Tag Archives: kawaguchiko


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Last week, we were fortunate enough to witness a Japanese public holiday [no school!] celebrating elderly people; to commemorate this day we decided to go and see the Fuji Five Lakes! We managed to recruit nine eager JLSPers and set off early on Sunday morning for the bus to Fuji from Shinjuku. We had a few ‘competent’ Japanese speakers with us so I felt safe in knowing that we would be able to ask for help from the locals, if required. I sat next to Phoebe who proclaimed within the first five minutes: ‘I’m feeling really ill!’ and ‘I’m going to go to sleep, so I probably won’t talk!’; I knew I was in for a fun bus journey! To her credit, she only slept for half of the journey and had the decency to not sneeze in my direction so I guess things could have been worse 🙂 We passed the Fuji Highlands theme park on the way there, and in hindsight that probably would have made for a much more interesting holiday…

If only...

Due to the traffic, we arrived at Lake Kawaguchiko about 2 hours later than we thought we would. The lake was extremely scenic and was filled with swan boats akin to those found in Ueno park. There were also various luxury boats and water sports taking place. However, some of us had our hearts set on swimming and so we set off to find more suitable place, Lake Saiko. The map claimed that it was 12KM away and we had a serious debate on whether or not it would be a good idea to walk there [I voted NO!]. We managed to figure out the local bus system and took one along some mountainous paths towards Lake Saiko. We found an open spot near the lake and setup our camp for the day.

Kawaguchiko Crew!

We were in a rather awkward position on the lake, right in between someone who was fishing and a pile of old wooden boats. ‘Swimming’ became boring surprisingly quickly [cold water did not help!] and so we had to think of another way to spend our time. Although there were 3 other lakes that we had not yet seen, I doubted my level of interest in them and so I decided my time would be better spent lying on the shore of Lake Saiko, working on my tan. I was joined by the Finns and we waved the others goodbye after suggesting a vague rendezvous time [‘meet later, in town’]. We had solidarity in our dislike of ‘doing stuff’ and we were perfectly happy to just relax on our little ‘beach’ and watch the sun slowly set in the distance.

Beach life.

Our blissful existence was interrupted by an alarming phone call from the others, who now found themselves ‘in the middle of nowhere’ and with no way to get back in time for check in at the hostel. It was up me and the Finns to make it to there in time and save the day! At the time, we had no idea where we were, where we wanted to go, and how we were going to get there; the odds were heavily stacked against us succeeding! There was no simple to way to get back to town from our current position, so we decided to take the easy [and expensive] option and call for a taxi. We stumbled into a nearby hotel and I managed to gesture for them to call a taxi for us back to Lake Kawaguchiko [much harder than it sounds!]. The taxi cost the princely sum of 3,700 JPY but it was a small price to pay to ensure that we had somewhere to stay that night. We then took a train from the town towards the hostel and used all of our combined cunning to locate it. Upon entering, we had to take off our shoes and wear communal slippers. We assured the hotel clerk that our friends were going to arrive later and she us into the room after signing a few documents.

When the others arrived, we asked the hostel owner [an American guy by the name of ‘Michael’] to recommend some places to eat, and he walked us to his friends place for some real traditional cuisine. He seemed like a really nice and genuine guy so we trusted everything he said. However, the food and drinks at the restaurant were rather expensive, and the particular dish I had [fried octopus] did not go down well at all. The others shared my thoughts! Compared to other places I had been to in Japan, this did not rank highly on the list. Perhaps we just aren’t used to eating ‘real’ Japanese food? The more likely conclusion that most of us had come to was that we had been setup by the hostel owner! We headed to the 7/11 afterwards to supplement our diet with ice cream and then went back home for a well-earned rest.

I will now quickly summarise the few days following the Fuji Five Lakes trip. I am massively behind in terms of real time so I think it’s better for me to catch up now or else I will quickly lose enthusiasm for blogging – not good! If you want to hear about anything in more detail, feel free to ask.

– Second day at Five Lakes; visiting some shrines and parks; saw lots of spiders

Stairs, temples, mountains.

– Lucy’s birthday; karaoke and drinking in Shibuya; lots to live up to for my birthday!
– Trip to Life Saving Center; earthquake and typhoon simulation; chance to use a fire extinguisher

Simulation of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake!

Shabu Shabu in Shinjuku with some Japanese volunteers; dipping meat in raw egg; karaoke trip #3

Post shabu-shabu karaoke.

– Yoyogi Park with Kaisa-chan; some kind of Indian festival nearby; ate a doner kebab

Yoyogi Park!

– Akihabara, Electric Town; tech heaven; surprisingly expensive

A wild Pikachu has appeared!

– Aikido at the university club with Tom and Phoebe; really fun to try, people very friendly and patient; may continue regularly!