Day 17: Mt Fuji

Today was yet another day of waking up at 5.30am and feeling completely refreshed. I checked a few emails and went through some photos from yesterday and then eventually fell asleep again. We got up at 10.45am and had some breakfast. Jacinta had some spaghetti whereas I had mixed veges and a banana (I was craving some broccoli!). I bought some fresh Hokkaido milk to have with breakfast. The milk from Hokkaido is completely different to what we normally have at home. It's a new level of creaminess and it doesn't upset my stomach. 

Today we had planned to visit Mt Fuji. I peered out the window and noticed that some of the tops of nearby buildings were covered in a fog. Today was not going to be a good day at Fuji gazing! 

We caught the train to Shinagawa and then ordered a reserved seat for the bullet train. Within an hour, we had traveled 140km and out we popped at Shin-Fuji station. We asked for directions at the information centre and the lady behind the counter laughed and said “Mt Fuji hiding”. She gave us some pamphlets on train and bus times as well as a map of Fujinomiya (town at the base of Mt Fuji). We hopped on a local bus to Fuji train station and then caught the slowest train in Japan (I would rate it worse than Melbourne trains approaching Flinders Street station). We had arrived with the 3,776 metre high Mt Fuji unable to be seen and as per our pamphlets, majority of shops/restaurants were closed on Wednesdays!  Just our luck!

It was nearly 4pm before we had lunch at the Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisha Shrine. Fujinomiya city is known for its yakisoba noodles and trout dishes. We were in luck, we both had the yakisoba but Jacinta had pork with hers and I opted for their only other option of pork and octopus. 

The 17th century shrine is dedicated to a water deity (Konohana-no-sakuyahime-nomikoto) and is the place where people worship to ‘calm eruptions’ whether that be at home or with regards to Mt Fuji remaining dormant. To the side of the shrine, there is the Wakutama-Ike Pond. It is a natural spring from the water that runs from Mt Fuji. It has been used for purifications ceremonies for hikers prior to climbing Mt Fuji. 

We walked to a local brewery which uses the natural spring water in its sake. Sake from a local region is called Jizake. 

They had free tastings!! 

We tried pure rice sake and sake fermented with Sakura (cherry and plum blossoms). Sake is rated from a +10 (dry) to -5 (sweet). I enjoyed both ends of the scale. The -5 sweet sake infused with plum blossoms was delicious and refreshing. The +10 dry sake was very delicate and had a smooth mouth feeling. We both could have bought 2-3 litre bottles but opted for the 300mL piccolos which the lady kindly wrapped in bubble wrap for our journey home. 

It was now dusk and we walked back to the train station for our local train, then bus, then bullet train. We were hoping to go to the Robot Restaurant for dinner but unfortunately we had run out of time! A casual, relaxing night in was what we needed. (Rice ball count: 19)