Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mt. Fuji

We woke up bright and early, well rested, and ready to make our first attempt tackling the Tokyo subway system. We managed to find our tour bus stop with about five minutes to spare before they left. The weather was rainy, but we didn't care... we were going to see Mt. Fuji!

The bus left and we were on our way. The roads in Tokyo were crazy. Tokyo is so dense that we were on the highway.... which was two lanes going in one direction. We were on somewhat of a bridge (like a very very long overpass with the city below us)... and there was another level directly above us for the cars going the opposite direction.

We saw a lot of teeny tiny cafes and restaurants.

On our way... ready to go! 

The rain was slowly changing to snow as we got further and further outside of Tokyo... and slowly the fog set in. Our guide told us that it could change by the time we got to Mt. Fuji, especially since it was still early morning. 

Our gorgeous view of the Japanese countryside from the tour bus. I didn't change this to black and white... this was the actual color of the day.

After a couple of hours we were at our first stop... the Mt. Fuji visitor center. We were let out for about thirty minutes to get souvenirs and look at the displays in the gallery. We were told that there was also a great view of the mountain, but because of the fog we couldn't see it yet. 

The Visitor Center.

At least freshly fallen snow is beautiful!

It didn't take long before we were back on the bus. Our guide was pretty hilarious. She was very spastic and sometimes seemed a bit frazzled. 

"My name is Anna. You can call me Anna-san. "San" is Japanese for Miss. Or you can call me Miss Anna. Or if you forget my name you can call me Guide. But please don't call me Miss Guide because I do not want to misguide you today."

She informed us about what we would be doing next... 

"Next we will go up the mountain. On a nice summer day you can go all the way up to station 5 of the mountain. On a nice winter day you can go up to station 3 or 4 on the mountain. On a bad winter day, you can go up to station 1. Today... we go... to toll booth." 

Luckily they took us to the toll booth and let us have ten minutes to get out and take pictures. It just felt like rubbing it in our faces that we couldn't go any further. 

Soon we were on our way to lunch at a hotel. The hotel was to have a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji with traditional Japanese food. We were served raw fish, rice, and jasmine tea. We were not, however, served a view of the mountain... it was still too foggy. 

Our next stop was a cruise on Lake Ashi, at the base of Mt. Fuji. We had a while before boarding the boat, so we spent some time out in the snow to take pictures before we took off. 

The fog did give a very mystical feel to the day. 

This is a beautiful shot of our boat with the mountain in the background. 

snow covered boats.

Still snowing!

A pirate ship!

Alas we were on the boat... with a wonderful view...

I think this was important.

On the boat we were hopeful that as we rounded the corner we would see a great view of the mountain...

... no dice.

snow covered duck boats

Next we were off on a cable car ride up the neighboring mountain where we were to see a gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji. 

goooooing up! (Again, I didn't make these black and white)

The snow on the thousands of trees was really beautiful. 

The further we went up, the thicker the fog got. 

At the top. We then  noticed that the even the cables had icicles coming off of them. It was a little unsettling knowing we had to go back down those cables. 

nice visibility. 

There was a temple... but the weather was too bad we weren't able to go to it. 


Wow! What a nice temple!

That temple sure is beautiful!

This is a great picture of us with the stunning view of Mt. Fuji behind us. 

Well... there's nothing to see here... so lets just catch snow in our mouths. 

ice on the railings... 

Those are the cables for the cable car that we had to go back down... 

That's about ten feet of visibility! 

... might as well play in the snow. 

ice ice and more ice

Something tells me those won't work today with the two-inch-thick layer of ice. 

On our way back down...

And the visibility got worse and worse... at one point we couldn't see anything outside the cable car window.

Back down on the bottom. Japan is like a vending machine Heaven. 

We had about a three hour ride back to Tokyo to reflect on our stunning views of Mt. Fuji. On the way back our guide taught us how to make an Origami Mt. Fuji...

This was our best view of the mountain all day. 

Then she put in a video for us to watch. Luckily it was a video guide of a bunch of the tours the company does. Our Mt. Fuji tour was the last on the video. "A breathtaking view... something that will stick with you the rest of your life... stunning photography opportunities..."

Now, in my opinion, I think Miss Guide should have turned the video off before we got it rubbed in our faces.  We spent the remainder of the ride home a little bitter, but hopeful for our upcoming days in Tokyo.

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