March 2018 Blog Archives

Japan Day 6 - Hiking (near) Mount Fuji

27 March 2018

On day six of the trip we hiked to a waterfall near mount fuji and then traveled to Kyoto. You can watch the video on my YouTube channel.

We woke up at 4:15A.M. to watch the sunrise, because we were told that it is the best time to see Mount Fuji before the clouds roll in.

After eating breakfast, we packed our bags and left them in the front office of our villa. We needed to store them for a few hours while we went on a hike to a local shrine and waterfall. The shrine was a 15 minute walk from our villa, and the waterfall was a 30 minute hike from there.

After cooling down at the waterfall, we decided to walk down the road that led back to where we started instead of taking the trail down. We also met a solo traveler from Luxembourg who hung out with us for a few hours.

When we got down to the road we were pretty hungry so we found a place to eat lunch. We were told to try the local Yoshida Udon Noodle which is only available in this area. It did not disappoint.

We then got caught in a downpour, so our villa was nice enough to send a van to pick us up and take us to the bus stop so we could make our way to Kyoto.

The 3:20P.M. bus ride was about 45 minutes long, and took us to Mishima station where we got on a bullet train. This bullet train ride would be our first on the trip. The train ride was a couple of hours long, and we got to Kyoto around 8P.M.

On day seven of the trip: we eat street food at an outdoor market in Kyoto.

Japan Day 5 - Leaving Tokyo

20 March 2018

On day five of our trip we leave Tokyo and travel to Mount Fuji! You can watch the video on my YouTube channel. It took us most of the day, and a few trains, to get there, but the views of the countryside were worth it.

To get out of Tokyo, we first took the local subway to Shinjuku station, where we got on a Japan Rail train at 1:30PM. This train took us about an hour outside of the city to Otsuki station.

Once we arrived at Otsuki station, we waited for our 3:15PM train towards Kawaguchiko station. This trip took about an hour as well, and we made many local stops while passing through smaller towns along the way.

At Kawaguchiko station, a van from our hotel was waiting to pick us up. When we got in the van, we were informed that we were being taken to a supermarket, and that we had 30 minutes to buy groceries for dinner and breakfast. Apparently, the few restaurants that were nearby closed early and opened late. The supermarket was a godsend because they had real peanut butter!

After we unpacked everything at our villa, we walked across the street to Lake Kawaguchiko. Typically the clouds part after sunset, unveiling Mount Fuji, so we waited by the lake and took in the scenery.

We got back to our villa after dark and made dinner. I believe it was some sort of burrito / stir-fry hybrid. We also found out that we’d accidentally bought alcohol-free beer. Oops.

After dinner we played cards, then went to the hot spring baths at our hotel. There were separate rooms for men and women, and we had to get naked and take a shower before getting in. Apparently the water was directly from the lake, and meant to have healing powers.

On day six of the trip: we hike to a waterfall, we leave Mount Fuji, and we ride on our first bullet train!

Japan Day 4 - Tokyo SkyTree

13 March 2018

On the fourth day of the trip I met up with my cousin who was also in Japan, and we went to Tokyo Skytree. You can watch the video on my YouTube channel.

Day four was our last full day in Tokyo. We took it easy since the next morning we were leaving for Mt Fuji. My cousin Lauren and I met up and spent part of the day together. She wanted to check out Shibuya Crossing so we went back there. We then got lost trying to find the sushi restaurant the rest of the group was at, but eventually made it.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the Imperial Palace (which was closed) and running into a popup Oktoberfest, before heading to the Tokyo SkyTree Tower to get a birds eye view of the city at night. Tokyo SkyTree was pretty neat, and showed how huge a city Tokyo is. I’d be interested to check that view out during the day.

After saying goodbye to Lauren, I headed back to the house. Unfortunately I didn’t get any video, but we then went to a local bar for a couple of hours. We had a very fun conversation with the bartender and another guy there, using their bit of english, James’ bit of Japanese, and a lot of assistance from Google Translate. It was a great evening.

On day five of the trip, we leave Tokyo and make our way to Mt. Fuji!

Japan Day 3 - Shinjuku, Shibuya, Sumida

6 March 2018

On our third day in Tokyo we attend the Shinjuku Eisa Matsuri Festival, walk around the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, walk through Shibuya Crossing, and see the Sumida River Fireworks. You can watch the video on my YouTube channel.

I woke up around 8AM today, so I got a lot of sleep. I was still laying in bed at 9:15AM, and everyone else is pretty tired as well. We have two festivals to go to today so we are taking it easy this morning. We left around noon to go towards the Shinjuku festival. We hung around there for an hour or so watching the drum and dance performances. It was possibly the hottest day of the trip, and incredibly humid, so we only lasted so long in the crowds.

To cool off we headed to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I bought a lemonade for 350 yen and we got in for 200 yen. We walked around for an hour or so, before heading to Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world. We stopped in the Starbucks that has a view of the crossing from above so we could take some video. There’s a timelapse in the video I linked at the beginning of this post.

In the afternoon some rain set in so we went to find some food. I didn’t realize how long it’d been since I’d last eaten so I was getting a little out of it and rather hangry. We found a nice place though and the noodles and shrimp hit the spot.

Newly energized, we walked to the Sumida River Fireworks Festival. Sort of. We walked down a street next to the park the fireworks were at because there were so many people. There was zero standing room, and the police were making sure nobody stood in the street so we had to keep walking. It also was raining on us. When we left we had to walk past one subway station because there was a mob of people trying to get into it.

We went to Ropongi Hills for dinner. Turns out it’s a really expensive area so we went to a German place. I got a beer and pesto German noodles with smoked salmon. We headed home around 11PM.

On day four of the trip I meet up with my cousin and we check out Tokyo SkyTree.