Nippon Express – 80 Days in Tokyo

happenings and experiences during my stay at RICOH Software R&D, Tokyo

Mount Fuji And The Five Lakes District February 4, 2008

Volker, Martin, Rene and me spent the last weekend at Kawaguchiko Lake District, an area surrounding Mount Fuji, the famous volcano. Unfortunately, the weather (again!) turned somewhat against us. While we still got some impressive views of Fuji-san on Saturday, it started snowing on Sunday and the temperature dropped below zero. The sight on Fuji-san was therefore also dropping to zero. Moreover, we actually planned to ride the rollercoasters in the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park on Sunday, but due to the extreme weather conditions the rides were closed. Bugger!

Anyway, we tried to make the best of it and turned the weekend into a wellness weekend by visiting two Onsens, both located around Fuji Kawaguchiko. Onsens are Japanese bath areas of hot source water, often as hot as 60°! They can be best compared to our “Thermen” in Germany, just that everyone is naked! Therefore, no pictures, sorry 😉

The Retro Bus, yay! The boat we took

Besides hanging out in Onsens, we spent Saturday touring around the lakes in a cool sightseeing bus called the “Retro Bus”. Using the bus, we visited Blueberry Village, where you can buy everything related to blueberries! Cookies, jam, tea, pictures, T-Shirts, you name it. They even had blueberry Kit Kat for crying out loud! (In fact I meanwhile looked at a picture of it and realized that it was Grape KitKat, not Blueberry KitKat.) After that, we took a boat trip across Lake Kawaguchiko, but after a while it got so cold, we had to go inside. We also enjoyed some very nice fireworks on Saturday evening, but I couldn’t really manage to capture its beauty in pictures, so at some point I stopped trying and let me just tell you it was great. We spent the night in a very nice Japanese hotel. Everything was the way how you would expect it from a Japanese room: Tatami on the floor, Futons for beds, a low table with pillows for sitting/kneeling down, and of course the obligatory vending machine (okay, it was not in our room, but I wouldn’t have been surprised).

On Sunday we didn’t do much because of the terrible weather, except the second Onsen and a trip to the most unspectacular cave I have ever seen. It was called Wind Cave, I have no idea why. It took you roughly five minutes to see the entire cave, and its biggest attraction was some kind of ice formation, which actually looked suspiciously artificial. Oh well.

For seeing Fuji-san alone the trip was worth it, and the Onsens were also awesome. Too bad that I caught myself a nasty cold. Had to go for a drug store today and buy some cold medicine. I hope I’ll get rid of it until Friday, when we leave for Hiroshima and Kyoto.

All pictures from the trip — as always — on my Picasa account. UPDATE: Uploaded a couple more fotos where I am NOT behind the camera 😉