Monday, 19 May 2014

Tokyo, Japan Day 3 - Mt. Fuji & Hakone Lake Side Park

The third day of our trip was actually a day tour to Mt. Fuji and Hakone. We booked the tour with JTB in Singapore which is organised under Sunrise Agency in Tokyo. The reason for booking a day tour was because the journey to Mt. Fuji & Hakone can be quite a hassle if you're not familiar with the routes. (Read on Day 1 here / Day 2 here)


They have a few packages but we booked the simple one for an experience. Reserve here if you're interested in getting a 1 day tour. Anyway, we got picked by Sunrise Tour chartered bus from Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal at 9 am. Duration from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji takes about 2 hours.


 First stop, Fuji Visitor Centre and the second floor observatory deck provides views of Mt. Fuji from up close. The view wasn't very clear on that day as it's quite foggy. Here you're able to learn about current weather conditions, the history, formation, and ecology of Mt. Fuji through exhibits.  


*Tip: Go to http://www.fujigoko.tv/english/ - It's a live webcam to show weather Mt Fuji is visible from different location.


The tour guide explained some history behind Mt. Fuji during the journey up and we discovered many information that not all tourist would know! :)



Autumn leaves which has yet to bloom. Read here on where to see autumn leaves in Japan.


Here's the view from Mt. Fuji 5th stationClimb 2,300 meters (7,546 ft) above sea level for breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding lakes on a clear day. Mt. Fuji inspired snacks & souvenir shops can be found here.



Though the sun is scorching hot, the temperature up here is actually below 5 degree. And it's not advise to hike higher if it gets too cold. Breath-taking view from the top.


Japanese-style lunch at a Japanese restaurant in one of the spa resort near Mt. Fuji.



After lunch, sightseeing continues in popular Hakone with a Lake Ashi cruise and a gondola ride on one of Hakone's ropeways. 



Next, Lake Ashi Cruise - sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi. The crater lake was born from a powerful volcanic eruption nearly 3,000 years ago and provides views of Mt. Fuji from various angles.



Hakone is one of the most breath-taking sight in my entire trip to Japan. I'm glad to witness one of the most beautiful nature side of Hakone lake.



Moving on to Hakone Komaga-take Ropeway.


Japanese food always look so appetizing. We realised some snacks here are only available in Hakone and Tokyo city may not have it.



Catch sweeping views of Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, Izu Peninsula, Izu Islands, Hakone National Park, and more while climbing up and down the mountain on the cable car.



This is taken at the mountain peak of Hakone, yet another marvelous view at the top. Perfect place for taking a break from the city such as Tokyo. Hakone is famous for their large number of Onsen (hot springs), nature beauty and view of Japan's highest mountain, Mt. Fuji.


I swear we were this near to the clouds. And yes, it's freezinggggg at the peak!


 Transport back from Odawara to Tokyo by Shinkansen (Bullet train) is provided as well.


*Something to know - Shinkansen trains comes in 3 train services, Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama. Kodama trains stop at all stations, making it the slowest Shinkansen service. Followed by Hikari and lastly Nozomi being the fastest train service running on the Tōkaidō/Sanyō Shinkansen lines in Japan at 300km/h.



The train journey from Odawara to Tokyo was quick, took about 40 mins. Arrived at Tokyo JR station where First Avenue Tokyo Station is. It is a shopping area directly connected to the Yaesu Exit at JR Tokyo Station. You can find a variety of shops and restaurants.



For dinner, we went over to Tokyo ramen street for Rokurinsha which is known to be Tokyo's best tsukemen or dipping noodles. You'll always find the longest queue at Rokurinsha and the long lines probably says it all. 


People are known to wait for over an hour for this. We arrived at about 8 pm and as usual the long queue. Gladly, the line moves fast and we went in within an hour!


Rokurinsha is famous for it's thick noodles served with dipping sauce which is thick and flavourful. The only obstacle to beat is the long lines. But I must say, it's definitely worth the wait. Read more here on my post on Rokurinsha with different ramen choices.


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