Autumn in Japan Day 4: Arigato, Fuji-san!


One of my favorite days in this Japan trip is no doubt our Mount Fuji tour. Since the trip duration is long and it's not my first time in Tokyo, I considered including side trips that I've been meaning to go to.

When we didn't see Mt. Fuji last June 2016 from Yokohama, I searched over the internet for the seasons and months when this Japan icon will most likely show up and vowed to return. True enough, on December of 2017 I had the chance to travel again and did not forget to add Mt. Fuji as a MUST in our itinerary.



Mt. Fuji Fast Facts:

1) Mt. Fuji is located outside of Tokyo, on Honshu Island. Travel time one way is around 2 hours.

2) It is the highest mountain in Japan.

3) Scary fact: Mount Fuji is still an active stratovolcano. But it last erupted in the 1707.

4) Mount Fuji is iconic for its symmetrical cone shape (like our Mayon), and looks extra beautiful when snow-capped for 5 months in a year.

5) This mountain has inspired so many artists and poets. My fave most prob is the artwork The Great Wave.

6) Of course, you can climb Mount Fuji! Most popular months is from July to August. Note though that just the ascent will take from 5-7 hours long.

7) It is not easy to see Mount Fuji due to clouds and poor visibility. Best to book tours during the colder seasons than in summer. Imagine paying for a tour but not seeing Mt. Fuji, sayang naman! People consider themselves lucky when Mt. Fuji "shows up".


The Tour + Early Meet-Up

We booked our Mt. Fuji tour via Voyagin. There are gazillion other websites and travel agencies that offer different routes and stops to see Mt. Fuji, but the one from Voyagin sounds more sulit, and a bit affordable than the others. I also saw tours with stops that I don't really need, like outlet shopping. This particular tour from Voyagin has buffet lunch + a chance to see ninjas --how cool is that?



Our meet-up point is near Shinjuku station. After booking for the tour, they will send an email with all the directions along with confirmation of payment.


Our tour guide, Blaire, who gave us interesting information during the whole trip:


At the bus, we were handed a folder which contains our schedule for the day, our sticker of identification, and some cool postcards with Mt. Fuji:

I think this is Mt. Fuji during spring time?


Deegee and I sat at the back part of the bus. We woke up early for this, so we decided to sleep during the 2-hour ride. Walang mang iistorbo!

I was in deep slumber when I felt someone tugging my arm. It was Deegee, waking me up coz right beside me is a grand view of Mount Fuji!!!!


Grabe all the feels!!! Hahaha, we were off to a good start! :)

First Stop: Lake Kawaguchi

When we got off our bus after two hours on the road, it was as if I went inside a painting. The area of Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, is just too good for words.



Deegee and I decided to skip the "must eat ice cream" and all the other beautiful pathways just to get to the lake, stat. The thing with joining tours is that we had a call time for every stop, so we needed to prioritize or the bus might leave us. There was a stop na na-late kami, and it felt like a mortal sin, haha! Since then we always do time checks, and walk in advance to the bus so as not to be late again.

True enough, there was a lone photographer in our target location, and the beautiful view of Mt. Fuji ahead of us.

We skipped the beautiful flower gardens:


We skipped the ice cream break:


For this:


And this:


My favorite photo with Mount Fuji was taken right next to Lake Kawaguchi:


After admiring the beauty of Fuji-san, we realized that we were right next to this autumn field. We almost didn't see this because of Mt. Fuji, haha, pero grabe ang ganda din!



Second Stop: Oshino Eight Ponds

Our next stop is a nearby village called the Oshino Hakkai or the Oshino Eight Ponds. The eight ponds came from snow melt from the slopes of Mt. Fuji, which filters down the mountain through layers of lava, resulting in very clear spring water that you can actually drink! When I heard about this, I made sure I brought my empty water bottle with me when we went down the bus.



Again, we skipped the food stalls although they look so tempting, huhu:


The ponds may look small, but they are actually quite deep. You will even see fresh plants and large fishes, an indication of how clean these ponds are:



Deegee and I spotted an area with beautiful autumn trees. The ground was fully covered by orange and red maple leaves. If ever I look back on a beautiful autumn day, it will be THIS scene.


Hahaha!


