October 31, 2012

Day 1 in Japan: Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour

I booked a 1-Day Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour (with lunch and return by Shinkansen) from Japanican.com  for 16,000 yen or about $210/person.

I thought it was expensive and wanted to arrange the tour by myself. But I did not have  a lot of time to plan everything so I opted to just book the tour.

The tour includes pick-up at hotels. But  not all hotels in Tokyo are included. We stayed at Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu and it was not in their list of hotel pick-ups. Luckily, Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is and it's walking distance from our hotel.

The tour starts at 9:00 from Hamamutsucho Bus station after all the guests are picked up from different hotels.

The guide told us it's usually under 2 hours to reach Mt. Fuji area by bus. But that day, the traffic was heavy even in their expressway as it was a Saturday. So instead of going to Fuji Visitor Center, we had our lunch first somewhere. I forgot the name.

Our Japanese lunch. Yummy!

After lunch we went to Mt. Fuji 5th Station. If you're climbing up to the summit, 5th station is halfway though. It's 2300 meters above sea level.

Mt. Fuji 5th Station. Go inside one of the shop to get free your lucky bell and buy some Japanese snacks to munch during your tour.

Family picture at the 5th Station

Husband and Wife moment :) The leaves have just started to change colors. It's pretty. But I'll bet it's more beautiful now that autumn is already in full swing.

Our next stop after 5th Station was Lake Kawaguchi and Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway. We were supposed to go to Lake Ashe and ride a ropeway for a view of Mt. Fuji and Hakone National Park. Unfortunately, traffic was getting worse so the guide brought to an alternative location.

My boys at the Lake Kawaguchi before our boat cruise

Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi

Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway

Sweeping view of Lake Kawaguchi from Mt. Tenjo

At Mt. Tenjo with an obstructed view of Mt. Fuji

Hubby and EJ. This time Mt. Fuji is visible.

The Bell of Tenjo. The guide said it's believed that your wish will come true if you ring the bell while looking at Mt. Fuji.

Our last stop before we took the bullet train (Shinkansen) back to Tokyo was the Fuji Visitor Center. I did not go out of the bus because I was already tired but hubby did. He took this picture of Mt. Fuji with a beautiful cloud formation.

I love the composition of this photo.

Our ride back to the city, Shinkansen. EJ was so amazed and happy that he finally get to ride the famous bullet train.

The Shinkansen ride back to the city only took 36 minutes from Odawara Station. If you take a bus/car it'll take around 2 hours.

We did not get to see Hakone because of the traffic. So if you're planning a day tour to Mt. Fuji and Hakone, maybe you should go on a weekday. But then the guide said, that's also not a guarantee that traffic will be light. Oh well.

This whole day tour was a bit exhausting for me, to be honest. Maybe because I only had 3 hours of sleep before going on this tour. And the traffic made it worse.

But that doesn't mean, I did not enjoy the trip. We plan to go back there one day. I think Mt. Fuji will be majestic with a snow cap.