Day 2 – Mt. Fuji, Tokyo
Although the hurricane was supposed to hit Tokyo this morning, it wasn’t raining hard. We were excited to see Mount Fuji on this one-day tour we had booked well in advance. Forecast showed rain and clouds over Mt. Fuji, but with an optimistic and hopeful mind we took a taxi to Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal from home> This was our pick up point for the tour bus.
We had booked our one-day “Mt. Fuji and Hakone” tour through Japanican and operated by Sunrise Tours. The basic itinerary of the tour is:
- 9:00 a.m. – Depart Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal to visit the Fuji Visitor Center by bus (20 minutes). Find out the current weather conditions, history, formation, and ecology of Mt. Fuji through exhibits and movies. The second floor observatory deck provides views of Mt. Fuji from up close.
- Mt. Fuji 5th Station (30 min) – Climb 2,300 meters (7,546 ft) above sea level for breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding lakes on a clear day. Torii gates, shrines, and souvenir shops decorate this station known as the border between the heavens and the earth.
- Lunch – Our tour did not include lunch, but you can include one.
- Lake Ashi cruise (15 min) – Go for a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi. The crater filled lake was born from a powerful volcanic eruption nearly 3,000 years ago and provides postcard views of Mt. Fuji from various angles.
- Mt. Komagatake Ropeway (50 min) – Catch sweeping views of Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, Izu Peninsula, Izu Islands, Hakone National Park, and more while climbing up and down the mountain on an aerial cableway.
- 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Arrive at Odawara Station. Ride the Kodama bullet train (non-reserved seating, 40 min).
- 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Pass through Shin-Yokohama and Shinagawa Station and arrive at Tokyo Station. Disembark at station of choice.
It costs ¥14,000 per person for this tour that does not include lunch and return travel by Shinkansen. It is recommended that you do this trip on your own rather than spending the amount on a group tour.
On our way to the mountain, our tour guide, Yoko, explained the formation and significance of Mt. Fuji and we had the opportunity to make a origami of Mt. Fuji with step-by-step instructions from Yoko.
After a quick 10-minute break at the Mt. Fuji Visitors Center, we reached the 5th Station in about 1.5 hours. As expected, the mountain was covered in heavy fog and rain, and there was zero visibility! So we stopped by this store housing eateries, post office and souvenir shops. First stop was at the counter where we were presented with our complimentary bell, then some Mt. Fuji green-tea cakes, sent postcards, got stamp on my Postal Stamp Memorabilia book and had boiled corn.
[Green tea cakes in shape of Mt. Fuji]
We stopped by this restaurant for lunch before heading to Hakone. Since we did not opt-in for lunch included in the tour, we had to order and pay for our own lunch, whereas the others got a bento box.
Next up was a cruise on Lake Ashi, from where you are supposed to get a good view of Mt. Fuji, but all we got was dense fog and rain!
From there we were taken to the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway, which by now was just a formality on this tour rather than any exciting views to see.
[Entrance to Komagatake Ropeway]
[Gondola on Komagatake Ropeway]
All in all, this day could have been excellent if it was not for the non-stop rain that the hurricane was bringing in. And at the end of the whole tour, we were excited to ride our first Shinkansen from Odwara station to Shinagawa station in Tokyo.
Thoroughly disappointed with the Mt. Fuji tour, we decided to walk around the streets of Tokyo and it being dark, we took the train to the busiest train station in the world – Shinjuku station – to see the “Vegas of Tokyo”.
While exiting the station, we saw this guy wearing a Wi-fi router on his shoulder, and he told me that he was selling wi-fi data to anyone who will pay it. All you have to do is pay ¥100 a minute, connect to his router and voila, you’re connected to internet!
We continued on the street to where the lights are! This is one of the most photographed area of Tokyo.
After walking for at least 2 hours, we headed back to Shinonome to our friends home. We had planned to stay in Asakusa area tonight, so picked up our bags and checked-in to Chisun Inn Asakusa.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = JPY 100. Each cost is for one adult.
|Chisun Inn Asakusa||$75.00||$75 per person, per night|
|Taxi to Hamamatsucho station||$25.60||¥2,560. One way from Shinonome area.|
|Japanican Mt. Fuji tour||$140.00||¥14,000 per person with no lunch and return by Shinkansen.|
|Lunch at Mt. Fuji||$9.35||¥1,870 for two persons.|
|Metro train ticket||$7||¥700. Single journey ticket|
|Souvenirs||$16.70||¥1,670: fridge magnets, flag, etc.|
|Water & snacks||$15.60||¥1,560. Coffee, biscuits, water|
|Total Costs||$298.75||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$1,351.80||Per person|