Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mt. Fuji and Hakone

We decided to pay for a tour to see Mt. Fuji because it seemed a little complicated to get there on our own. During our time in Japan, we have found it quite difficult to find specific locations - especially after getting directions online. So, a tour it was. 

Our first stop to see Mt. Fuji...yes, blocked by clouds

It really is there

As we drove towards the 5th station, I got a better view

We made it to the 5th Station!

And this is the view of Mt. Fuji that we got

At least this little girl entertained me

After this quick visit to Mt. Fuji, we headed towards Hakone for a cruise on Lake Ashi. This crater filled lake was created from a volcanic eruption nearly 3,000 years ago. It promised postcard views of Mt. Fuji from various angles but with our luck with the weather, we didn't see much. We still really enjoyed the short cruise on the lake though. 

Our boat for the cruise on Lake Ashi

Waiting to board the boat

Paul and his Asian pose

The fog made it look mystical

It appears to be...a pirate ship!

Torii in the water

There's the aerial cableway we are to take for the great views

Really pretty

Hakone-en Lake Side Park

Boats waiting for tourists

Here we are in the aerial cable car

And here's the view

Reminded us of when we went to see the Cliffs of Mohr - this happens to us all the time

So, we headed back down

The fog was pretty crazy

You really couldn't see anything

Look at how the cable just disappears

It cleared up once we got a bit lower

We then had some time to kill so we browsed the shops.

Paul always makes me laugh

Not good for Paul's back but he insisted I take this picture

We then headed to the train station and took yet another bullet train back to Tokyo. Click here to check out how fast these trains go!

Here's my favorite souvenir from the day:

Since we really didn't see Mt. Fuji, we got this made


We took another bullet train and finally made it to Tokyo on Sunday, July 21.

We need to have these trains in the States!

Tokyo Station

After navigating through the complicated but simple subway system, we found our hotel (Hotel Grand Arc Hanzomon) right off of the purple line.

We had to take the red line to the purple line

Adding to the strange number 13 phenomenon (Japan is our 13th country, we arrived on July 13 and are staying for 13 days), when we checked in, we were given a room on the 13th floor…room number 1313. AND, the rate per night was 13,000 Japanese Yen. WEIRD.

We need to find a casino so we can play roulette and bet on the number 13 

The hotel was right across the street from the Imperial Palace and we got a great view of the city. 

To the left is the Imperial Palace and to the right, you can see the Tokyo Tower

After resting up a bit, we took a walk to look for a place to eat. We found a Tony Roma's close by which made life a little easier because the likelihood of them accommodating Paul's allergies was high. It was pricey (I think our priciest meal in Japan) but it was easier. We called it a night after dinner since we had to get up early for our Mt. Fuji tour.

View from our room at night


We headed to Osaka from Kyoto (the opposite direction of Tokyo) to spend 2 nights. We took a local train which took about 30 minutes but wearing our packs the entire time was not fun.

Here's Paul with his pack - we're like turtles with our homes on our back

We made it - and our hotel (Remm Shin Osaka) is in this station - it was really convenient!

As we looked for our hotel, we saw a panda and some other creature - I think a fish

Paul couldn't resist and danced with him

We finally found our hotel but it was still too early to check in so we killed some time by walking around the station and buying our Shinkanesen tickets for Tokyo.

Paul is impressed that all the train stations in Japan are so clean and organized

We finally got to check in at 2pm - here's the view from the 17th floor

And here's our tiny room. I am standing in the bathroom to take this photo.

Here's the view from our bathroom of the train station

After resting a bit, we decided to walk around town and find the Umeda Sky Building.

Walking towards the Umeda Sky Building

Looking up at the Umeda Sky Building - those are two escalators making that "v"

Contrary to what we read online, the entrance is not in Tower is in Tower East

Another view looking up - about 558 feet (170 meters)

Riding the escalator

Panoramic view from the rooftop

Great view of the Yodogawa River from the rooftop

Paul is on the lookout

Got someone to take a photo of us

Can you see us in the reflection of the windows?

Here's a zoomed in shot

It was a really clear day - another shot of the Yodogawa River

I couldn't resist getting this cheesy photo taken

On our way out, Paul had to punch the Umeda Sky Tower mascot

We then walked around searching for a place to eat. I wanted to try okonomiyaki - a grilled savory pancake that I read was kansai's soul food.

Instead, Paul found John Wayne to punch

Walking around Osaka

We found some okonomiyaki to had octopus and veggies in it with an egg base topped with sauces

After walking around some more, we decided to head back. The next day we were supposed to see a bunch of things but ended up not doing anything.

The view from the 17th floor at night