Saturday 15th – afternoon – Fuji
We took our first bullet train, or shinkansen, from Tokyo down to Fuji City in Shizuoka Prefecture. Pretty neat to see the speed on my map hit 166mph… Realised I didn’t actually know what ‘shinkansen’ translates to, so looked it up. ‘Shin’ means ‘new’, and ‘kansen’ in this context means ‘trunk line’ or ‘main line’ (though weirdly it also can mean ‘infection’ or ‘contagion’. Learning Japanese could be tricky…).
Fuji City wasn’t the most happening of places on a Saturday night (see picture). After wandering into “Café Bar Jill” (billed as a ‘British style pub’, apparently because they serve Bass),we found ourselves being stared at quizzically by a group of Japanese people – it seems we had walked into a private party.
Once we’d apologised and left, we found Beer Jam – a craft beer pub and café, much more to our liking. Their take on fish and chips was, according to James, the best he’d ever tasted. Back to our hotel – the grandly named ‘Super Hotel Tennen Onsen Fuji Honkan’ – much more what I was expecting from a Japanese hotel – very compact!
Sunday 16th – Daytrip to Shizuoka
Having a day to kill in Fuji City we thought an excursion elsewhere would be our best bet. Hopped the train to Shizuoka City (capital of Shizuoka Prefecture where Fuji is located) so that we could visit Nihondaira. Here we took a ropeway (cable car) across to Mount Kunō, and the original burial place of the first Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. This was the shinto shrine Kunō-zan Tōshō-gū.
Absolutely amazing shrine buildings, steep climb up to the mausoleum – and great views of the coast way below.
Monday 17th – Mount Fuji!
Started out for Fuji mid morning, left most of our luggage in a locker at Fuji station and headed to Fujinomiya to catch the climbers bus to Fujinomaya 5th station. This is at an altitude of 2400m (7,874ft), and marks the start point of most climbs to the summit at 3770m (12,368ft). Views from the bus not promising…
Had lunch at the 5th station, then got ready to climb. Sadly by this point conditions had been getting steadily worse. By the time we headed up the mountain we were being advised by the mountain guides that the forecast was for winds of 60km/s, and driving rain, worsening as the day went on. Climbed 100m to the 6th station and then decided to heed their advice and headed back down.
Witnessed a weary traveller who had just finished his descent from the mountain…
So headed back to Tokyo for the night, Tokyo Station Hotel was very nice – apart from the room service menu which was pretty awful!