One does not go to Japan and skip Mt. Fuji if one has the chance to see Mt. Fuji! And so we booked the optional day tour with Gate 1, and got on the bus early in the morning.
So we went to Mt. Fuji! Fun fact: In October, there is no snow on the mountain. In all the photos I recall seeing, it is a snow-capped beauty! But: not in October. Because, ya know, it’s right after summer? When all the snow has melted? As happens in the summer.
The bus took us as far up the mountain as it could, to station 5. There are 10 stations, but vehicles only go up to the 5th: you take the rest of the path on foot. But only during July and August.
The view from the 5th station? Seriously underwhelming.
If you want to see Mt. Fuji, but do not want to hike it, skip the Mt. Fuji stations. It’s a long drive for minimal payoff.
After driving half-way up the mountain, we headed back down again and ate lunch. I wish I could remember the name of the hotel we ate at, because it was an amazing buffet. It had stations from around the world, and it was awesome. I ate some French thing that involved cheese and poached eggs, I think? The husband loaded up on pizza and german potatoes. Then of course I had miso soup and two bowls of steamed rice. And the dessert spread! Even tried matcha ice cream, which I had been curious about, but not enough to actually buy a whole cone. Tasted like … ice cream? Some people really, really like it though, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Next up was the best part of the day: Lake Ashi and Mt. Hakone. If you want beautiful views of Mt. Fuji, then Lake Ashi is the way to go. Well, Lake Ashi and hope for clear weather? Which we had, but I understand it’s pretty hit or miss.
There was some snafu that day, where some of the group was late to the bus at one point, which meant we didn’t get to the lake cruise on time, which meant we missed our original cable car time slot, which meant we didn’t get as much time at the top of the mountain as we would have liked. That’s the downside of guided tours, you can be at the mercy of the other tourists.
But it was gorgeous!! A quick ride on the lake took us to the cable car station (with a zoo?? I think we passed signs for a zoo?), where we rode up to the top of the mountain. It was incredibly windy, but breathtakingly beautiful. There was a small shrine at the very top, but we didn’t hike up to it because we didn’t have time. We needed to get back in line for the next cable car back down the mountain to get to the bus in time.
Oh, and here are some gems from the gift shop while we were waiting for our cruise:
Then it was back on the bus for the drive back to our hotel. I had started a hat at the commencement of our trip, and finished it on the bus:
Then it was back to the hotel, dinner from Lawson, and the husband promptly crashed again. I thought it odd that jet lag was hitting him so hard this many days later, I’m usually the jetlaggy one. But, eh, I supposed it was his turn.