Unlike the schedule for the rest of the tour, Tokyo Day 3 was a pre-booked tour day.
For Day 3 it’s Mt Fuji and Hakone.
Like most of the tours we seemed to take in Japan, this one started off with catching a motor coach so we could catch another motor coach. We got a transfer bus back out to Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal again, to jump onto another bus to drive us to Mt Fuji.
Mt Fuji has been on my bucket list for years, unfortunately due to the timing of the holiday we missed the climbing session, so settled instead for a guided bus tour up to 5th station, then over to Hakone, lake Ashi, and Komagatake Ropeway. On the way out our guide kept reminding us that going to Mt Fuji was very weather dependant, and that we might not see Mt Fuji or be able to ascend to 5th station, and that tours this week had only been able to go to 3rd stations but that hopefully we would be ok. As the start to a tour for something that has been on my bucket list for over 10yrs I was feeling a little dissappointed, the fact she reminded us every 30min or so, really made it feel like she was trying to setup low expectation for when got there and couldn’t see it.
Needless to say when this came into view unexpectedly after a coner, my expectations weren’t so low any more…
Coming around a corner to see Mt Fuji, topped with snow was spectacular, our tour guide quickly started changing her little comments to advise us how lucky we are to see Mt Fuji so clearly and that normally the mist makes it hard to see. Seeing the peak got everyone on the motor coach buzzing with excitement, even though we where still a good 1 hour away from mountain, everyone was nervously chatting the whole way.
Fifth station is the highest stop that can be easily reached by bus/car and is the end of the Subaru line. It is the normal spot to start treks up the hill as well as the access way to Okuniwa “Tengus Garden”. The Tengus garden gets it’s name from the legend saying that Tengu (heavenly dogs) come out to play here. I found Fifth station to be sort of tourist shop on steroids, the surprise at the time(which makes perfect sense) is that viewing Mt Fuji from Mt Fuji isn’t as spectacular as viewing Mt Fuji from far way. (made instant sense on the Mountain, but didn’t even occur a little bit to anyone until we got there)
Unfortunately the view from 5th station wasn’t very good, with the cloud haze obscuring everything, hence no photos. Next off to a cruise around Lake Ashi and the Komagatake Ropeway. The drive from Mt Fuji to Lake Ashi is spectacular with pristine country side the whole way, and the awesome backdrop of Mt Fuji popping up around bends, the drive it’s self is worth the trip. The lake it’s self was crisp and refreshing, even to the dock water being super clear and teeming with Koi.
After a brief ferry trip, we where dropped off at the Komagatake Ropeway, now before we go up, if are planning to take this trip at any time of the year bring warm clothing.. lots of it, the top of Komagatake is completely open to the elements, as you can see from some of the photos it’s a great view, but there isn’t the slightest bit of foliage to stop the freezing winds. Regardless though the view from the top is spectacular, be sure to be at the front of the pack when going up the ropeway, the cable cars are big, but typically multiple tours are all going up at the same time, so it can take quite awhile to get up to the top if you are waiting, it’s the same for the return, if you want out of the wind be sure to one of the first back or you might be having to wait outside as there isn’t a lot of room. You also don’t get a lot of time up the top only around 20 min, so if you are last up it might only be 10 min, which isn’t enough time to walk up to the shrine and take in the view.
The top of the Komagatake is breath taking and peaceful, unfortunately for us we had our time at the shrine spoilt by some other tourists who thought that a peaceful mountain top Shinto Shrine is the best place to scream about having sex and drinking, even with this though the view was un-spoilt and gave clear views all the way back to Mt Fuji.