Sunday, January 24, 2016

Asia Trip Day 6 - Mt. Fuji (October 2015)

Friday 10/30

Another must see in Japan is probably Mt. Fuji. I had originally tried to plan my own day-trip to Mt. Fuji but due to time constraints, we ended up joining a guided tour. We bought the tour through Viator but I think several travel agencies sell the same tour organized by JTB. The tour was ~$100/person and included a nice Japanese lunch. We did have to get up early in the morning to take the subway to Keio Plaza Hotel near Shinjuku to get on the tour bus.

Our tour bus. One return option was to take the shinkasen to Tokyo Station, but since we wanted to look around Shinjuku, we stayed with the bus option.

First stop was the Mt. Fuji Visitors Center where we had 10 minutes (I hate these tours). It was still cloudy so we could barely see Mt Fuji.

Second stop was one of the 5th Stations partway up the mountain. Lots of people and very cold. This time it was more clear but the sun was behind Mt. Fuji so it was hard to take good pictures.

Lunch: this was probably the best part of the trip. Main course was some type of noodle cooked in a miso soup.

View of Lake Kawaguchi(?) from the restaurant. Too bad we couldn't see Mt. Fuji from here.

Boat ride on Lake Ashi

The boat ride was nice but very windy, and we still could not see Mt. Fuji

The final stop was supposed to be the Komagatake Ropeway, which would have taken us up the side of Kamiyama. Unfortunately, it was closed due to high winds so they let us into a small crappy aquarium next to the ropeway. Oh well...

After the bus dropped us off at the Keio Plaza Hotel, we walked to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office to visit their free observatory. We walked past a huge bicycle lot with individual racks and you pay at a machine. Much different from China where you give some random person to watch your bike and hope it's still there when you return.

I though about going to Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree but ended up here because it's free. This is looking northwest-ish.

Southeast view. You can see Tokyo Tower in the middle of the photo.

For dinner, we tried to find something to eat at department store food courts. Typically these were in the basement levels and served cheap and quick meals. Since it was Friday night, it was super crowded and after wandering for 10 minutes, we decided to find a nicer sit-down place, and ended up at Wako in the Odakyu Department Store. It was katsu restaurant, very similar to Kagura in Torrance. I got the $20 pork cutlet set and it was excellent.

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