30 Jul Mount Fuji views driving trip
Day six provided us with lots of stunning Mount Fuji views. We were aware, when planning this trip, that we had a low chance of seeing the iconic mountain at all. It was fantastic to wake up to such a clear day. Read the first part of our Mount Fuji drive here.
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We started the day by eating breakfast in our room at Hotel New Century, overlooking the lake and the magnificent Mount Fuji view.
Kachi Kachi Ropeway
It was a short drive from the hotel to the Kachi Kachi Ropeway. We were directed into a parking lot across the road from the ropeway entrance. We paid for a round trip and stood in line for a cable car. The cable cars make their way up Mt.Tenjo to an observation deck. On the way up you get a fantastic view of the lake and the Kawaguchiko area.
The mountain is the setting of a scene from a Japanese fairytale and novel titled “Kachi Kachi Yama”, hence the name of the ropeway. The story is about a rabbit who seeks revenge on a Tanuki (Japanese raccoon) by first setting him alight and then making his boat sink in a river. While it’s not exactly a friendly story, the characters are pretty cute. You will see them positioned on top of the cable cars and around the observation deck. Fletcher was too young to know anything about the story. He happily posed with the rabbit tipping the raccoons boat over outside the entrance.
Best Mount Fuji view
The best Mount Fuji view of the trip greeted us at the top. We really enjoyed our time wandering around the observation deck. We had our photo taken in front of the view and after Fletcher finally co-operated, it turned out quite well. There was a postcard with a small photo on it for free. As it was a photo with all three of us, plus a great view behind us, I paid 1000 yen for the full-size image. Fletcher and I rang the Bell of Tenjo, which is said to grant you a wish when you ring while looking at Mt. Fuji.
All up we spent about an hour at the ropeway and enjoyed every minute of it. Fletcher was getting tired and cranky so we waited for the next cable car down. Being first in line meant we could stand at the window of the cable car. It was such a beautiful view as we descended down the mountain.
Driving around Mount Fuji
We bought some drinks from the vending machine before going back to the car. After a snack, Fletcher fell asleep while we were driving. We had one of the five lakes left to see, Motosuko, which features on the 1000 yen note. We just pulled over as Fletcher was sleeping and viewed Mount Fuji from the vibrant blue lake. It was such a lovely day. We enjoyed driving and being able to see Mount Fuji and the different scenery along the way.
Read our guide on renting a car and driving in Japan.
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Visiting Shiraito Falls
After about another half an hour of driving, we arrived at a parking lot for Shiraito Falls and paid a 500 yen parking fee. We walked over the road to a 7-11 to buy sandwiches, onigiri (rice balls) and fried chicken. We ate lunch back over near the falls. After eating we walked along viewing the flowing water and a waterfall that was up the top. We passed by the shops that we would stop to look in on our way back. There was a long set of steps leading down to the falls and Fletcher insisted on getting down them all by himself.
The falls are listed amongst Japan’s top waterfalls and viewing them, it was clear why. They are fed from the spring waters of Mt. Fuji and are absolutely stunning, surrounded by lush foliage.
After viewing the falls we walked back up the steep steps and browsed in the stores. We bought some souvenirs, a bottle of Mt. Fuji water and blueberry cheesecake Kit Kats. As it was such a nice warm day, we decided to sit and have some ice-cream. I wanted to try a unique flavour so opted for a cone with wasabi soft serve. Tim opted for a vanilla ice-cream with wafers and chocolate sauce. Surprisingly Fletcher chose to share mine. Tim tasted the wasabi ice-cream and thought it was too strange but I actually thought it was ok. It was like vanilla ice-cream with a kick, I actually found it refreshing.
Weather near Mount Fuji
I had packed some warmer layers for this part of the trip as I had read the area could get quite cold. It had been cooler the day and night before which meant we saw snow on Mount Fuji. This day had turned out to be really warm and the snow melted as the day went by. When on the Shinkansen, we saw Mount Fuji and the snow had completely gone.
Shizuoka to Tokyo
It was about an hours drive to Shizuoka, where we had to return the car. We didn’t bother getting fuel as last time the fee for returning un-filled was very reasonable. It was more expensive this time though, so we probably should have filled it ourselves. It would have been much easier to get to a fuel station in Shizuoka than it would have been in Nagoya. With the car returned, we then walked to Shizuoka station and took a shinkansen to Shinagawa station, then the Yamanote line to Yoyogi station where we had booked an Airbnb apartment nearby.