They say you can’t miss what you never had, but I don’t know if that’s true. Growing up in San Diego I often felt like I missed the seasons. Maybe even more so than someone who had experienced them as I yearned for the idealized versions of them I learned about almost as soon as I started school. In kindergarten, we were taught the 4 times of the year by rote,
memorizing names from pictures incongruous with what I say around me.
Snow on a fir tree signified winter just as surely as bright bulb flowers and baby animals meant Spring. Autumn was represented by beautiful leaves of brilliant oranges, reds, and golds. The only one I really recognized was the blue skies, big yellow sun, sandy beaches and rolling waves of summer. It sort of looked like “summer” all the time. Except for those few days a year when it rained, and we weren’t allowed to swim in the ocean for a week afterwards because of the pollutants the rarely used storm drains would then spew into the oceans.
Once I experienced the seasons in real life I realized that most of them are a lot colder than in pictures and so though enjoyable for a few weeks, summer is still top of my list.
Tom and I now try and make it a point to experience a week or two of each of the before unknown 3 seasons every year, intermixed with about 10 solid months of chasing summer around the globe.
Spring time in Mount Fuji was everything the storybooks promised it would be. Bright bulb flowers and chubby little animals running around, or at least statues of them.
We stayed at K’s House Hostel after reading great reviews online. Our comfortable tatami mat room (with shared bath) was 7,200 JPY (about $70 USD) a night. The kitchen was incredibly well stocked, clean and large and there was a nice common room. The hostel was very kid friendly and we saw many families traveling with small children there.
The main reason we stayed there was because of the recommendation we read on a guest post by Amy Cham on neverendingvoyage.com I have never met Amy but found in Japan that we have one thing in common. A deep love of the onsen. I touched on it briefly in our post about Koyasan where we experienced our first onsen, but the onsen I visited in Mt. Fuji was something else! It is in an incredibly fancy hotel right next door to K’s house. The beautiful grounds and onsen are probably the best part of the hotel and can be enjoyed while staying at K’s to save tens of thousands of yen per night.
It cost 900 yen ($8.71) to use the onsen, which included steam rooms, several pools of different temperatures and an outdoor area. Deep in the roiling, boiling tub of an onsen is the only place in Japan that I felt truly warm. Spring is gorgeous, but boy does all that fresh air have a bite to it!
Though the onsen and comfortable hostel were a plus, our main reason for being there was to see the beautiful and iconic Mount. Fuji. And see it we did! Not just in the distance sitting above the pretty little town but in pancakes and lollipops and sandwiches sold at every shop. We saw it’s likeness made of blossoms, made into soap, and even the soft serve claimed it was made to look like Mt. Fuji. Really it was just soft-serve but I can see the resemblance.
We took a little cable car (Kachi Kachi Ropeway) up to Mount Tenjo, a small mountain with great views of Mt. Fuji. Mount Tenjo was covered in sculptures and drawings of a rabbit attacking a raccoon. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to hear that while I did not understand why the rabbit was inflicting grievous harm on the raccoon I was all for it!
The viewpoint was a great place to see Mt. Fuji from and seemed to be built for snapping photos with the snowy peak in the background. With the mountain at our backs, we were also afforded stunning views of the beautiful Lake Kawaguchiko spread out before us.
We got to the town via an easy bus from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji, and K’s house house offers pick-up and drop-off from the bus station to their hostel for free.