly the entire time. It became the running joke of the rest of the trip: “Fuji coming! Fuji coming!” (After the previous “Typhoon is coming” incident that happened to me before.)
At first was just a peek…
As we got closer, we passed this place called Fuji-Q. It’s an amusement part right next to Mt. Fuji. I wanted to go so bad…… but it wasn’t in the tour. *sigh*
We reach Mt. Fuji! At it’s base there’s a little museum-type-place. And we walked around there for a little bit. Mt. Fuji lava! O_O Didn’t know it was a volcano….
We had the best view so far from that museum. There was a special little balcony where you could take pictures.
And then back on the bus! It was such a nice day, the bus was allowed to go up to Station 5, which is the HIGHEST point a bus can go. That was awesome. It’s about halfway up the mountain itself. And boy was the road TWISTY! There were a few times I was certain we were all going to die.
Being unfamiliar with mountains, I really did expect just a flat space and then BAM! FUJI! Well, no… Duh… There’s a whole mountain range there! And it was absolutely breathtaking. We get up to Station 5 and I couldn’t believe it.
So, remember the food situation? No one has eaten all day! And it’s about… 3-4pm. We’re STARVING! Weeping! Gnashing teeth! Falling on our knees and praying “LORD!!! Send us Mana from Heaven!!”
And the Lord granted us our prayer.
I declare it now: In 20+ years of my life, I have never had any food, nor do I believe that there is any food better on this earth, than the baked potatoes of Mt. Fuji. Truth. 100% absolute truth. They were made by the hands of the Lord and given to us in our time of desperation. And they were beautiful. Slathered with like a pound of butter, we got baked potatoes and corn on the cob and were weeping with joy as we ate FOOD.
They had a little store there where we bought a sword umbrella for my father and Fuji air. Yes. They were selling Fuji air. In a bottle.
Funny story time. As we get off the bus, our tour guide gives us these coupons for a ‘free gift.’ Pretty cool. Free souvenirs! After we eat and we’re looking around at the shiny objects in the store, I take the coupons to get the gifts. It turns out to be a little bell with a nice little sign that says Mt. Fuji, Japan. It’s free and a nice little token. Now I thought they were some kind of sacred bells. You know, Japan, land of the ceremonial… stuff. Ring the bell, get good luck. Something like that. I ask about it because I’m curious and the bells have NO sacredness things at all. They’re for the BEARS. BEARS!!! You shake these teeny, tiny, jingly bells at BEARS to SCARE them away.
We’re all going to die.
Finally the time on Fuji came to a close. We descended down the perilous road to a little hotel next to Fuji-Q where we were to have lunch.
So remember the food situation. We’re starving. Had a baked potato and corn, which was enough to keep us alive, but still wasn’t much. When they declare they’re going to feed us, we’re ecstatic. The tour says it’s going to be a Japanese lunch. No idea what that meant. It turns out… it was our doom.
It was really gross. It really was. I’m already queazy because of being on these twisting roads in a bus and this food just wasn’t going down. Both my mom and I couldn’t do it. I think I had some of the lettuce… made a piece of fruit too.
And more Fuji because you can’t get enough 😀
It was time to move to the next part of our tour: a small little town by a small lake next to Fuji.
We reached the lake and moved from the bus to a big boat. We took the boat to the other side of the lake where we would get onto a gondola that would take us up one of the mountains.
If you look reeeeeeeeeeeeally closely at the next one, you can see a tiny little red torii gate. There’s a cool story that tells of a dragon that lived in the lake and caused havoc for the people who lived there. One day a priest came to the lake and did his priestly chantings and the dragon suddenly realized the error of his ways, converted, and became the protector of the lake. The people built this torii gate and a temple in commemoration of this.
ALLLLLLL the way on the top of the mountain was our next destination xD
We passed a few interesting things on the way to the gondola.
Then up, up, UP the mountain we go. What made it even cooler was the sun was just setting (which means tons of pictures). There was a temple on top of the mountain, covered in mist, and of course I had to go. My mom wasn’t too interested, but we went anyway xP
So ended the tour. Once back on the ground we said goodbye to our lovely bus people and tour guide and got in a cab to our hotel. We were the only people who got the special 2 Day package. We got about 9203843 pieces of paperwork that explained hotel things and special coupon things we got and tourist places to visit and all that special stuff that comes with a paid tour. We could use any bus/train/gondola for free. After a long day we finally arrived at the hotel. It was nice to get in there and finally chill.
And the view was pretty spectacular too.
Starving at this point, we NEEDED food or we were going to wither away and die. The hotel had all these restaurants, none of them too cheap. We went to the all-you-can-eat one and it was AMAZING! All you can eat crab legs!!! And so much other beautiful food. There was this strange cheese stuff… still don’t know what it was… but it was wonderful. But the best part: all you can eat dessert complete with chocolate fountain. Heaven. Absolute heaven. There was much happiness in my tummy.
Sadly, I have no pictures of one of the best parts of the entire trip. For obvious reason: it was the ofuro, the bath. It. Was. Amazing. Never mind I was the youngest person there by like 40 years…. but there were two baths, the indoor and the outdoor. The outdoor bath… was… heavenly. The air was freezing cold but the water was boiling hot. Which made it perfect. Outside surrounded by the mountains and trees and stars in a glorious rocky hot tub…. There’s nothing else like it.
The hotel even cleans your slippers while you’re in the bath!
So ended the first day of Fujiness. Day 2 coming soon!