Our first train to Fujikawaguchiko was our second express train of the trip.
Leaving the city and seeing a bit more of the country was quite nice, despite seeing it on the train and not on foot.
They had rice cream on the menu. Sadly, I did not have any.
We had to change trains at Ōtsuki Station to continue our journey.
Whilst we hopped on an express, it was not as fast as the previous train.
Still, considering where we were heading, it was nice to see things at a slower pace.
At around 2:45 P.M., we arrived at Fujikawaguchiko.
I was hoping to arrive a bit earlier.
Part of this was, whilst having some trouble on the first day with getting around on the trains, Gabe and I were learning how to get around on them fairly quickly.
However, we were still having some slight troubles by that point, which slowed us down a bit more than expected.
Anyway, we checked in at the Kawaguchiko Station Inn and rested for about an hour.
I then headed out to rent a bike and go cycling.
The initial plan was to cycle to 青木ヶ原 (Aokigahara (Sea of Trees)) and check it out.
However, once I rented my bike, I had about forty-five minutes to cycle around before the shop closed, so I headed down to 河口湖 (Lake Kawaguchi) instead.
It was my first cycle in Japan, and I enjoyed it immensely.
I reached the lake very shortly after leaving the shop (as it was close) and found myself in awe and full of wonder when I looked out over it.
The lake was quite large and appeared to be very still.
There were mountains surrounding the area covered by trees.
It felt quite serene to look upon.
It was quite overcast but this ended up adding to what I saw and helped cement the atmosphere as a relaxed one.
Overall, it was quite beautiful.
After spending some time looking out, I cycled around the lakeside, enjoying the feeling of the air as I was cycling along, until I ended up in Yagisaki Park.
Cycling through the park, I reached a lookout point and saw Rokkakudo temple.
It was a small temple on an island that appeared as though it could only be reached by boat.
I spent a few minutes looking at it, wondering if it was possible to walk out to it during any time of the day.
The atmosphere was still relaxing
Eventually I had to turn around and head back as I didn’t have much time to get back to the rental shop, so I began cycling back, stopping only to take some pictures of 河口湖大橋 (Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge), although I think I may have stopped elsewhere to take some more.
When I got back to the hostel, I told Gabe about what I saw and convinced him to come down and check it out.
I was happy with this as some time between my walking around Tokyo Imperial Palace and leaving Tokyo, he told me he should check things out with me as I kept on coming across cool things after we’d go our separate ways.
Hearing that made me feel happy.
Anyway, we left shortly after I got back.
It was approaching night-time pretty fast by that point but getting down to the lake by foot was easy enough.
Gabe sat near the water once we reached the lake to take it all in.
I joined him for a few minutes, then looked for other places to eat.
I thought there would be somewhere to eat there and I was right.
Unfortunately all except one place seemed to be closed and it didn’t seem like it was good food.
After about twenty minutes, we headed back and ate near our hostel.
I can’t remember the name of what we had, but it was quite good.
After eating, we headed to the 7-Eleven near where we were staying and bought alcohol.
I bought what I think was sake. It was in a blue bottle.
Gabe got what could have also been sake in a white bottle.
We headed back to our room and drank.
I was thrown off almost immediately by how alcoholic mine tasted.
Gabe had a taste and wondered what I bought.
When I looked at the alcohol content on the bottle, I saw it was 70% and resigned myself to my fate.
Gabe offered to take it off my hands, but I chose to finish it off
Near where we were staying was a pedestrian crossing to the train station.
Every time the lights changed for pedestrians to cross, they would play a short tune.
This was nice around the time we arrived but it became annoying pretty quickly.
Anyway, whilst we were drinking, I decided it would be a good idea to get a video recording of the crossing doing its thing so I could show how annoying it was.
The recording ended up being deleted as it had me, in a fairly tipsy state, semi-ranting about how annoying they were, speaking to Gabe about climbing Mount Fuji.
I think the inspiring line “They’re almost as annoying as the fucking crows” came up.
Sadly, this historical document is now lost in the annals of history and will never be recoverable.
Anyway, eventually sleep happened.
In the morning, I told Gabe I was going to wander around a bit before we checked out so I could try and get a good shot of Mount Fuji before cloud coverage set in.
I asked if he wanted to come but he wanted to rest which I thought was fair enough.
I was still considering going to 青木ヶ原 but as I didn’t have enough time, I wandered about through the suburban area around me.
I ended up walking along a nature track that lead to a hospital.
I ended up walking… somewhere after that. I don’t know where it was. It was still towns/suburban areas.
One featured a pumpkin patch with huge pumpkins.
There was also a forest-like area that was pleasant enough. At this point I begun to sing Eskimo Joe songs (I don’t know why).
