Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mount Fuji: A Second Attempt at Japan’s Mighty Mountain


Same time last year, my favorite travel buddies and I went to the Land of Sushi for a quick five-day jaunt—my first ever trip to Japan. We had great plans on exploring Tokyo and its neighboring towns but a super typhoon coincided with our trip which basically interfered with our itinerary. We didn’t get to see Mount Fuji during our Hakone trip and ­we were literally roaming around Tokyo with fierce winds and endless rain on our backs. Nonetheless, we had so much fun, ‘coz we’re all together. On my second attempt to get a glimpse of this mighty volcano, I was positive and hopeful.

My mom and I had an impromptu Tokyo trip last November—our first tandem trip abroad. It was a fulfilled dream for her 'coz Japan has always been on her radar ever since my late dad shared his fond memories of the country when he did business trips there some years ago. Of course, my mom wanted to relive that.


Our Japan visa application was easy peasy and we got it after two days of submitting all the required documents. After securing our visas, we carried on with booking our flight tickets and accommodation. 

Check my step-by-step Japan Tourist Visa Application
Guide on How to Get Japanese Tourist Visa (multiple-entry)

I let my mom read my write-up on Tokyo Travel Guide for First-Timers which made her more excited about the trip. The last part of the planning process dealt with checking out the offered Tokyo tours on my favorite travel app, Klook. There are so many activities that we could avail for our trip but I let my mom decide on this one—she chose to have a daytrip at Mt. Fuji.

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
Autumn foliage

Where to stay in Tokyo - Click below to see room rates and discounts.
 

We scored a great deal from Klook’s ongoing promo during that time. The app's easy-to-use interface made my search effortless and stress-free. We just waited for the e-voucher that was sent to my email and saved it on my smartphone. This will be needed on the day of the trip as this will be shown to the guide (I love how you could go paperless with Klook). 


Every aspect of our trip was finalized two weeks before our trip. My mom couldn’t contain her excitement during those days.


Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog




Mt. Fuji (Fujisan) is located at Honshu, around 100-km. southwest of Tokyo and is considered as the highest mountain in the whole of Japan. A dormant stratovolcano (classified as active with a low risk of eruption), its last recorded eruption was in 1707-1708. Today, it is one of the famous landmarks in Japan because of it perfect symmetrical cone which is snow-capped for five months in a year. It is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a Cultural Site in 2013 because it “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”.

Discounted Mount Fuji Classic Route Day Tour from Tokyo

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
Japanese time is eerily on time, like always.
It was 7:59 am when we arrived at the pick-up point for our Mt. Fuji daytrip from Tokyo. Everyone looked upon us as if we've just caused a major delay. Apparently, we're the only ones left for waiting before leaving. We’re a minute ahead of the scheduled time and we felt as if we’re late—Japanese time is really something else.

The guide checked our e-voucher and then confirmed it from the list.

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
Our view from the bus window 
The group went outside where the bus was waiting for us. The heater from the bus was such a relief from the chilly morning breeze outside. I kept on looking at my phone to check our itinerary for the day and realized that we actually left on time at ten past eight in the morning—I love Japanese time.

The supposedly two-hour ride from Tokyo was delayed because of heavy traffic brought about by a holiday happening on that day. The autumn foliage provided a lovely background though as we both watched it from the window. 

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
We had one full hour in Lake Kawaguchi, our lookout point for Mt. Fuji.
Everyone got excited as we parked somewhere signalling our arrival. The guide mentioned though that Mt. Fuji was covered with thick clouds that day and all we could see was the base. My mom got really upset with the news. I then told her how frustrated we were last year in Hakone for the same reason and that seeing the majestic volcano is really all about chances.

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
Feels like I'm on a set of a drama series
The guide did a short briefing on where we could go around Fuji Hakone National Park. We were given one full hour to freely roam around Lake Kawaguchi which is one of the five lakes that surround Mt. Fuji. 

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
My mom's first ever autumn trip
Red, orange and yellow hues covered the pathway going to the edge of the lake. The sound of crunching dried leaves as we walk broke the stillness of the place. It was my mom's first time to experience autumn and she was amazed on the colorful foliage. She totally forgot about our failed Mt. Fuji sighting at that point.

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
Mount Fuji was shy that day that we only saw its base
Next on the itinerary was Oshino Hakkai. Just like the usual, I didn't know what to expect ‘coz I don’t usually research much prior any trip.

Oshino Hakkai Tour Autumn Blog
Oshino Hakkai
Oshino Hakkai is a quaint village in traditional Japanese style which is a typical stopover for daytrips from Tokyo. What’s special about this place is that there are eight ponds that have been formed off the melted ice from Mount Fuji. The same autumn foliage and cool weather greeted us as we entered the town.

Oshino Hakkai Tour Autumn Blog
Oshino Hakkai
There were shops, restaurants, and traditional Japanese houses around the village. My mom and I veered away from the crowd though and found ourselves on the deeper part of the town.

Oshino Hakkai Tour Autumn Blog
Oshino Hakkai
There were a number of ponds surrounded by what I suppose a thick forest. We followed the whistling sound of the wind which led us to the almost unexplored part of the village. Our leisurely walk led us back again to the touristy area. We then felt our tummies grumbled in protest, we haven’t had anything to eat and it’s past lunchtime.

Oshino Hakkai Tour Autumn Blog
Oshino Hakkai
We followed the hordes of tourists and found a food park in the middle of the village. Just like a kid, my mom pointed out to me a pancake-looking foodstuff as her choice for snack. As expected, it was delicious (my mom's totally in love with Japanese food). I could only guess half of what’s inside it but everything worked well.

Japanese Food On Sticks
Whatever these are, we sooo love it!
Our next stop should’ve been a demonstration of making the famous matcha green tea around the area of Peace Park Stupa but due to limited time, we skipped it. The guide was cordial enough to explain the situation to each and every guest. But this event led to a much longer time on our next destination.

Oshino Hakkai Tour Autumn Blog
Oshino Hakkai
Included on the itinerary was a visit at Gotemba Premium Outlets—the biggest premium outlet store in Japan.

Gotemba Premium Outlets Blog
Gotemba Premium Outlets
My mom and I weren’t really into shopping so we just strolled around and realized that the items for sale on the high-end shops were really reduced up to 90% from its original price. If only I have the patience to check out each and every store I’d surely find a good deal.

It was around eight in the evening when we got back to Tokyo. Although we wanted to go around the city to show my mom how everything lights up at night, we were dead tired from our full-day stint. We just had dinner and retired early for another round of sightseeing the next day. 

Mount Fuji Tour Autumn Blog
You only got one momma :)
Seeing my mom having fun was, and will always be, a priceless moment. Although she was constantly mentioning that the trip would be much great if my dad were still alive, overall, we didn't have any major mishap or misunderstanding all throughout the trip. And just like what I usually tell everyone, "I urge you to travel with your oldies, while they still can, and while you still have them."





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