Due to a slight rescheduling of where were were going to be living for the next few weeks, I found myself in the City of Tokyo - and as we had the Sunday free - we atempted to see the famous Mount Fuji.
The view from our room on the morning of this trip.
The nearest place to do this is the area called Hakone - which did not seem that far away from Tokyo.
It is easy in essence
- Train to Hakone
- Get to Lake
- See Mt Fuji
But... This is the trap we fell into.
It is not that easy
Sure if you have been in Japan for more than 4 days - it would be easy - this was out first trip. We got lost in the train station where the train went from....
Some key points about Japanese train stations
- They are big
- No Bigger than that !!
- You need a book a ticket
- Each train line, only sells tickets for that line
Ok now with some rules, we found the station, eventually found the line which sold the tickets to go to Hakone, and then found a train in 90 mins that would go there....
This is the type of train you will go on
When we set off from the station we had already been running around Tokyo for 4 hours !!..
The "Express" - DreamLiner ... frankly is not that quick. It take 90 minutes to cover 80 kms.... But it is comfortable - and despite you spend at least 50 minutes in an urban sprawl - you eventually see green fields, and some hills. Very suddenly you have reached Hakone.
The Slope railway
A new train is needed one that can climb steep inclines. We now needed a new ticket - our Plasmo card paid - and we were off..
What seemed a short distance now took 40 minutes ... With zip-zag up. Driver swapping from front to rear. Then we reached Gora.
Gora Cable Railway.
Unless you have some pass - you need to queue for a ticket - and you need to pay with cash !! We not have a ticket up the hill. This cable railway takes 15 minutes, and stops at places where literally no-one seems to get on or off.
But at the top ... there is the "Rope Railway" - or cable car to us....
I was lucky to get to the head of the queue quickly, and was able to ask the pleasant lady how long it would take to get to the lake ... she said another 90 minutes !! Our train back to Tokyo left in 4 hours, but we had already taken 1.5 hours in getting this far. She suggested going to the next cable car stop - and looking an Mt Fuji and then coming back. It seemed sound advice.
Top of cable car ride
As we rounded the top of the hill, we could see the Alpine style chalet ahead .... we could also see steam below, and the smell or rotting eggs.... This was a major volcanic gas outlet.
One the top of the hill we looked at the green/yellow landscape - avoided eating the local delicacy of eggs cooked in sulphur-gas ...
Walking across the car park, we found a vista-map which indicated where Mt Fuji was .... behind the clouds !!!
Retun to Tokyo
It was a much quicker return trip, and frankly a bit of a relief. We had seats on the 17:25, and we did not want to miss them. The trip had been fun, Japaneses railways are awesome - but I am sorry .... this was a pain to try and accomplish on our first day.
I see bus trips from Tokyo for 6K yen.... that seems a very good deal compare to what we struggled through.