Golden Week Getaway: Part Two

The Sunday morning view from our cabin.

After a very comfortable night’s sleep at the cabin, we woke up Sunday morning to sunshine and the most amazing view of Mt. Fuji imaginable from our living room window. I almost didn’t want to go anywhere just so I could look at it all day, but we were all ready to go by 9:00.

Rabbits and badgers were tied into the ropeway experience, and there was a small rabbit shrine at the top.
Ready to board our gondola! We appreciated that passengers were not stuffed into the car – everyone got a view.
Up we go! I rode with our granddaughter at the front.

Our first activity of the day was the Mt.Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, which goes up to the top of Mt. Tenjō, across the valley from Mt. Fuji. It took us a couple of tries to find a parking spot somewhat near to the entrance as things had already begun to get crowded at 9:00 a.m., but we eventually found one not too far away. Even in spite of all the people the line for the ropeway wasn’t too long, and we were on our way up the mountain after only a short wait.

The view of Mt. Fuji from the top of Mt. Tenjō
Looking out over Lake Kawaguchi, the city of Kawaguchiko, and snow-capped mountains in the distance.

The view from the station at the top was spectacular. Besides the breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji, we could also take in all of the city of Kawaguchiko, Lake Kawaguchi, the Fuji-Q Highlands amusement park, and snow-capped mountains off in the distance. We hiked around the top for a while, took lots of pictures, and thought about hiking up to a torii at the top of the next mountain, but when we saw the sign that the hike would take an additional 40 minutes one way we decided not to go.

When we came back down from the mountain we could not believe the length of the line, almost four times if not longer than it was when we had arrived! Before going to our car we first stopped at the Fujiyama Cookie shop, located at the bottom of the hill, and bought ourselves several flavors of their famous cookies which are shaped like Mt. Fuji (Later in the afternoon when we drove back past the cookie shop, the line was out the door and down the street! We were glad we went early.).

The forest on the way to the Wind Cave entrance was like something out of Harry Potter – we thought we might come across Aragog the spider!
Down we go into the Wind Cave – only 46 steps! The difference in temperature from the top of the stairs to the bottom was quite shocking.
Part of the large ice formation in the cave.

From the ropeway we headed to see two of the Fuji Caves, created when hot air was trapped in lava during the Mt. Fuji eruptions. There are two caves, the Ice Cave and the Wind Cave, but the Ice Cave required a descent of 92 steps and 102 steps on the way up. and there was no way that was going to happen with a toddler and my knees. We instead walked to the Wind Cave which took us through a forest straight out of Harry Potter, with a thick tree canopy and amazing tangle of roots as well as small caves, burrows, and natural tunnels. The cave itself was quite cold and had its own wonderful ice formations along with other features. We had to duck down quite a bit to get to the end of the cave, and saw where the cave had been used in the past as natural refrigerated storage for seeds for reforestation and for silkworm cocoons. By keeping the cocoons in the cold hatching was delayed and allowed farmers and merchants to get two extra cycles for silk making.

Iyashi-no Sato: The Healing Village

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our last stop of the day was Iyashi-no-Sato, also known as “the healing village.” Located near Lake Saiko, the village stands on the site of a former fishing and farming village that was destroyed by a typhoon in 1966. The village now holds 20 reconstructed thatched-roof farmhouses in the kabuto-zukkuri (samurai helmet) style and serves as an open-air museum where visitors can experience traditional Japanese arts and crafts and local food specialities. Several of the houses contain shops and workshops, while others hold museums, restaurants and gift shops. Walking through the village is like being transported back in time to the early 20th century. Just outside the village there were once again farmers selling fruits and vegetables, and we finally bought a bag of apples.

Our souvenirs for the day: wasabi crackers, sesame sticks, assorted Fujiyama cookies, and locally grown Fuji apples.

Back at the cabin our DIL prepared a wonderful dinner of yakiniku with pork, beef and sausages, noodles, and a variety of vegetables that we grilled at the table and enjoyed with some rice.

These giant gold maneki nekko seemed to say “Welcome . . . and good luck!”
Neither good luck nor lots of money could ever get me to attempt this.

We were up early Monday morning as we had to check out of the cabin by 10:00. Once again the sky had clouded over and obscured Mt. Fuji, making us extra grateful for the beautiful day we had on Sunday. After getting the cabin clean and the car loaded we drove to the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park so our grandson and granddaughter could spend some time at Thomas Land (Thomas the Tank Engine). In spite of the crowds and long lines for rides they had a wonderful time. Brett and I, on the other hand, mostly stood around and tried to stay warm (the temperature dropped to where we thought it might snow) while we gawked at the roller coasters in the main park. There were five of them, two with straight vertical drops, one that shot the cars from a catapult into a giant loop, one that sent riders down a giant couple of waterfalls, and the highest coaster I have ever seen, called Fujiyama, King of the Coasters. I love roller coasters but there was absolutely No. Way. I would have gotten on any one of those.

The Thomas Land section of the Fuji-Q park was more our family’s speed.

I will never be able to thank our son and DIL enough for including us in the weekend getaway. They spoiled us the entire time and picked up the tab for all admissions and meals. What a great time we had!


9 thoughts on “Golden Week Getaway: Part Two

  1. So beautiful. I wouldn’t get on that roller coaster either. Scary!
    The landscapes are constant surprises. Not at all what I expected to see in Japan. Just shows my ignorance about the country. Thank you for the wonderful commentaries. I am really enjoying this trip.


    1. The whole area we visited with lovely, and this was my first time to visit the Five Lakes area (I’ve been more than once to Hakone on the other side of Mt. Fuji). Mt. Fuji is one of my most favorite icons of Japan – I never get tired of seeing it.

      There was one roller coaster where the car literally went straight up, and then straight back down (wish I had gotten a picture of that one) – just awful, but the lines to get on it were over two hours long!


    1. The mountain is beautiful, especially because of its symmetry. The Japanese appreciate the beauty of asymmetry, but Fuji seems to be an exception.


  2. What a great weekend! Mt Fuji is so beautiful…your pictures and descriptions of the trip are just a treat. Thanks! And interesting to see that Thomas is a hit there, too. Our grandsons LOVE Thomas.


    1. We had the best time, and saw so many amazing things last weekend – it was a very special getaway.

      Our grandson was a Thomas fanatic and had scores of Thomas stuff. A couple of years ago he donated all his trains and equipment (he’s moved on to Legos) to an orphanage near their home. He still knew the name of every Thomas vehicle we saw at that park though; our granddaughter surprisingly knew most of them too even though she has no Thomas stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t go on those roller coasters. And to pay for the experience!!

    Like you, I wouldn’t tire of the view of Mt Fuji. How lucky were you with that Sunday clear weather!

    Lesson learnt: get up early in the morning and hit the sights early.


    1. The coaster rides were all very short – nothing over 60 seconds. So, imagine not only paying through the nose for the experience but having to wait up to two hours in line for the privilege of being scared out of your wits for less than a minute. No thanks! There was actually a worse one than in the photo – the car went straight up, tipped over the top and hovered for a second or two, then dropped straight down. Just awful.

      There are always crowds in Japan, no matter where you go it seems. Yes, get up and go early is the way to do it here, although even that doesn’t always work. Golden Week is especially bad though when it comes to crowds.

      We really did luck out on Sunday – Saturday was rainy and overcast, and so was Monday, so Sundays weather was a treat.


Comments are closed.