I am not very partial to tourists, travellers will always get my vote. However, after having nearly travelled for a year (yay!) and being exhausted, I decided to just go ahead with buying that good value bus ticket for the Mount Fuji region and make the most of it. This meant, riding the bus absolutely everywhere. Even up to Fuji. No hiking this time. Don’t call me lazy! This was tough logistical work!
In any case, let’s see this as a short vacation. Travel bloggers need those, too. And no, constant travel is not a piece of cake with cocktail in hand. It can be utterly frustrating and time consuming. Never mind that now, I was on a break and after consulting the bus schedules, I explored 5 different places and relaxed in my hotel’s own little onsen on the roof. But that’s another story.
Purple Ocean – Prince, You Got it Wrong!
I had already seen what was left of the purple wisteria in Ashikaga and now, heading off west I witnessed the pink moss flowers stretch over meadows and hilly landscapes with the majestic Mount Fuji in the distant, shrouded my sublime clouds. Yes, it was a picture that would have caused raptures in any artist.
Since I was armed with a camera and not a brush, I took to taking as many pictures as I could. Crouching here, blocking the way of tourists there, looking ridiculous in my pink skirt among the pink flowers but who cares? Embrace the silliness, I say! If I had come much earlier I would have seen an even more amazing spectacle. So make sure you check the times for Japan’s floral seasons. But I’ve already got you covered there (click the link!).
What else was there to see at the Shibazakura Festival? Not much if you are on a tight budget. If you do like spending sprees, then you could have gotten a footbath, eaten pink specialities and your picture taken by a professional. So, nothing too big.
Take a Ride with Me – or Not
That done, my next item was seeing another flower park. But the bus system was not in my favour and so I rescheduled and ended up in a quaint little thatched houses village with 8 holy ponds with spring water from Fuji-sama himself! It was a perfectly quaint place to be and spend the late afternoon but before the bus schedule could cross my plans again, I made my way out and to the bus stop.
The bus stop, however, wasn’t there. There were many buses going through but a lot of them didn’t stop where I was and I would have to walk But each bus would stop closer or further from me and if I didn’t make it, I would have to walk on or back. Talk about tourist-friendly. So I asked a local and he took me to a shabby non-bus-stop looking place. Then a bus came for the other direction and the driver told me to hop on.
At the next bus stop he decided he didn’t like my valid ticket and threw me out. Just like that. So I had to walk back again and ask a second local. It was the same shabby bus stop. So I waited diligently and guess which bus stopped eventually? The same bus as before. Only now he took me on without a problem. I have no words.
Up to Tourist Ville near Mount Fuji
The next day my big goal was to head up Mount Fuji. As I had already decided on being a tourist, I figured, why not let the bus take you instead of walking. I had also packed the wrong clothes and would have probably died of stupidity that day so it was a good decision. But gloves and jeans were my least important wishes when I got off and took a sweeping look over the array of selfie sticks and posing tourists.
Fleeing the scene of crime against travel, I made my way into the woods (insert musical soundtrack here). It was as beautiful as I had envisioned with creepy lichen, dark pine trees and rocks along the path. But I didn’t expect a snow slope and fallen trees blocking my way, making me retreat to human land. No fun.
I didn’t spent too much more time up here since every other way was blocked as well and I was forced to keep roaming the many shops for free samples and hunting for wifi to pass the time. There was a small and pretty shrine but with an ugly souvenir shop between it and Mount Fuji, it wasn’t much to look at.
Next Stop, Nature
Having had enough of souvenir-hunters, I escaped into nature at last. The bird park seemed a great place to do so and even though none of the famously plenty species of birds showed I had ample time to hop around in a forest that didn’t hide the fact that it received its fertile ground from a volcano. All the stones were hardened lava! And the black mixed with the green looked fantastic.
And the place was far from orderly. Stones on top of one another, crevasses in the ground and holes everywhere. This was the exact antidote to human plannedness I had sought and my pleas were answered. I took my sweet time walking through the deserted forest and ended up at a lava cave that was famous for serving as an icy storage with icicles even in summer time.
Romantic notions still in my head I entered it and came out 2 minutes later. It was zero degrees and only 220m long. Nothing much to see and I say don’t bother going there. There are actually three caves, one being a bat cave with actual bats and batman posters, apparently (no joke) and the other with more icicles. I was done for the day and sought refuge in the onsen. Again, no tourists but me and that was perfectly fine with me.
Tell me: Would you like to visit Mount Fuji one day?