Yamanashi

Kawaguchiko Travel Blog

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my first real view of mt. fuji from the bus
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I took a two day trip with the Sophia Walking Circle to 山梨 (Yamanshi). One of the many events put on by the walking circle, this trip to the Chubu region of Japan (about an hour and a half west of Tokyo) was an autumn picnic/retreat. It was nice to be able to see 富士山 (Mt. Fuji), eat some good food, and spend time walking and touring the sites around Yamanashi. It was cold, but we were fortunate to have clear weather.

We took a bus from Shinjuku to Yamanashi and arrived at lunch time. Lunch took place at a restaurant that served the region's famous noodles called ほうとう(houtou).
houtou famous noodles!
Similar to udon, but slightly thicker, the soup was nice and hearty, a meal to prepare us for the adventures ahead. After lunch we split up into smaller groups and our group took a bus up near 河口湖 (Lake Kawaguchi) where we got off to walk to a lava cave. The walk was nice, but because our bus was late, we didn't have much time to tour the area. We made it to the cave which was surprisingly a short course (literally a trip down into the cave and back in 15 minutes) and not as cold as I had anticipated it to be (the sign at the entrance said that it was 0 degrees celsius inside the cave, although it felt much warmer). There wasn't much to see inside either. We were slightly disappointed in the cave, but it was still a nice walk through a forest to get there. We were all anticipating eating some soft cream back at the gift shop, but in the 15 minutes we had been at the cave, the shop had closed.
the houtou restaurant
We left empty handed.

We took the bus back to meet the other groups, which was a surprisingly fatiguing 45 minute ride back. Being that it was the last bus (which also happened to be very small) and everyone was trying to get on it, many of us had to stand and were packed in like it was the rush hour train back in Tokyo. After meeting up with the other groups, we all headed to our 旅館 (ryokan) where we were staying for the night. We checked in, had a nice Japanese dinner and bath, and ended the day with a drinking party.

The next day, after checking out, we split up into our groups and went to different tourist sites. Our group headed up to カチカチ山 (Kachi-kachi Mountain) and rode the ropeway to the top. Kachi-kachi is Japanese onomatopoeia for fire crackling. This mountain is famous because there's a legend behind it (for a brief summary, check out wikipedia: http://en.
kawaguchiko
wikipedia.org/wiki/Kachi-kachi_Yama/). The top of the mountain was beautiful with spectacular views of Mt. Fuji and Kawaguchi-ko. We had a picnic lunch up at the top.

Our next stop was the 猿まわし (monkey show). This was perhaps one of the stranger things I've seen while in Japan. Essentially set up sort of like a circus, there are performers on stage who bring out monkeys and do tricks with them. I felt kind of sad for the monkeys, but it was an experience nonetheless. Check out the video.

After the show, we had to head back and meet up with everyone else to head back home to Shinjuku. Our bus was late leaving the monkey show and we had to walk half the way back to the main bus station. We were the last ones on, but made it in time and took a sleepy 2 hour ride home. I enjoyed the trip; it was a nice getaway and I loved seeing the beautiful fall of Yamanashi.
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my first real view of mt. fuji fro…
my first real view of mt. fuji fr…
houtou famous noodles!
houtou famous noodles!
the houtou restaurant
the houtou restaurant
kawaguchiko
kawaguchiko
the sign said 0 degrees celsius, n…
the sign said 0 degrees celsius, …
i wish we wouldve had the まん…
i wish we would've had the まん…
heading down into the lava cave
heading down into the lava cave
inside the cave
inside the cave
you can just barely see the top of…
you can just barely see the top o…
our dinner at the ryokan
our dinner at the ryokan
the drinking party begins!
the drinking party begins!
a perfect mountain?
a perfect mountain?
outside the ryokan
outside the ryokan
the monkey show
the monkey show
complete with really tall stilts
complete with really tall stilts
my thanksgiving dinner: ramen.
my thanksgiving dinner: ramen.
A scene from the monkey show in Y…
Kawaguchiko
photo by: Biglush_23