Today, we took a long, long bus ride from Shibuya to Kawaguchiko, a city just beneath Mt. Fuji. Navigation is a bit confusing because the city is casually known as Kawaguchiko, but shows up on maps as Fujikawaguchiko. Except, if you ask for Fujikawaguchiko, people want to know where in the city you want to go – that problem is solved if you drop “Fuji.”
Along the way, we passed gorgeous suburban housing and farming areas. In Japan, one of the firs things I noticed is that farming lands are often squeezed between suburban neighborhoods, as in this picture I took from the plane on the way in.
We also passed by some pretty cool bridges.
The city of Fujikawaguchiko is tourism-based. The businesses are primarily hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Given the proximity to Mt. Fuji, everything you buy is Fuji-branded.
We found a hole-in-the-wall tempura restaurant and gave it a shot.
From left to right, I tried a ray find (hiding behind the onions), onions, blue crab, squid, cucumber, and shrimp.
I also got a bowl of hot soba noodles, which I loved. You’re “supposed” to slurp your noddles in Japan, which serves the dual practical and social functions. The noodles are hot, so the slurping helps to cool them. But it’s also polite to slurp because it tells the chef that you’re enjoying your food. I had a hard time doing the slurping thing. I can’t shake the grossed out feeling I get at the sound. Ew.
From there, Kaelin and I headed to the absolutely gorgeous fifth station, one of many starting points for a Mt. Fuji ascent. I chose this route because it was easy to get to by bus and because I heard that it was the most popular route for climbers who don’t intend to “bullet climb,” or climb in a single day. I knew I was going to take some time to acclimate, so the trailhead at fifth station turned out to be a great choice.
I’m going to end the post here so that I can combine all of the Fuji stuff into one post, so keep an eye out for the next update!