Fuji Travel Blog

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The view of Kawaguchi-Ko from the cable car up to the Fuji viewing platform.

I had decided to visit Mt. Fuji today and as I woke I was incredibly pleased to see that there was not a cloud in the sky - this would be the perfect day to go to the see one of the most famous vistas in Japan.  I had read that the best (and easiest) way to get to Mt. Fuji, or Fuji-san as it is known in Japan, would be to catch a bus to Kawagachi-Ko from Shibuya station.  Obviously it is far too cold at this time of year to even think of attempting the climb, indeed the mountain is now closed after some well documented deaths of western tourists in the early 90s but some excellent scenes are still accessible at this time of year from the surrounding countryside.

As I sat in the bus on the way to the mountain (as efficient as their trains - what else would you expect?) I began to realise how much the mountain dominates the landscape.

Mt. Fuji in all its glory.
  It can be seen from the middle of Tokyo on a clear day and as our bus sped along the expressway the mountain loomed ever larger over the mountains skirting around its base, its unmistakable profile draped in snow at the top.  The climate of the area around the bus changed as we got closer to the mountains, with snow becoming more of a feature of the vista.

I got off at Kawaguchi-Ko stop and made my way towards the cable car up to the Mt. Fuji viewing platform.  Kawaguchi-Ko is towards the north of the volcano and is one of the five lakes that surround the mountain, mainly towards the north and east, and has been shaped by the lava flows that extended along the plain many thousands of years ago.

Me with Fuji-san
  The last eruption of Mt. Fuji was in the 1700s but that was mainly gas and dust, a potentially more dangerous volcano but since then I believe it has been relatively quiet.

The scene from the viewing platform was phenomenal.  The graceful lines of the volcano were clear on the horizon and the mountain soared upwards to its full height over 3000m being gently buffeted by delicate white clouds.  The ground around the volcano was also covered in white snow - it was a real wintery scene with that washed out light quality so typical of the winter months.  Looking at this view you begin to understand the Japanese love-affair with this mountain - it really does command respect and is such a dominating presence on the landscape.

To understand the history of the mountain, and also to get further insight into the geology of the area (I did geology at university for a couple of years so I'm fairly interested in it) I went to the Fuji visitor centre which was about a half hour walk from the viewing platform.  It was very informative and contained some fairly good english signage and had information of all sorts about the mountain including the geological history, human history, plant and animal information and information on the walking routes up the mountain.

On my way back to Tokyo a middle-aged Japanese man sat next to me on the bus.  As we got close to our destination we struck up a slow conversation - my Japanese being practically non-existent and his English being understandably rusty at best it was slow going at times but yet again he showed the Japanese quality of being welcoming and beyond helpful.  He offered me nuts to eat and waited for me to get off the bus at our destination to make sure I knew how to get to my underground train.  Really I can't speak highly enough of these people - I don't think I have met a more helpful nation!

martinikitty13 says:
very cool - when i went to japan it wasn't clear enough to see the mountain. i'll have to try again another time. :)
Posted on: Feb 11, 2008
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The view of Kawaguchi-Ko from the …
The view of Kawaguchi-Ko from the…
Mt. Fuji in all its glory.
Mt. Fuji in all its glory.
Me with Fuji-san
Me with Fuji-san
photo by: jennjeff1