We decided to go back to where the tourists were, as I kept on insisting Deegee that I just have to try the water from Mount Fuji. When I got my water bottle filled, I was satisfied na was ready to go back to our bus. They say that drinking this water will make you look younger, hehehe.



Third Stop: Oshino Ninja Village

After two awesome spots, we were all ready for lunch. Btw, our group is large but not bothersome. Everyone follows the time, and we were always on schedule.

I like the food that they served with this tour, and they are even considerate with vegetarians like me--no issues. The restaurant is right inside Oshino Ninja Village.



The lunch was served buffet style:



They have so much noodles and vegetables, and everything's delicious. I wish all meals are as fresh as these!


In the middle of eating, a ninja entered our lunch hall with a signage for the Ninja Show. This is not included in the tour package, but we just paid a small amount (800 Yen or less than Php 400) to get in.

No cameras during the show, but we were allowed to take a photo with the legit ninja during our lunch. So cooooool in my books huhu!!!

After the show, we went out of the resto with a view of this Japanese traditional garden. Mt. Fuji is still peeking in the backdrop, proving how everything is just unreal that day:




Fourth Stop: Mt. Fuji Fifth Station

The closest we could get to Mount Fuji!

The Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station is almost at the mountain's base, and I think the most accessible from all the stations. There are shops and restaurants in the vicinity, accommodating tourists and even climbers' needs (hiking sticks, oxygen, snacks) before they take on the trail.

It is so close, and so beautiful from this point:


We were also given vouchers for a mini souvenir (a bell) in one of the shops:




It reached -2 degrees while we were there, and I was wearing a skirt, a super thin coat, and no heattech and gloves coz I am not usually lamigin! Deegee captured my rare freezing moment, hahaha:

People fought with the wind to take their photos:


No regrets:

Deegee in the happiest place on earth, haha!

You can also have a good view of Fuji Five Lakes from the Fifth Station:

Final selfie before running to the bus!

Fifth Stop: Fuji Airways

Our last stop, thank God, is indoors! Although someday I hope I will have the chance to visit Fuji-Q Highland amusement park for a day to try their crazy rides. For our tour, the included ride is just the Fuji Airways, which is a 4D indoor ride ala Rialto. It felt like I was really flying around Tokyo to Mount Fuji. The experience is actually better than how it sounds!



Back in Tokyo - Shinjuku + Shibuya

In our tour bus back to Tokyo, Blaire our tour guide called it a very good day for us. Super lucky day! He played a Japanese music which he said is the theme song of Mt. Fuji, which I loved. It's a nice finale to the whole trip, as I glimpsed to Fuji-san one last time from the back of our bus.

Hello again Shinjuku! We were dropped off here and felt it was still early to call it a night. I slept during the whole bus ride, so I felt extra energized!

It was the most restful day din for me, although the day was packed, since we didn't have to commute and figure out train tracks thanks to the convenient Voyagin tour.






Deegee and I had two views of the city from above, one is at the overpass, and another one is at the observatory of Shinjuku's Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Inavail na namin since we're there nadin naman and it's for free.





Deegee also met up with his high school friends that night. I joined them for dinner in Shibuya, where we finally had a rotating sushi experience in this trip! This is most prob one of my dining MUST when in Japan, even though I only eat tamago! They always have the best sushi!







Price is per plate color, as indicated in the wall display:


You will see every roll prepared fresh in front of you:


I think I had five plates of tamago, hehehe! What I also love about this kind of resto is that you have everything you need in front of you. Your food, your glass, a knob for hot water and a canister with green tea powder, wet wipes, soy sauce and wasabi, etc.


Stacks of plates, who wins this round?

We also went inside an arcade so we can have a souvenir purikura which reminds me of what we had before in Manila aka the neoprints. Purikura is basically a photo booth with different designs and themes. This place we went to has so many machines, even stations where you can rent out costumes!



You can edit your photos after to make your eyes look bigger, add texts and stickers, or make your skin clearer. Then you print out a copy that you can place in your wallet or your Hobonichi. It's a very Japanese experience for me!


Watch my Autumn in Japan Day 4 Instagram Stories:


You can book this amazing Mount Fuji tour via Voyagin for Php 5,500+ only (inclusive of lunch). There are no minimum number of participants, so yey for solo travelers! 


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