Who? Anyone interested in seeing or photographing Mt. Fuj. This experience is for those who can tolerate cold weather and extended exposure to a temperamental climate.
What? Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s “Three Holy Mountains” (alongside Mount Haku and Mount Tate). It is widely considered an iconic geographical landmark.
How? Although the Paupers aren’t fans of guided tours, getting to Mount Fuji and Hakone in a single day is quite a convoluted process unless you’re a skilled climber or are familiar with Tokyo’s landscape. So the easiest way to get see Fuji is through a tour company. A bus picks you up from your hotel and takes you to Station 5 of the mountain which is about 2300 meters high. From there, you take a bus to the town of Hakone that is centered in volcanically active areas near Lake Ashi and are led through a brief exploration of the region. Once the day winds down, you have a choice of either taking the bus back to the city, or the faster alternative: the famous bullet train.
Why? Personally, the entire Fuji experience was quite underwhelming. I feel like the reason I felt that way about something so many people rave about is because of my minimal tolerance for cold weather. I was bone-chilling cold the entire time and almost developed frostbite standing at Station 5 as I struggled to even hold my camera because of the biting wind. I had to spend 20 minutes near the portable heaters inside a small gift shop to undo what 20 seconds of December weather had done to me. But that is just my natural reaction to a climate. For those who are fans of photography and adventure day-trips in general, Fuji and Hakone could be memorable. There are some fantastic landscapes to capture, and when the day is right (which is luck in and of itself as you can reach Fuji only to find it shrouded), the vistas are beautiful. The views of the lake at Hakone are pretty stunning as well, and the cable car ride to the top of Owakudani Crater is reminiscent of the rising sulfur images of the national parks in Hawaii.
There are several tour companies that offer the Fuji/Hakone trip in a day.
Here are just a few:
If you are a true adventurer at heart, we’d love to hear how you saw Fuji without a tour!