Eventually I didn’t know where I was going, so I asked someone for directions (there were two people standing at a road leading to a golf tournament (I think it was a golf tournament)) and then walked in the direction they pointed me in, saw some things I found interesting, took a picture of Mount Fuji (partially covered by clouds), and made it back to the hostel somewhere around checkout time.
Gabe and I headed to the train station to get breakfast and some snacks for our ascent, then caught the bus up to the fifth station of Mount Fuji.
Well, before that, we bought tickets and were first overcharged, then we underpaid (or something similar to that).
It was sorted pretty quickly, but it was slightly annoying.
Whilst starting at the base would have been fun, as neither Gabe nor I are seasoned mountaineers, it was better we started at the fifth station.
When we arrived, one of the first things I noticed was that the sky was white.
To be fair, I did notice it whilst on the bus, but it was much more obvious once getting off, probably due to being in a much more open area than in a vehicle.
Rain was intermittent and mostly light at this point.
After resting for a few minutes, we wandered around for a bit, seeing what was around us before we began our ascent.
There were signs we saw around this time about stopping bullet climbing.
As we didn’t know what it meant, we thought it was funny.
We saw some horses at the fifth station.
Apparently there’s horse riding to one of the other stations on the mountain.
That’s all there really is to say about the horses.
Well, I guess it would be fun to gallop up the mountain, or just magic horse jump from the base to the summit, but that would be silly at the same time.
So we began walking when after about a minute visibility reduced to about ten metres ahead due to a thick fog passing around us.
It lifted soon after and gave us a few minutes of being able to see most of our surroundings before it returned again.
This cycle continued with varying times. I liked how it would change the feel of where we were whenever there was fog.
After about an hour (maybe a bit longer), we reached the sixth station and had a quick rest. It was raining a bit more often at this point and also a bit heavier but was still quite bearable.
The view, whilst mostly cloudy, was fantastic.
The clouds made the area feel like it was in its own world, separated from everything else.
We weren’t able to see the base, but we could see fair bit of the way up.
Shortly after we resumed walking, Gabe decided to turn back.
He didn’t feel he was going to be able to do it.
I told him that it was good that he made it as far as he did.
He offered to give me money for his half of a hut reservation (we booked one at the eighth station). I accepted as I didn’t know what was going to happen with only one person showing up.
I told Gabe to be careful and then we parted ways.
In a way I felt better about Gabe not being there as it meant I could go a little faster. At the same time, I wished he was still there as I really wanted to do the climb with him as I didn’t feel the sunrise at the summit (what we were aiming to see) was going to be as good without him.
I decided that I had to reach the summit for him as well as myself.
Keeping this in my mind, as well as telling myself that I had to respect nature, nature owes nothing to me, and that I was only there as nature allowed me to be there helped me continue my ascent.
I ended up walking past two guys. One was making the climb in shorts and a shirt and was against a wall. He said something along the lines of “someone put a bullet in my head”.
When I heard this, I responded by saying “I would, but I don’t have a gun”.
There was a bit of laughing and my telling him that he could just jump off the side as despite being a bit sore after, he’d at least get down quickly.
Probably not the most humorous thing I could have said, but he seemed to enjoy it, so I guess it was kind of okay.
I realised at one point that I was probably going a bit too fast as I began to feel a bit nauseous.
I was also slightly confused as to my sense of up and down at this moment.
Whilst I had taken a couple of brief breaks during the climb, it was at this point that I chose to rest for a few minutes more than what I had previously to allow myself to level out a bit.
I decided to eat a plum onigiri (I had bought two at Kawaguchiko Station before catching the bus). I ate it a bit too fast which lead to me feeling a bit worse for a little while.
I felt okay again after a while, despite not really slowing down much.
Somewhere around this time I was stuck behind three people who I thought were annoying as they wouldn’t stop talking.
At one point they mentioned something about braving the elements.
As I was irrationally annoyed by them, I then said “This isn’t braving the elements. Walking through the Australian bush whilst there’s a bush fire is braving the elements”.
Now, I have never done this and I don’t think I’ve known anyone who ever has.
I could have said something better as it was incredibly stupid to say, but I didn’t.
After a few hours into the climb, the rain became a fair bit heavier, and winds were getting stronger.
It certainly wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t feel it was much of a deterrent for as it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
There was one point where I saw a mother, son and daughter doing the climb.
The daughter was concerned about her mother doing the climb, so I offered my assistance. They said they were doing okay, so I continued.
Eventually I stopped at one of the huts and waited for them to arrive just to make sure they were doing okay. They said they were and were going to be using the hut were next to (it might have actually been the next one; I can’t quite remember).
Before I left, I gave them the other onigiri I had, then continued my journey.
During the climb I would see people standing in the rain and smoking.
It stuck out to me as a bit odd.
I don’t know why.