Day 10 (December 30th, 2014)

An excur­sion to Fuji-san (as the Mt. Fuji is called in Japan) was now on the agen­da. The famous high­est moun­tain in Japan is a vol­cano. It has erupt­ed eigh­teen times since records began. The last known erup­tion occurred in the Edo peri­od on Decem­ber 16th, 1707 and last­ed for about two weeks. After it was rain­ing almost all the time dur­ing the last days, we were incred­i­bly lucky on our trip. The sky was bright blue, just per­fect for beau­ti­ful pic­tures of the holy mountain.

Map in the Fuji Vis­i­tor Centre

After a good 2 hour dri­ve we arrived at the vis­i­tor cen­ter. There is a lot of infor­ma­tion about the geol­o­gy of the moun­tain and from the ter­race you could have a first look at it.

We con­tin­ued to Lake Kawaguchi (one of 5 lakes at Mt. Fuji). From there you have a great view of the impres­sive moun­tain with the lake in the foreground.

The Fuji behind Lake Kawaguchi

We had lunch in a rus­tic inn. There we were the only non-Japan­ese peo­ple and we had ” home-style cook­ing”, a lot of dish­es that are also sold in ready-made ben­tos. We did­n’t know exact­ly what all this was, but it tast­ed very good.

The whole area is dense­ly wood­ed, the land­scape is very beau­ti­ful and would invite us, if we had more time, to an exten­sive hik­ing pho­to tour. But so we drove on to a view point with a wind­mill! accord­ing to a Ger­man mod­el. Some­how bizarre, but the view of the Fuji is great.

Fuji with windmill

The next stop was Hakone. From there you can­not see the moun­tain because of a chain of moun­tains in between. We took a cable car from there to Owaku­dani sta­tion (sul­phur val­ley or val­ley of the big steam). In the moun­tains around Hakone there are many hot springs with sul­phur water. The smell is very present. Up there, eggs are boiled in the hot water (Onsen-Tam­a­go). This is done con­tin­u­ous­ly up there. The fresh and “vul­can­ized” eggs are trans­port­ed between the spring and the sales stand by a spe­cial­ly built mini-cable car. The sul­phates and iron ions dis­solved in the spring water dis­colour the egg shells. These then black eggs should guar­an­tee a long life when con­sumed. The eggs were very pop­u­lar, the busi­ness with them seemed to go very well, but we did­n’t dare.

Cook­ing eggs in volcanic 😉

From up there we had again a beau­ti­ful view of the holy moun­tain. It was an unbe­liev­able luck to be able to see it like this, because oth­er­wise it is very often hid­den behind clouds - that’s why it is also called “shy mountain”.

On Lake Ashi, on which Hakone is locat­ed, you can also take a “pirate boat”, but we missed the last boat, so we con­tin­ued by car back to Tokyo. On the way back the moun­tain showed up again in the last dusk.

We liked the trip very much, we plan to spend sev­er­al days in this area dur­ing our next vis­it to Japan (which we will def­i­nite­ly do).