Nobody wants to look at Mt. Fuji
Posted by Heliocentrism on February 20, 2015
Sunday, December 28, 2014
2 Hours early.
Because of our early departure from Popeye’s Media Cafe, we got to the cave 2 hours early. At first we thought about using this extra time wisely, by stopping at a laundromat or coin-laundry as they are called here. Mark and I packed only 3 days worth of clothes and, not including what we were currently wearing, we were completely out of clean clothes.
We stopped at one place that had lots of washers and dryers. (Sometimes, you find laundromats here with 2 washers and dryers.) We sorted our clothes and then turned around to choose which machine we wanted. Here in Japan not all washing machines do the same thing.
Some are bigger, but more expensive. If you can fit all your clothes into a bigger machine it might be cheaper overall than doing 2 loads. Some are exclusively for shoes. Some are heavy-duty and are meant for washing thick blankets and duvets.
Some give you the option of using hot water. This is a rarity in Japan. Most home washing machines don’t give you a hot water wash option. The ones that do, require you to get a hose that links the washer to your kitchen faucet or bathroom shower to access the hot water. In Japan you are supposed to get the germ killing power of hot water from the sun when you hang out your washing on a nice sunny summer day. What you are supposed to do in the winter or when it rains, I have no idea.
We looked at the machines and tried to figure out the cheapest way to get all our laundry clean. The smallest, cheapest machine was something like ￥800 ($8) for one load. The biggest was ￥1,600. We looked at the dryers. They cost about $2 for 10 minutes of drying. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve had to go to a laundromat, but come on!
We passed a couple other coin-laundrys, but they all had roughly the same prices. “I’m not dropping ￥3,000 ($30) just so I can reuse my own clothes. I’ll wash my clothes by hand before it comes to that!” It never came to that. The washers and dryers at the hostels were a lot more reasonably priced with an average of ￥150 to wash and ￥100 for 20 minutes for the dryer.
Instead of doing laundry, we took a nap in the car then went to Seven-11 for hot cup noodles. After eating, we went back to sleeping in the car. By the time we were thoroughly cold, the cave opened.
The cave was nice; not too cavy. It was big enough to walk through upright except for one small section. It was drippy, but well lit.
It is supposedly colder inside the cave than outside, but this is hardly noticeable in the winter. It’s cold everywhere! Except for the part near the in-cave water fall, I thought it was warmer in the cave. But, that might have been because we were walking along the path in the cave and outside we were just standing around.
We did prepare to be cold on this trip. We had 2 packs of kairo, the sticky and the regular type. The sticky ones come with an adhesive on it’s back and you are to stick it to your clothes, never directly to your skin. But I never feel any warmth from it when I stick it to my clothes. Once I said, “Screw the rules!” and slapped one right to my back. It felt like I had a nuclear reactor burrowing into my spine.
The best thing to do is to just hold onto the kairo and stick your hands into your jacket pockets. You could put them in your mittens, too. If you’re a guy you could stick them in your pants’ pockets to keep your legs warm. This does not work for the ladies; women’s pant-pockets are just not deep enough.
A Great View of Mt. Fuji
After the cave we headed to lake Kawaguchiko for a view of Mt. Fugi. Long before we got to our destination we could easily see Fuji on the horizon. Around lunch time we thought how great it would be to eat lunch somewhere while looking at Japan’s most famous mountain.
We drove for miles looking out for any restaurant with a mountain view. We drove and drove and drove. Every restaurant, cafe, or diner we passed had it’s back to Mt. Fuji.
We passed a McDonald’s and thought, “Finally!” We parked our car and went in. The place was not too crowded, but we wanted to make sure to get seats by the window on the Fuji side. But, there were no windows on the Fuji side. It was just a cream-colored wall. The only window in the McDonald’s faced the road we were just on.
There was an Italian restaurant across the street from the McDonald’s. We decided to go there, even though we could see from the McDonald’s parking lot that it had no windows at all. “If I’m not going to enjoy a view of Mt. Fuji, I should at least enjoy my food.”
The Italian food was pretty good. There were windows on the inside, but they looked out to paintings of Italy. You could look out one window and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Out another you could see Rome. This would have been all nice and well, if the real Fuji-san weren’t sitting outside the restaurant begging to be looked at.
We found a parking spot near Lake Kawaguchiko where we could park for free. We took a million photos of Mt. Fuji. I took photos of Mark and Mt. Fuji. He took photos of me and Mt. Fuji. We took photos together with Fuji in the background then some with neither of us in them. Then Mark suggested that we look for Aokigahara.
Me – “You do see that the sun is about to set…”
Mark – “Yup. It’ll be creepy!”
We found the forest some call the Suicide Forest. It was dark. I know that there is a hiking trail into the forest and that one should always, always, always stick to the trail. Wandering off the marked path could get you hopelessly lost and you can die of exposure.
In the dark I could not even see a path to follow. We went just far enough to say we went in, but not far enough that we could not see the lights from the cars on the road. I think Mark tripped on a fallen tree and we both decided to come back the next morning.
“The ghosts would be asleep then.”
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)
- Coordinates 34°50’42.7″N 137°38’55.0″E
193 Inasacho Tabata, Kita-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 431-2221, Japan
- 650 yen
- parking is free
- 9:00 – 17:00
- It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to explore.
- Check out the blue Illumination Cave in the waiting area.
- Coordinates 35°30’37.2″N 138°46’25.7″E
- free parking at: 35°30’46.0″N 138°46’04.1″E
- This is not long term parking.
- always avaible
- Go to the eastern end of the lake for great views of Mt. Fuji.
- There are many hotels nearby that have onsens with great views of Mt. Fuji.
- Coordinates 35°28’46.2″N 138°39’30.6″E
Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0332 , Japan
- Parking is free
- Hiking is free
- There is a charge for visiting the Lave tunnels or the caves
- There is no closing time for hiking. But, really, do you want hike here after the sun goes down?
- Vice – Suicide Forest in Japan
- If you go hiking here, DO NOT leave the path. Not only is there a chance you will see dead people, but you will most likely get hopelessly lost!
K’s House Mt.Fuji
- Coordinates 35°30’20.6″N 138°45’38.4″E
6713-108, Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru-gu, Mount Fuji, Japan
- Check in 15:00-20:00
- Check out 8:00-11:00
- There are a few free parking spots.
- This is one of the nicest, cleanest, and most organized hostels in Japan.
- The wi-fi is not that great, though.
- This is part of a chain of hostels throughout Japan.