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Great Escapes Hakone and Mt. Fuji
(Entered Mar. 28, 2006)
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Mt. Fuji is like, THE mountain in Japan. It's lofty volcanic peak viewed from any angle or in any season is enough to make a Japanese person go nuts and whip out the camera. Thing is, it's rubbed off on me too, so now when the skyline isn't too hazy, and Mt. Fuji can be seen shimmering in the distance (a rare occurance), you'll find me oohing and ahhing right along with the Japanese exclaiming over it's magnificence. And it IS magnificent believe me.
So it was with seeing Mt. Fuji in mind that Kumi and I headed out to Hakone last weekend (actually it was mainly in my mind, Kumi wanted to go to Kamakura). The last time I was there it was pouring rain so there wasn't much to do except stay in the hotel, take a bath or three, and watch TV. This time however the weather was good to us and we basked in the cool, clear mountain air and took in a grand view of Mt. Fuji across Lake Ashi! The sky was clear and the sun was shining except of course, right in front of our mysterious volcano. If you look closely at the the point where the two hills cross, you might see Mt. Fuji nestled in clouds. It's there, really!

hakone mt. fuji

Some patient waiting brought a couple more clouds to replace the ones that were drifting away so we gave up and hopped on a pirate ship to cross the lake! As you can see, it was necessary to make a couple of lubbers walk the plank. Arrrrr!!

hakone mt. fuji

At the other side of the lake, we headed up the mountain on a cable car and disembarked at a strange place called Owakudani where sulphurous steam was venting from holes in the earth. The smell was pretty bad but as a bonus they were cooking eggs in the boiling, stinking pools, eggs that when cooked came out black! (on the outside only, still tasted like regular eggs, not rotten eggs).

hakone mt. fuji

Suddenly the clouds around the venerable volcano disapated and we were left with a stunning view which I clicked about 30 shots of. Owakudani is actually a perfect place for viewing as long as the weather holds out (and you don't mind the smell). After a few more minutes the clouds decended again but I had fufilled my purpose in coming! I knew you wouldn't let me down Mt. Fuji.

hakone mt. fuji

So what is one to do after volcano viewing? Go hiking obviously, which is what we did the next day. When you're living in Tokyo you can perhaps imagine how nice it is to spend some time with mother nature, no people, noise, pollution etc. Hard to believe I'm only about 2 hours from Tokyo by train. Here's a picture of me hiking up Mt. Sengen in my loafers (about 1000 meters), who needs hiking shoes?!

hakone mt. fuji

Well coming down was a bit of a pain, I'll not soon forget the jagged rocks and how it seemed like I was hiking down in my bare feet, especially after 4 hours of walking. Anyway after snacking on some goodies in Hakone town, it was back to the big city again where Mt. Fuji and nature are but a memory, a legend.... Until next time!

hakone mt. fuji



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