This is a detailed post of my 2 weeks long solo backpacking trip to Japan. Please see preview and itinerary/index of my complete trip on this post.
Day 6 – Mt Fuji
Bright and Sunny Reception
My overnight highway bus dropped me to Fujikyu Highland Bus Terminal before 8AM. Night journey was comfortable and I had a nice sleep. It was sunny morning but wind was cold. Bus terminal was still closed, but visitor section was open and heated. I got refreshed at bus terminal. A coffee would have been great but since bus terminal was closed I had no option. I had been strolling out in rain entire last day in Kyoto. Almost everything I had was wet or moist by now. I was worried about my photography gear. I decided to take a break before going to Kawaguchiko and dry my gears instead. I spread my gears on a public bench to expose them to sun and I myself also decided to soak up some more Vitamin D. Not to mention my pant was also moist and sitting in sun was soothing.
First view of the Mighty
In about 45 minutes I was all set to leave for destination for the day, Fuji Five lakes (Lake Kawaguchiko). It was about 30 mins walk from Fujikyu Highland bus terminal. I should have got down at Kawaguchiko Station instead directly. Anyways I would have missed some amazing view of Fuji San if I hadn’t walked. Walking is always rewarding. “~ san （～さん）” is a title of respect added to a name. It can be used with both male and female names, and with either surnames or given names. It can also be attached to the name of occupations and titles. Since Mt Fuji is revered in Japan, people call it Fuji San.
By 10AM I was at Kawaguchiko station. As everywhere in Japan there was no vegetarian option for breakfast except plain bread. Thankfully cafe at station had a microwave and I had my usual breakfast of Granola with hot water. Sweet lady at counter offered me to eat Onigiri (Stuffed Rice balls). At around 200Y per ball they were not bad. I ended up eating couple of Onigiri as well. Later i realized Onigiri was available on convenience stores also and a good meal option for vegetarians.
I had no plans to checkin before noon. I deposited my backpack in coin lockers at station. These coin lockers are really a boon for travelers in Japan. I bought a two day Retro bus pass from station itself. This bus service is a hop on hop off type and wonderful to explore Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Saiko area. The cost of bus pass is 1200Y for unlimited rides for two days. There are not any more budget options, if you have to explore multiple places. Retro bus service runs at every 15 minutes in towards Kawaguchiko lake. This service is called “Red Line”. Another service “Green Line”, which is also included in above bus pass run towards lake Saiko and the frequency of this line is every 30 mins from station. With every bus pass you will be given a schedule in English. Please keep it handy to keep track of last bus for the day from each stop.
Game of clouds along the Lake
I boarded the Green line and got to banks of biggest lake of Mt Fuji. Lake Kawaguchiko is the most developed lake of all five lakes of Mt Fuji. I was feeling a bit out of place. I expected it to be trekkers and backpackers arena but couples, families were carrying big suitcases full of stuff. They were staying in resorts along Kawaguchiko lake. Actually there are only resorts along the bank of lake and mainly people come here to stay for a day or two in resorts only. Needless to mention all these resorts were expensive and out of my budget. I spent the day strolling around the banks of Lake. Unfortunately Mt Fuji was hidden behind the clouds throughout the day. Mt Fuji is a very shy mountain. I already knew Fuji is best seen in early hours of day and as day progresses Fuji disappears behind clouds. April is infact a perfect month to view Mt Fuji as this is when you get to see the snow covered top of the mountain. Few pictures I saw, clicked in May/June, show no snow at the top. I had no plans for the day. I just spent the day walking along the bank of lake
Visiting Natural Freezer
I a met a backpacker from Philippines. She suggested me to go to Wind caves along Lake Saiko. As i already had a two day unlimited bus pass I boarded the bus to lake Saiko. Actually Wind Lava caves are quite far from Kawaguchiko and it took me good 45-60 mins to reach at the caves. An entry fee of 290Y is charged for entry. These caves are natural freezers. The flow of air along the caves results in natural cooling and freezing. In the historic times, this cave was used as a natural storehouse and refrigerator, as the temperature inside stays at a relatively constant zero degrees Celsius throughout the year. The cave is furnished with a few shelves that store boxes of acorns and silkworm cocoons. It is the most easily walkable three caves in the area. Another two caves are bat cave and ice cave. I didn’t go to other two as I saw Ice in first cave only and people who went to both caved informed me ice caves have few more similar structures.
I planned to stay in Mt Fuji Hostel Michael’s tonight. At 3000Y a night this was the best option I could find in Kawaguchiko area. I liked the hostel very much. Everything I could imagine was professionally setup. It was neat and almost all amenities were provided. As in most hostels, free tea /coffee was provided. A hot coffee was a great drink to begin my evening with. I had cup noodles for the dinner and called it a day. I had to get up early next day to catch sunrise from another mountain tomorrow. Lets see if Mt Fuji will bless me with nice views!
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