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April 17, 2015 - Day 7 - Day trip to Mt Fuji

Had a 6am wake up call this morning.  A quick check of the weather then we were on our way to Bayside Station around 7am.  Took the Resort Line to the Resort Gateway and transferred to a JR line train to Tokyo Central and experienced Tokyo Rush Hour.  At the central station transferred to another train and made our way to the Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal for our 9am departure.  We spent most of the day on the bus tour.  It took almost two hours from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji visitor center.  Once there had 20 minutes to look around the back on the bus and we traveled up to the 4th Station of Mt. Fuji which is as far as the road was open.  Hopped out in the cold and took a couple pictures then back on the bus and down the mountain.  Headed to Lake Ashi for a brief cruise across the lake (15 min) and then on the bus again and a cable car ride up to Owakudani.  We had about 20 minutes to look around and were finally able to see Mt. Fuji.   Then it was back on the bus for a little over an hour to Odawara Station where we boarded Shinkansen (bullet train) bound for Tokyo.  At Tokyo Central transferred to the local line to head for Disney.  Grabbed dinner at TGI Fridays then took the Resort Line to Bayside Station and returned to the Hilton just after 9pm to call it a night and wrap up our last full day of the trip.



Thoughts & Observations
  • This morning we had an early wakeup call because we had a 9am tour departing from a bus terminal in Tokyo and taking us out to Mt. Fuji for the day.  The bus terminal was the same one we went to on Sunday morning but this time it was a Friday morning so we had to deal with the Tokyo commuters.     We allowed 2 hours to get there again since it worked out on Sunday including the trouble with the trains.     The train pulled up to the station and you know the image of commuters pressed against the windows.. Well that is how it was.  Luckily quite a few exited so we were able to get on with little trouble.   The next stop picked up more and it got rather tight but then quite a few exited to transfer at the next stop or was it the third stop.  Either way it was crowded but not jammed the rest of the trip.   No train issues this morning and we made it to our destination in under 45 minutes so we were really early.

  • Most of the day was spent on a bus driving to and around Mt Fuji.  There was free wi-fi which was nice.  The traffic to get out of Tokyo was slow going but moving.  There were only 2-4 lanes on each road which is not enough.. but it worked.   It took us a little over 2 hours to get to the Mt. Fuji area. 

  • Our first stop was the visitor center.  This was very small and being expanded.  The tour allowed almost no time there.  Basically a quick restroom stop, walk up to the observation deck and glance through and we were on our way.   We had about 20 minutes from when we exited the bus until we had to be back on the bus.   I was not impressed with the center. It seemed very run down and not very tourist friendly for a visitor center.  I am guessing once expanded it should be nicer.

  • The weather was ok today, but Mt Fuji was obstructed by cloud cover most of the day.  You could get glimpses of it from time to time but no clear pictures until the very end.

  • Next we drove up Mount Fuji.   We were able to go to the 4th station.  Usually the tour goes to the 5th station but the road was closed due to weather at the 4th.   I would have liked to have stopped at more than one spot along the way to get pictures but we just kept rolling along.   The bus was very very slow on the hills.  It seemed underpowered and not up to the task.. More a city tour bus than for mountains.. Or maybe it was our driver? 

  • When we exited the bus it was very cold and windy.  We took some pictures and looked around at the clouds/fog.  We were able to see a little but not much unfortunately.

  • We drove back down the mountain and headed for lunch.  The tour had a Japanese style lunch option which we did not purchase so we were on our own.   We figured the tour would take us to somewhere with some choices… it ended up being a hotel and your choice was a small restaurant or bakery.  We opted for some bakery and ate what we had brought sitting outside and trying to snap a picture of Mt Fuji when the clouds would blow through..

  • Next up we were taken to Lake Ashi for a boat ride on the lake.  It turned out to be a 15 min trip from one stop to the next on a ferry.  The views were ok onboard but it was fairly windy.   Also annoying was once we got to the second stop we boarded the bus and drove right back past the first and it took over 20 minutes on the bus and you could see nothing.  At the least it should have been a round trip boat ride…  I could have done without the boat portion of the tour.

  • Next up was a Cable Car ride to the top of Owakudani.   The cable car ride was uneventful until near the very end.. We were finally able to see Mt Fuji as the sun was setting.  Unfortunately shooting through the tinted/dirty cable car windows was not ideal.  As soon as I exited the car I walked quickly to try and get a view and as I came around the corner saw absolutely nothing but white!  Mt Fuji had disappeared on me again!   I was disappointed at this point but kept walking and watching and the mountain slowly came back into view.  Seems the setting sun was reflecting off the clouds and that was the problem.  I managed to find a spot with a decent view and get some pictures (as well as getting windblown!). 

  • The finale to the trip was a bullet train ride back to Tokyo.  We boarded the train in Odawara Station and it was a little over 30 minutes to cover the 80km back to Tokyo including a stop.  The train line we were on can go over 150mph and up to 200mph.      It was very impressive to see the train travel through the station.  We saw a couple pass by while waiting for ours.    It was more impressive to watch it go by than to be on it.   Onboard it was very smooth and quiet.   The ride felt like a very fast car.. Almost like an airplane on the runway.   I would have liked to have ridden during the day time vs at night to get a better feel for speed. I also found it poor our seats were in the unreserved space and it was a free for all. They really did not warn us of this so were were all spread out and on aisle rows. At the stop I did manage to move to a window but it would have been nice to know I would have made it a bigger priority to push my way on first and seek a window!

  • Once at Tokyo Central Station we found our way back to Disney without a problem and it was uneventful.  It was after 8pm when we got back and we were very hungry so opted to go to TGI Fridays in Ikspiari since we knew we would fill up there.  After dinner headed back to the hotel to call it a night.

  • Overall the tour was ok.  I was very happy to see some of the country and get a couple pictures of Mt. Fuji.  The bullet train ride was impressive and a great way to end the trip.   The tour guide was not that impressive.  She spend more time talking about her life and general culture than the places we were visiting.  So I did not learn a whole lot.  I would have liked to have skipped the boat ride and made an early train to ride it during the day, but that was not an option.

Pedometer Stats
Miles 4.0
Steps 10,574
Moderate Steps 5,390
Moderate Steps/Time 49


Day 7 - Mt Fuji Friday, April 17, 2015
A day trip to Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi and a bullet train ride back to Tokyo.


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