Mt Fuji

Trip Start Oct 17, 2007
Trip End Feb 04, 2008

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

So it is quite normal to visit the perfectly conical Mt. Fuji and never see the peak.  Naturally, and with the weather karma we have had our entire trip, we arrived in Kawaguchi-ko, a town near the Mt. Fuji base to glorious blue skies, fresh, crisp weather, and splendid, unobstructed views of this great Japanese symbol, the infamous volcano.    Yessssss!

We walked the convenient 50m to our budget accommodation at the Kawaguchi-ko Station Inn (SO recommended) to check into our Japanese style room.  The best description of Japanese-style accommodation is "perfect simplicity".  You have what you need, no more.  Comfort is beyond measure.  Coziness levels are faultless.  We were SUPER excited, and as a bonus, we scored a room looking towards Mt. Fuji!  I'm telling you, good karma...

Kawaguchi-ko and Yamanaka-ko, which we visited are quaint little lake-side towns, incredibly quiet and serene, particularly at this time of year when climbing or even going to a base camp at Mt. Fuji is a no no.  As we had all of Lake Yamanaka-ko to ourselves, we indulged in the ultimate cheese-ball experience and took a paddle swan along with some store-bought inari and coffees out on the lake to view Mt. Fuji.  It was fantastic.  Picture-perfect views and a bonus entourage of swans and ducks followed our ridiculous yellow paddle swan around like we were their mother.  It was just gorgeous watching them paddle their little webs off, and if they couldn't keep up one of them would have the brilliant idea, "Hey!  I can fly!" and would launch out of the water to get ahead of us while the others copied the great idea and did the same.  I challenge any animal lover not to find that endearing!

There is also a hop-on, hop-off bus in the Kawaguchi-ko lakes area, and we did some sightseeing that way.  We stopped at a place called the Ukai Music Box.  Hmmm, sounded a bit corny, who wants to go to a music box exhibit except uh... well a music box aficionado?  Do they exist?  But our apologies to music box maniacs, how wrong we were!  This place was phenomenal, one room was a music box, a guest string quartet from Czech Republic played Christmas carols, a fountain synchronized with lights and music, and the entire complex looked like it was made of gingerbread.  Naturally, Mt. Fuji could also be viewed from there, adding the final touch to that mystical little place.

The entire circumference of Mt. Fuji is surrounded by lakes and small towns, and as a visitor you can go the comfy route and hang out in the touristy areas, or you can go the nature/adventure route and explore the many hiking trails and lakes, or even climb Mt. Fuji itself.  What a place!

Our short overnight trip ended back at our fabulous little Inn where we rolled out our futons, put on our yukatas (a robe of cotton, much like a bathrobe but like a summer kimono) and went to sleep in our perfect simplicity.  The next day we were off to Tokyo again to catch our plane to Vienna and say a very sad goodbye to Japan, but first, as Japanese rooms don't have bathrooms we headed to the showers upstairs to a fabulous shock.  The "showers" were actually another onsen!  What a dream!  What a great way to wake up!  Why didn't we notice it the day before?! They overlooked a Japanese rooftop garden and of course... Mt. Fuji on yet another glorious day.

What a perfect end to our Mt. Fuji and Japan experience.  We are mad about this country, and can't even imagine how beautiful Kyoto, which we were unable to visit, must be.  The people, sights, food, cities, hospitality, absolutely everything is outstanding.   As Scott and I discussed daily, sometimes hourly in Japan:  we'll be back.

Canaussie rating:

Kawaguchi-ko Station Inn with a Japanese style room:  5++ THE place to stay!

Ukai Music Box: 5

Hop-on hop-off buses: 5

Hiking trails and natural areas (but for the summer): 5++!!!
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