Hola! It's been a bunch of posts already, and I think my final Japan adventure post will be the next one, followed maybe by one or two with travel tips, goodie photos and curiosities, but overall the story is pretty much near the end of the trip! It makes me so happy to see the photos and remember the good times, it reminds me of browsing my family photo albums as a kid, and it's been a while since we don't print much photos anymore. Oh well! Here's the next part of the adventure, hope you guys enjoy!
After some great days in the Kansai area, we hopped on the shinkansen (bullet train) towards the north once more, this time we were able to buy some ekiben, which is what they call a bento box sold in trains and train stations, often containing local specialties that you can enjoy while traveling on longer train rides. They were both pretty good! Overall, I think I ate amazing food the whole trip, japanese cuisine has so much heart even the 'standard-quality' food is pretty solid. Unless you are extremely picky, then you pretty much can't enjoy food anywhere in the world. But I don't want to discuss food here because I might be a bit too much into it, so let's move on.
After the shinkansen ride, we transferred to a train from Fujikyuko Railways, it's the cutest train I've seen! It had wood interiors, funky seats and a small counter selling souvenirs and drinks. There was a blue kid-friendly car and a red more-grown-up car, we sat at the kiddy car of course! The ride was a bit long for the distance, because the train doesn't run at super fast speed so you can have a look at the surroundings, and because there's only one rail for most of the trip so the train has to stop from time to time and change into a temporary curb to let another train go by. It's a bit cheesy-touristy, which my husband doesn't really love (I usually don't either), but we enjoyed it nonetheless as part of our trip into the Fuji five lakes area.
A bit more than a hour later, we arrived at the small town of Fujikawaguchiko, the closest you can get to Mt. Fuji without actually going up the mountain. It was too cold to go up, so we only stayed in this town to take a look around the area. I wanted to go to a special festival held in this place every spring, the Shibazakura Festival, which we arrived a bit too early in season and the flowers hadn't bloomed yet, so we ended not going in the end. It was pretty chilly when we arrived into town, and some visitors told us the rainy weather made it kind of impossible to see Mt. Fuji because of all the grey clouds surrounding it. We decided not to worry about that and just walk around the town to get some dinner, a local recommended a town specialty: udon hotpot. The hot soup, thick and chewy noodles, super tasty veggies and meat was a real blessing in such a cold weather. It was so hearty and delicious we ended our days extra happy and went to bed early to try and enjoy as much of the next morning as possible, before heading back to Tokyo.
Against all odds, the next day was sunny with incredible clear blue skies! We walked around the town to get some croquettes for breakfast, to eat them by the lake. There were cherry blossoms everywhere, the air was so refreshing and pure and the clouds magically parted revealing Mt. Fuji in all it's beauty. The town is so calm, with flower patches all over the place and very nice people. I got some bags of lavender tea and my husband bought some interesting looking minerals, so we were both happy with this relaxing side trip. After walking around to explore some more and buying a couple of bento boxes for the train ride, we went back to the station and made our way to Tokyo. Even if we didn't get to do something 'big' like hiking or the festival or any of that, I think the trip was well worth it; the town has a very special feeling to it, it's so peaceful I can't help but remember about that day and smile for no particular reason. Maybe if we get to go back to Japan we can plan a longer trip, and if the weather is nice, we can do more exploring that next time!
We arrived as the sun was setting in Ikebukuro station, where we stayed for our final stretch of the trip. I was welcomed by huge bread cube food displays and a penguin bar, which is the perfect introduction to all the amazing, cute and crazy we experienced on west Tokyo. But that'll be all on my next and final post about this adventure! Thanks for joining me!