I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I went to Japan. Time flies! I can’t also believe how behind I am in my blogging. Apart from brief photographs and descriptions I haven’t posted much from any of my major trips last year. So I have started setting myself weekly targets on posts in order to reduce the backlog.
I was in Japan for just slightly over a week and in that whirlwind trip I knew that I had to somehow squeeze in a visit to Mt Fuji. A lot of people are content with just chancing a view of Mt Fuji when you are on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo but that would not do for me. So I had an option of either doing a day trip from Tokyo or actually overnighting at a hotel in the Mt Fuji area. I was fortunate enough to be able to do the latter though finding a good hotel was going to be either expensive business or down to pure luck because the good ones tend to fill up fast.
After much agonising my friend and I decided that we would stay at Hotel Mt Fuji near Lake Yamanaka. Mt Fuji is surrounded by a number of lakes and predictably enough there are a number of resort towns with hotels each selling spectacular views of Mt Fuji (which makes the process of settling on a hotel very difficult). Hotels near Lake Kawaguchi tend to be the most popular and you can see why when you see the photographs of Mt Fuji with the beautiful lake and cherry blossom trees in the foreground.
From the internet Hotel Mt Fuji does not look half as warm or quaint as some of the other ryokans (traditional Japanese inns or similarly styled hotels) near Kawaguchiko but a combination of availability and budget constraints meant that we booked it anyway.
I have to say that Hotel Mt Fuji certainly didn’t disappoint in one significantly important aspect- views of Mt Fuji. Every room in the hotel (and yes I mean every room) has a balcony that overlooks the massive volcano. With good weather conditions (and that is the biggest ‘if’ with any visit to Mt Fuji) the views of Mt Fuji are enough to awe you. Mt Fuji at this point is just 16 kms away and you can see every inch of its might from the balcony. A good amount of “stupeur et temblement” being this close to Fujisan is appropriate.
We opted for a fairly basic room and I have to say this was the largest room I had in all of my trip in Japan. The beds were quite large and comfortable (unfortunately I hardly slept in it as Mt Fuji cleared up at around midnight and after that I could not tear my eyes away from it until I left late next morning). The room has a hot water kettle and a basic minibar.
There is supposed to be a dinner buffet though we arrived late enough to not be able to try it. The breakfast had a decent spread and the one thing I really appreciated was that every item in the breakfast menu had a label detailing ingredients so I could safely choose vegetarian options. BRAVO! I wish more hotels and restaurants in Japan would start doing this. Especially with the influx of tourists that is likely to take place with the 2020 Olympics.
If ever I got the chance to go back to the Mt Fuji area I will certainly revisit Hotel Mt Fuji. They also have an onsen (hot spring) in the hotel. I didn’t try it but my friend did and said it was great.
The access to the hotel is not very straightforward- we took a train from Shinjuku to Yamanakako (changing at Otsuki). From Yamanakako we took a taxi (3000-4000 yen one way) though you can take a bus to the city centre and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle from the closest bus stop to the hotel.