A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

The very modern and fab Kyoto Station

A Shinkansen bullet train...whoooossshhh....

Summit of Fuji-san!

Our tatami room in Kawaguchiko

Fuji forest snake

Mount Fuji (as it should look!) from the plane as I left...

36 Views of mount Fuji is a very famous set of prints by Hokusai, several probably known to you, including the big blue waves one and the red Mount Fuji. Sadly, we only have one view of Mount Fuji today, and it is through a small and occasional gap in the ever-present cloud cover. Mount Fujiyama san: Fuji means mountain, yama means mountain, san (in this context) means mountain (learnt that from QI I did).

Up early this morning and off on the shinkansen to Mishima, then a bus to the Five Lakes region of Mount Fuji. We are in a hostel by the shore of Kawagucha Lake, in what is largely a Japanese tourist resort, sort of Bowness with much bigger and forested hills. Its actually a very fine setting.

Fuji is closed for climbing now, so we're not doing this, but we were both very keen to clap eyes on this most iconic of all mountains. We settled into our Japanese tatami mat room and then went off to explore. Sadly, we hadn't seen Fuji on the way due to cloud cover (apparently this is usually the case), but climbed a nearby mountain anyway, and were thrilled when the clouds cleared enough to see the summit. It was however a bit of an anti-climax, not least as it hasn't got its winter snows yet! I have had to revise my plans of taking lots of postcard photos of Fuji, but nevertheless, the mountains, lakes and forests around here are all very nice and it is good to be hiking again.

(But later I added a picture of Mt. Fuji I took out the window of the plane as I left Japan)


It was misty again this morning, but off we went for a walk anyway. This was for about an hour through town and then up and over a series of forested montains to come down at the next lake over, Lake Saiko. It poured with rain all day long, though we had another brief flash of Fuji through the clouds. The walk was on nice - though sometimes very steep and slippy - forest paths, and was very pleasant despite the rain. At one point we found a snake that obliged us by staying still while we took lots of photos. We were also following these yellow plastic tags till we read one properly and saw that it said spider on it in big scary writing with a picture of a big scary spider and lots of exclamation marks! There are some fairly dangerous looking spiders, and it was difficult not to walk into their webs across the path. Luckily we only saw these signs near the very end of the walk, albeit in a spooky bit of the woods straight out of Harry Potter. After some futile waiting for a bus in the rain we got a taxi back from Lake Sai after sheltering in a strange Japanese meant-to-be-French hotel, slightly surreal but pleasant. And tomorrow to Matsumoto.

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