Mt. Fuji is perhaps the most well-known symbol of Japan.  At 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft.) Fuji’s  summit is the nation’s highest.  I had gotten a glimpse of the mountain from the fitness center on the 46th floor of the Ritz Carlton Tokyo.  But as on my other trips to Japan, a good view eluded me.  To get a close up view of this iconic mountain, in April 2019 I booked a tour and hoped for good weather.

Other posts about this trip:

United Airlines Polaris Lounge, Chicago, Il – Lounge Review
Flight Review – ANA First Class 777-300ER, Chicago, IL to Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Tokyo Hotel Review – The b Akasaka-Mitsuke Hotel
Hotel Review – The Ritz Carlton Tokyo
Photo Review – My First Experience With Sakura Season
Shinjuku Walking Tour
Mt. Fuji Tour Review
Japan Airlines Domestic Diamond Premier Lounge Tokyo Haneda
Flight Review – Japan Airlines 777-300 Economy Class, Tokyo, Japan (HND) to Naha (Okinawa), Japan (OKA)
Hacksaw Ridge World War II Visit Report
Japanese World War II Underground Naval Headquarters Tour
Flight Review – Japan Airlines 777-300 Economy Class, Naha to Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Hotel Review – Park Royal Hotel, Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Lounge Review – ANA First Class Lounge Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Flight Review – ANA First Class 777-300 Tokyo, Japan (HND) to Chicago, IL (ORD)

Mt. Fuji Tour

I booked this tour through Viatour.  It was a full-day tour that included pick up from my hotel and transportation to the Shinjuku District where tourists were shuffled onto the actual buses for their tours.

Mt. Fuji’s volcanic cone rises majestically from terrain near the Pacific coast about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo.  It last erupted in 1707-1708.  It took almost two hours to drive there from central Tokyo via the Tokyo Metropolitan and Chuo Expressways.20190404_091047

20190611_212204 (1)
The bus was comfortable. Our guide used a microphone and loudspeaker to communicate.

Lake Kawaguchi-ko

The first good view of Fuji-san was from Lake Kawaguchi-ko.  Weather was perfect.

20190404_232252
Lake Kawaguchi-ko is the second largest of the five lakes in the Mt. Fuji area.

Tourists can also stock up on snacks and souvenirs in the shops and take advantage of the restrooms.

20190612_194710
This area is popular with hikers planning to summit.  Fuji’s climbing season is July and August.
20190612_194533
Snow-capped Mt. Fuji looks to me like someone draped a giant lace doily over the top.

Oshino Ninja Village

After 20 minutes at Lake Kawaguchi-ko, the tour headed to Oshino Ninja Village for lunch and ninja entertainment.

20190611_211303
Our guide directed us to the wonderful buffet in a traditional Japanese style building.
20190611_211358 (1)
The buffet offers a wide variety of dishes and a hot pot.
20190611_211535 (1)
Fuji view while eating lunch.
20190404_230741 (4)
I skipped the ninja show in favor of exploring the grounds but had a bit of fun in the restaurant with one of the performers.

Outside there are gardens and several ninja skills challenges.

20190404_225523 (1)
Ninja throwing stars.  Hitting the target was hard.

20190611_211755

Oshino Hakkai

After lunch the tour drove to Oshino Hakkai.  This village is famous for Mt. Fuji views and eight spring-fed pools of crystal clear water.  20190612_194920 (1)

We had 30 minutes to wander the streets of this village.  There are many shops selling all kinds of souvenirs, snacks, and artwork.  Side streets are less crowded.  Pay attention to your route because it can be easy to lose your bearings in the maze of small streets.

20190404_134023 (1)

I purchased a bottle of Mt. Fuji water from the Waku pool.  A government ministry declared this spring water to be some of the nation’s best.  It takes 80 years for melting snow on Mt. Fuji to filter through the ground and lava rock, enter the Mt. Fuji aquifer, and ultimately appear in a pond at Oshino Hakkai.

Mt. Fuji Fourth Station

Ironically, the least enjoyable part of the Mt. Fuji tour was being on the mountain.  There are about 10 stations on one of the hiking trails to the summit.  The tour was scheduled to stop at the Fifth Station at 2,300 meters.  Most hikers begin their climbs at the Fifth Station after arriving on buses.  There are many restaurants and shops.  Our tour stopped at the Fourth Station at 2,000 meters because the Fifth Station was closed due to snow conditions.

The Fourth Station has some food and a small gift shop.  Other than that its just a big parking lot.  There wasn’t much to do during the 30 minutes we had there.

20190404_224436
At the Fourth Station. Mt. Fuji looks like any other mountain when you are on it.

Mt. Fuji Chubo

Our last stop was Fuji Airways 4D simulator at an amusement Park at the foot of Mt. Fuji.  The simulator made it seem like you were sitting on the wing of a plane soaring through the skies around Mt. Fuji.  No cameras, purses, backpacks or other items are permitted on the ride so no pictures.

20190404_155110 (3)
The amusement park has several roller coasters and other hair-raising rides. It would have been nice to have had time to try one or two rides.

 Overall Impression

This is a great tour for seeing Mt. Fuji up close and in good weather.  Those interested in an in-depth understanding of the role Mt. Fuji has played in Japanese art, history, and culture would be better served taking a different tour.

Advertisements