Side trips from Tokyo: Fuji Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko is located right at the base of Mt. Fuji, and of all the five lakes around Mt. Fuji it seems to be the most accessible. Mt. Fuji seems to be most visible around the morning so if you are planning to climb the mountain or climb from the 5th base you should go take the earliest bus up the mountain and start your ascent early before noon hits. Just as seen in our picture, we got a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from inside the forest path, of which I will talk about some more in a while.

How to get to Kawaguchiko:

You have the option of taking the train or the bus. We opted to take the bus because, taking the train would take 1 hour and 30 mins with 1 exchange in between. But riding the bus would only take 1 hour and 45 mins with no stops. Which was not inconvenient at all, also much cheaper than taking the train. One way by bus from Shinjuku station, the new bus station located across the SOUTH EXIT of Shinjuku JR line only costs 1786 Yen, one way price.

Going back you just take the same route back to Shinjuku.

Should you stay overnight: 

There are many small inns, hotels and guest houses around the lake and I would suggest you take one day before to go sightseeing around the lake and go check out early in the morning to go up Mt. Fuji before 9am after breakfast or before going into the Onsen. I would suggest getting a place with an Onsen, going to Japan if you are a foreigner I think would be nice if you would try an Onsen for once in your life, my boyfriend tried it for the first time and loved it.

Kawaguchiko Station is surprisingly right next to FUJI Q Highlands, if you are a fan of amusement parks you could try heading over to Fuji Q, or add in an extra day just to do that too.

What do you see around Kawaguchiko: 

Kawaguchiko offers a lot of sightseeing, and they have a free tour bus that goes around the lake every 15 mins from every bus station. The bus stations are very close to each other so you can enjoy the different places and views from around the lake. I would personally recommend going to the music forest museum which was also recommended for us to go to by the hotel staff. They also recommended the ropeway and they gave us a discount coupon, if maybe you want to see the view of Kawaguchiko but do not plan to go up Mt. Fuji you should try the ropeway.

How to get up to 5th station of Mt. Fuji, and what you can do there. 

From Kawaguchiko station, take the earliest bus up to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji which is around 8:50am (The bus leaves every hour after that), To get a nice view go up the 3rd floor where there are no tourists and wait for a nice view of Mt. Fuji. You can also send postcards from Mt. Fuji, its one of the only places with a post office on top of a mountain other than everest.

There is also an option to climb or hike up to the 6th station if the weather is good, but there is a secret path that not many know on the 5th station, it is the hike around the middle of the 5th section, you will see a forest path right next to the bus station which is right beside the secluded souvenir shop on the other side of the tourist trap side where all the tourists are taking pictures. On the right side of the bus station, go up the steps and you can walk around the mountain where you will see scenic views of the mountain far more beautiful than from the actual 5th station.

If you continue walking that path you will reach the 4th station, if you are unsure of the route go to the information before going to the path and let them give you a small map to guide you.

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Coming early definitely had its advantages, we were able to see a clear view of Mt. Fuji and we really were so lucky. 

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From the path we were able to climb through this beautiful forest path of which i will never forget, the beautiful autumn leaves were perfect and the volcanic rock path. 

Things you have to eat:

Hoto is a famous delicacy there, flat noodles is what they call it and the Yoshida udon, which is made from the water from Mt. Fuji so they say. There are plenty of different stops around Kawaguchiko where you could give them a try.

If I was able to stay longer around Kawaguchiko, i would have liked to also try going to their vineyards and other farms where you can pick strawberries, persimmons, grapes and other fruits depending on the season. If you have time to look through the places around the area with the Information station at Kawaguchiko I would suggest that you spend a good one hour with the information planning your trip for the next few days, they are very accommodating and speak very good english. Hope that this will help you plan your next trip out of Tokyo! Enjoy Japan. ❤

三社祭 (Sanja Matsuri), Asakusa

There are many festivals around Tokyo every May, and I could`t decide which one to go to but my obaachan (grandmother) was talking about how fun this festival was so I decided to go here with a meet up group. Sanja Matsuri literally “Three Shrine Festival”, it is held every third weekend of May in Asakusa. The festival is held in honor of Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo, the three men who established and founded the Senso-ji temple.

We got here at 9:30 am for the start of the festival was 10am and we went around asking where we could see the Yakuza. It is rare to see the Yakuza to show all of their tattoos to the public and we even got a notice before going here that we might not see their tattoos due to the strict rules. As we turned the corner we saw this group of people almost naked and covered in tattoos. I was so surprised, when we asked for a picture they even requested that we take their back side as i am assuming it is something they are very proud of.

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Many Yakuzas and other people

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I got a picture with them too!

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He told me that I have to take his back side also.

The rest of the festival we spent going around the Senso-ji temple and eating all of the different Japanese food and delicacies. I wanted to try everything since they all looked so good, but I didn`t want to risk gaining another 2 pounds so I decided to just eat the butter potato and the ice tempura. My gosh, all the food here sounded so interesting, I would recommend that you share it with a friend if it is too much. Your experience will not be complete if you do not have a taste of the food they are selling in the stalls!

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Green tea and azuki shaved ice was so good.

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Potato butter!

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Tempura Ice

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Yen and his yakisoba!

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Eating her GIANT OKONOMIYAKI

Japanese festivals are always something that I look forward in going to and I learned so much from my Japanese friends about the Mikoshi they were carrying around and about the festival too. There is so much to learn about the Japanese culture and the best way to experience it is through festivals. My obaachan told me that this is probably one of the best festivals in Tokyo. If you decide to come here on May you should leave your third weekend free to come here. The matsuri starts on Friday-Sunday, and each day has different events. I wanted to come on the second day because it is only on the second day when you can see the Yakuza and the many kids carrying the Mikoshi. The third day they say is also a good day too.

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The pretty cat in front of Asakusa Sensoji temple, my grandma says he is always there!