“O snail // Climb Mount Fuji // But slowly, slowly!” — Kobayashi Issa.
There are many things I like about travelling. One if it is the scenery which takes my breath away the very second you see it. Admittedly, I have had too many of those, like the first sight of autumn, snow, inside the sea. In Japan it was Mount Fuji.
My knowledge about Mount Fuji came from brand studying in the university a decade ago. The teacher once said that Quicksilver uses Mount Fuji as their logo. Somehow that piece of information stuck with me, and that’s all I knew about Mount Fuji. We decided to put it in our itinerary at the last minute and I am thrilled we did. “Meeting” Mount Fuji was one of my most memorable things in Japan, admittedly I have many of those as well, I love Japan!
We woke up early, got dressed and decided to have breakfast near the bus station so that we wouldn’t miss the tour bus. As usual breakfast was fantastic even if it was a wee bit westernized. Maybe it’s got something to do with being three thousand miles away from our office on a regular Tuesday.
Mount Fuji is known as a shintai, a sacred body where Kami, the spirits or phenomena that are worshipped in the religion of Shinto, lives. I could understand why a spirit would choose Fuji as a shintai, it looked majestic, even from far away. That day it was red, the color of autumn, welcoming us.
The uphill bus ride was fun, and the scenery was gorgeous. An unbelievable-but-super-cool thing happened, our bus drove past clouds. Yes, clouds, that white thing in the sky that looks like cotton candy. It was only for a few seconds, and I needed a few more seconds to realize what happened but WHOAA.. I now know that it’s possible to literally walk on the cloud. People from this area must have done it all the time. They’d be like, “Someone called you pretty, and you are walking on the cloud? Heck, I failed my math test, twice and I am also walking on the cloud”. Perspective man.
Was the last paragraph weird? Never mind, it’s for my own recording purpose. Now back to the mighty Fuji.
We finally stopped at the Kawaguchiko 5th station, because that was the furthest the bus could go on that day. It’s a hiker pit stop point; they have a few shops and restaurants, a shrine and, maybe, an inn. We hung out there for a while. This area was considerably colder; I kept myself warm by roaming inside the shops and snapping a few pictures. It’s nice to see that Bahasa Indonesia is one of the languages they use in sales.
Sending a postcard from there was considered unique because it’s 2300 above sea level, kind of like sending a postcard from the Vatican which is located inside the city of Rome, it will be from Vatican and not Italy. I sent my parents one. After some time we got back to the bus, and headed for lunch.
We had lunch at a hot spring resort. From the look it seemed like a five star resort, but in a secluded area. I guess it’s catered for a weekend getaway for the locals than the tourists. I ordered the tempura vegetables bento, the girls had prawn tempura instead. The food scored A+ in both presentation and taste. It reminded me of my mom’s cooking. Not the cuisine of course, but how she makes sure to present the food nicely even if it was just for us. Thanks Ma.
We enjoyed our lunch very much; the cold climate increased our appetite, and I sneaked into the gift shop before leaving the place.
Back in the bus, I zoned off for a while, blaming it on the tasty lunch. When I snapped back on, I was looking at the scenic silver grass field. It’s golden in color. It was just so picturesque. I was too mesmerized by that moment that I forgot to take it in my camera, but it was worth it, being awed by it I mean.
Next stop is Hakone’s cable car station. We took the biggest cable car I have ever been in and flying the highest I have ever been on. Again the view was just breathtaking. We could see Mount Fuji peeking from the clouds.
We reached Owakudani. It is a volcanic valley with active sulfur vents and hot springs.
We had to hike a bit to enjoy panoramic view; it wasn’t easy, especially with a heavy backpack and unpreparedness, glad that I was with my friends. Along the way, Vi washed her hand and tapping the sulfur water on her face. I usually would disagree but giving she has the nicest skin I have to admit, maybe her beauty regime, however random, is working.
The whole area reminded me of the RPG game I played and competed with schoolmates called Harvest Moon. It was by far my most favorite game. The main objective of the game is to rebuild a run-down old farm and turn it into a successful one. Over a period of time the player tends to crops and livestock, befriends nearby townsfolk, and eventually in some series get married and start a family. In one part of the game, the farmer has to walk for half hour (our two minutes of real time including loading), boil the eggs in the hot spring so he can sell it with a higher price.
I know.. I know for the ones who never played Harvest Moon, you may think this is stupid but for the ones who have been harvestmooned you surely know what I’m talking about! What did you name your chickens? I remember naming one as Bul Bul after my first Tamagotchi pet.
There was a queue behind a shop there. My besties jumped out of joy when they saw the shop was selling the black eggs. These eggs are boiled on the spot in the sulfurous hot spring, which gives them a black coating and nicer taste (for some or stronger smell for others). Vi bought seven of it. It’s believed that each egg brings extra seven years of life. I wondered what was Vi going to do with all those extra years?
Our tour ended with a ship ride around Lake Ashinoko. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ride as it was cloudy. I couldn’t see the mountain, which is claimed to be beautiful when seen from the lake on a clear day. Oh well..
After Lake Ashinoko, we were ready to go back. We took Shinkansen, the famous bullet train, to Tokyo. In the train, Vi shared the rest of the eggs with us, still she ate the most, but I think it’s got more to do with her liking the egg in general than wanting to outlive us.
I am linking up with Bonnie from A Compass Rose for this Travel Tuesday post and it’s all my pleasure to do so <3