Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tokyo Day Two

Today we had booked a tour of Mt Fuji and Hakone. It was an early start after an interesting nights sleep on a small rock hard bed and straw pillows (at least they sounded like straw). The room is so small that only one of us can get dressed at a time and the two suitcases on the floor take up all available floor space. But is is warm and quiet which is always important when you need to sleep.

Anyway back to the tour. Our guide Mikayo loved her job. She explained everything about t6 times in case we didn't understand it the first time and was obviously passionate about Mt Fuji. Her running commentary all day included interesting snippets of Japanese life from the average size and cost of apartments to how pleasant the heated toilet seats with inbuilt spray functions are.

Mt Fuji did not fail to impress and we were incredibly fortunate to have perfect weather with clear skies and not too cold temperatures. Having left 30-40 degree temperatures - the -5 at the mountain was a little chilly but playing in the snow was a bonus I hadn't expected.

This is me but the snowman was already there. We did add eyebrows though!

Hakone is nearby and is also in a volcanic crater and after catching the 'rope train' you suddenly find yourself over a crater full of steam coming out of the rocks. The sulphuric smell was overpowering and I resisted the temptation to pay $5 for an egg boiled in the hot water. The minerals in the water turn the egg shell black and there was a deep queue to get these. As our guide had told us - each one egg and increase your life by seven years, 2 eggs will increase it by 14 and 3 eggs will give you a stomach ache. Ha Ha.

The day did not end there - we were then whisked down to the crater lake where we had a cruise to the other side on a 'genuine pirate ship' Ok it was not genuine but supposedly an exact replica of one. The sun was setting by this time and to be truthful - I was a little bit over it all but had no choice.

Then a final trip in the bus - where we got to say goodbye to Mt Fuji one more time - I think we saw it from every angle possible. Then onto the Bullet train to come back to Tokyo. It was the more expensive option but 40 minutes on the train was definitely more appealing than 2-3 hours on the bus as it was already 5:30!

Unfortunately as it was dark we couldn't see much from the train but it felt very fast and was definitely comfortable and amazingly quiet. Tokyo Station at the other end however was not and it took quite a while to find our line and back to Asakusa where we are staying.

1 comment:

Sarah Ann Smith said...

I remember the toilet seats, with hilarity....not only could I not believe they were heated, in one hotel, a fancy one, when you sat down there was the "soothing" and "encouraging" sound of a brook trickling by... AHEM! Still makes me laugh!
Cheers, Sarah