My first major excursion in Japan was to (of course) see Mt. Fuji.
I love hiking and backpacking, so I was bummed to learn that the main climbing season had just ended due to monsoons. It normally lasts from mid-July to mid-September, so try to visit then! I was only able to hike around the 5th Station, about an hour’s bus ride up the mountain and 2300 meters above sea level.
There were actually a lot of shops and some restaurants up there, which I thought was a bit odd. I prefer a natural mountain setting, so I was sure to hike around some of the open trails, where I found wildlife and solitude. I was quite lucky to have clear skies and amazing views, but I did think that the view of Mt. Fuji was almost as impressive as the view from the mountain top.
I spent an afternoon atop a neighboring mountain, Mt. Kachi Kachi. There is a cheap cable car you can easily take to the top, where you get incredible views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi.
Also atop this mountain is a strange storytelling of the Kachikachi-yama folktale involving a raccoon and a bunny. The two are enemies, the raccoon being the “bad guy.” The rabbit enacts various ploys to take down the raccoon, which eventually end in a deathly boat race, to avenge the death of a farmer’s wife. It was certainly an intriguing story, and equally amusing were the raccoon and rabbit caricature statues scattered atop the mountain.
The other stunning views I had of Mt. Fuji were from an afternoon swan boat ride on Lake Kawaguchi and an evening bike ride all around the lake, with a bike supplied from the traditional Japanese hotel I stayed in. That whole evening felt so dreamy and surreal, as I stumbled upon wildflowers and every new breathless angle of the mountain peak. Here are some of my favorite photos.
I sure have never seen a mountain before with so many perfect angles! 😉