Sunday, January 24, 2016

Our Mt. Fuji & Hakone Tour

When we were planning our trip to Tokyo, hubby said that I was in charge of the itinerary but just make sure I allot one day for Mt. Fuji. So we asked some friends who've already done that and they suggested to book through Japanican.com.

I believe you can do this without a tour (like you can just ride a bus going directly to the mountain's 5th Station, or take a day trip to Hakone or Gotemba) but hubby and I wanted the full experience. Besides, this was the only tour we were going to take during our trip so we figured we'll splurge a little.



There are different tours available and we actually wanted to take the one that returns to Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train. This was more expensive than the regular tour but when I checked the date we wanted, there was only 1 seat left.

So we opted to take the one with direct departure from Shinjuku since that's where we were staying anyway. It cost Y13,000 each (about P5,000) and includes an English-speaking guide, lunch, and other admission fees and transportation costs included in the tour

1-Day Mt. Fuji & Hakone Tour from Shinjuku (Return by Motorcoach)
This guided 1-day tour takes you to the Mt. Fuji and Hakone area where you'll visit Mt. Fuji's 5th Station and Komagatake Ropeway and go on a cruise of Lake Ashi. Departing straight from Shinjuku Keio Plaza Hotel, this tour heads straight to Mt. Fuji without stopping at Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal. This is the most reasonably priced tour, convenient for those staying in Shinjuku, or who do not need pick-up service.



We just walked to the meeting place (Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo South Tower), and we were almost late since we got a bit lost! Good thing we made it just in time.


Anyway, we took the tour on a Sunday since that was a sunny and clear day when I checked the weather forecast. However, right when we left, the tour guide informs us that we would be doing the tour in REVERSE order since there was a marathon in Mt. Fuji or something so the roads going there were going to be closed in the morning.

That meant, we would be going to Mt. Fuji's 5th Station in the afternoon where there was a very high probability that it would be cloudy already. Actually, Mt. Fuji is known for being notoriously shy. There are some people who take the tours and don't even see Mt. Fuji! Based on what I read online, visibility tends to be better during the colder seasons of the year than in summer, and in the early morning and late evening hours than during the middle of the day. Actually, if you want to increase your chances of seeing Mt. Fuji, then this article is very useful.

Anyway, we headed first to Hakone where we took a cablecar ride to the peak of Mt. Komagatake.


By this time, I was happy already since we could clearly see Mt. Fuji out the window!


The views were GORGEOUS at the peak of the mountain.


Well, as we know when taking tours, the schedule is very strict so we only had about 20 minutes to spend here. Not enough time if you ask me, but it was just super breathtaking. I had also just watched the movie Everest prior to this, so feel na feel ko talaga un moment lol. ;p


We took the cablecar again going down and it can get pretty packed. So if you can, try to get as close to the windows as possible so you can see Mt. Fuji and all the scenery. If you're in the middle kasi, it's so hard to take pics with everyone around you.


Back down, we had a Japanese-style lunch. It looked pretty but not really as filling. In short, gutom pa ako after haha!


We had a bit of time after for some souvenir shopping. Here's hubby with our tour guide Hiro.


We then proceeded to a sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi. This was probably my favorite part of the tour because it was so relaxing with the beautiful scenery all around us.


Then finally, we were on our way to Mt. Fuji. On the way there, it was super cloudy and foggy already so it was obvious we weren't going to see Mt. Fuji from the 5th Station. Our tour guide also informed us that it would be so much colder up there (Mt. Fuji's 5th Station is typically 10 to 15 degrees Celsius colder than Tokyo). And to think I was already freezing from the autumn weather!


Well, it was so foggy when we got off the bus, that you couldn't see anything around you. It was also -3°C! As in there was smoke coming out of our mouths while breathing and talking.

zero visibility

I was smiling for the photos, but I was already DYING from the cold. Super kulang ang thermals and jacket ko!


I can't believe hubby ate ice cream pa. Pang-asar!


Even though it was torture, of course I had to take photos by the snow lol!


Then when I couldn't take it anymore, I just stayed inside the rest house (where you could buy more souvenirs) until it was time to board the bus again.


So I was feeling pretty bummed since I felt our trip to the 5th Station was pretty pointless. But lo and behold, on the way down our tour guide asks to stop the bus because the view of Mt. Fuji had cleared up. And it was pretty spectacular!


Everyone went down to take pics but as usual, we were all being rushed since our guide had to stick to the schedule. But so, so thankful we were still able to see Mt. Fuji up close.


We were going to drop by the Fuji Visitor Center last (this was supposed to be the first stop on the tour) but it was already closed. But from the tour's disclaimers, they state that they can omit or alter parts of the itinerary as needed (example due to traffic or bad weather). So as you can see, this tour can be very, very unpredictable. I consider us very lucky that even if they changed the order of the itinerary, we still got an amazing experience and got to do all the activities. The approximate time we were supposed to be back to Shinjuku was 7pm but due to heavy traffic (and to think this was a Sunday), we got back at 8pm already. But it was ok for me since we got to rest on the bus.

It was a great tour but I just wish we had more time at the different spots and not be so rushed. I do understand that they have to stay on schedule though. I would definitely recommend this tour to those wanting to see Mt. Fuji. Just be prepared for the cold weather and the unpredictability. :)

2 comments:

  1. Hi Maam. Good afternoon; my name is Carlo. May I ask how much did you pay for the tour?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! It cost Y13,000 per person (about P5,000)

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