Friday, 15 January 2016

Fujisan and Tokyo 4-Day Itinerary: Day Two

Read Day 1 here – Satsuki and Mei’s House, Osu Kannon
Read Day 2 here – Mount Fuji, Kawaguchiko
Read Day 3 here – Tokyo Tower, Shibuya
Read Day 4 here – Tsukiji Market, Yokohama Chinatown

We arrived at Fuji-Q Highland (富士急ハイランド) at about 7:15am in the morning and stumbled off the bus half asleep. Everyone alighted the bus so we assumed it was the last stop but I believe there is actually a stop afterward called Kawaguchiko (河口湖) that is a better location if you’re not going to the theme park. Fujisan (富士山) was there to greet us when we alighted the bus and I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is.

Fujisan and Fuji Q Highland behind me
Anywho, we rested for a while at the bus centre to plan our day and then set off. We walked around the theme park to reach the Fujikyu-Highland Station which took about 15 minutes. From there we took the train for one stop to Kawaguchiko Station and locked our bags in the coin locker there.

Local area train
Following clear signs that pointed to Kawaguchi Lake, we walked for a short distance from the station when I noticed a bike rental shop to the left. We rented bikes for 1500 yen each for the day and used the local area map supplied by the shopkeeper. It was very convenient with a bike and enjoyable on this sunny winter day. I had the impression that the Fujisan area would be cold in early January but it was surprisingly warm and I felt fine in a knit sweater without a coat in the afternoon.

Our rental bikes
Our first stop was to the Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway (天上山公園カチカチ山ロープウェイ). The ride up offered a great view of the lake and at the top you could see Fujisan in its entirety at the observatory deck. It was really beautiful and I simply leaned on the wooden railing for a while to take in the scenery as best as I could.

Mt Kachi Kachi Ropeway
View from observation deck
Descending from the mountain, we biked around to find lunch and a local shopkeeper recommended that we visit Fuji Tempura Idaten (冨士天ぷら いだ天) which is supposedly the second best restaurant in the area. It was easy to find as it was nearby the Kawaguchiko Station. We were seated around a U-shaped bar where the chef’s frying station was in the centre. We watched him fry each piece, pass the pan full of goodies to the server and the server walk over to place and explain each item to us.

Tempura station at Idaten
Tempura set
This was definitely the freshest tempura I have ever had and he was even able to fry the egg to half-boiled. It was very delicious and we ordered extras of individual pieces in addition to our set meal such as fugu and ebi.

Post-lunch we biked back down to the lake to the Kawaguchi Ohashi (河口湖大橋) aka bridge. We parked our bikes and took the stairs up to the bridge which offered a superb view of Fujisan (富士山) with the lake as its foreground when you stand at the arch of the bridge.

Walking up to Kawaguchi Bridge
View of Fujisan from the bridge
We read that someone recommended lavender soft serve ice cream on their blog when we searched up Idaten so we biked to the herb garden to try some. I was a bit sceptical that it would taste synthetic but it was actually creamy with a fragrant lavender taste.

Lavender soft serve
We returned our bikes and went back to Kawaguchiko Station to get our bags. There is an easy to use machine at the station with an English option where we bought our bus tickets for Tokyo Station (東京). It cost 1750 yen for one-way. The journey was supposed to be 3 hours but ended up being 4 hours long due to traffic.

Bus from Kawaguchiko to Tokyo
Tokyo Station
Once in Tokyo, we dropped off our bags at the accommodation then took the subway to the Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) in the Chuo area for dinner. Our ICOCA cards could be used on all the subway lines we used on this trip which was convenient. The Din Tai Fung is located on the basement level of a Takashimaya Department Store. I have been to Din Tai Fung in Taipei, Sydney, Bellevue and Singapore and the one in Taipei is still the best (naturally since the chain began there.)

Read Day 1 here – Satsuki and Mei’s House, Osu Kannon
Read Day 2 here – Mount Fuji, Kawaguchiko
Read Day 3 here – Tokyo Tower, Shibuya
Read Day 4 here – Tsukiji Market, Yokohama Chinatown
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