We took three trains to get from Matsumoto to Kawaguchiko, where we would be staying for 4 nights. We saw some lovely views of Mt Fuji from the train. Ian and I had worried that it would be a little isolated being by the lake a few kilometres from the mountain but it turns out to be a tourist haven (aka tourist hell) with coach tours everywhere, souvenir shops selling everything and anything in the shape of Mount Fuji and every opportunity to charge money.
We couldn’t see Mount Fuji for a few days due to the mist and clouds around it, causing the kids to point at any other mountain and asking, “Is that it?” At one point, Seamus pointed to a pile of snow in a car park and asked if that was it! Finally, the high clouds cleared and we found it – hooray! From the scenic supermarket! The next day, it was gone again. There is so much snow on the mountain that walking season isn’t open yet.
“Found it!!!” “It’s behind you!”
We are staying near Lake Kawaguchiko. The hotel is expensive but quite run down, bit of a faded glory relying on the location for its business (reviews on TripAdvisor are not glowing). The lobby smells of paraffin heaters and everything hasn’t been updated for years. £200 a night doesn’t even include breakfast. Our next leg is a much cheaper airbnb accommodation which we are looking forward to more.
The kids enjoyed walking round the lake to Yagisaki Park, picking long grass and pretending to fish.
We visited Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine where Orla made a donation and rang the bell.
Apart from trying to spot Mount Fuji when visible, we’ve visited another Onsen (we are the cleanest backpackers ever), saw some wild monkeys and also done the touristy pedal boats. Ian managed to help Orla steer away from the crazy speedboats which seem to share the same stretch of water. Seamus reports their duck pedalo was “wibbley-wobbly and not because we were fighting, mummy.” The kids loved the ride – Ian less so as he understood the danger.
Tomorrow sees us making a long trip back towards Osaka/Kobe which will involve many trains… better find the playing cards and start packing!
Update: Just as we were leaving this morning (after a night of thunder, lightening and snow) Mount Fuji was stunningly visible. Here’s some quick shots we took just before catching the train, which sadly was the one next to the Thomas train.