The ride out of the Japanese Alps was most interesting; rolling green hills punctuated with flat rice fields flooded with water in the intervening valleys made for a picturesque tour of the foothills. It took three trains but we got to the area around Mt. Fuji.
I first noticed it on a relief map of the area… the total geographical dominance of the the volcano that is Mt. Fuji. Once you get to a high point (a mountain or a tower) it is easy to see the extent of eruptions on the landscape that has caused miles upon miles to be leveled creating this perfect symmetrical slope to the summit.
Mt. Fuji is a spiritual place for all Japanese and has been a symbol of their country for generations. The summit of the mountain has been designated a shrine and many people consider it the ultimate pilgrimage. I would really like to come back and climb it some day; Mimi has announce she will climb it with me too. We settled in Fujioshida on the north side of Mt. Fuji instead of Hakone because of some problem with licensing at our first Airbnb. We had to scramble and rent a new place at the last minute but Airbnb made up for it by refunding our money and giving us an extra credit.
The area was geared toward vacationers, there was a huge amusement park with lots of roller coasters near the train station along with a Thomas the train park. We didn’t got to the park despite the pleas of our children; we decided that Disney Tokyo was enough for the remainder of the trip. We only stayed in the area for one full day and two partial days but we ran into the same transportation problems that we have elsewhere, no taxis or ride apps. We did have a grocery store nearby and our place was really big, due to our late booking cancellation we got an upgrade.
On Father’s day I got treated to breakfast in bed and a pile of beautiful cards and presents that the girls had worked on the night before. Sunday was our only full day around Mt. Fuji so we went out to the nearby lake and took a ride up the local rope line to the top of Mt. Tenjo to see the best views of Mt. Fuji. The weather outlook didn’t look good up until leaving the house but once we got on the mountain the clouds began to part and even though we had to wait an hour before the clouds cleared it was a spectacular sight once they did. We snapped pictures galore and then hiked back down the mountain, I am sure the girls were happy not to have had to hike up.
We had lunch and then a boat ride on lake Kawaguchi on a speed boat, it was a quick ride but fun and reminded me of Lake Mendota. The weather had worsened by the time we were home and we had no more Mt. Fuji views. Julie was having a bit of a fit before heading out to dinner so Mimi, Caroline and I went for sushi, not a bad father’s day.
Once we were done with dinner and started to walk home we turned a corner and all of a sudden Mt. Fuji was just right there. It was huge and beautiful and larger than life, I began to really understand the Japanese preoccupation and reverence for the volcano. My girls and Maddy spoiled me and made me feel great on a truly special fathers day.
Next stop Tokyo!!!!