A Travellerspoint blog

Mount Fuji

Climbing up to the sunrise

On our way to Mount Fiji!!

mount-fuji2.jpg

After a big day at the Imperial Palace, we our finally en route to Mount Fuji. We decided to take a bus from Shinjuku all the way to the Kawaguchi 5th Station because we were told by a local that taking a bus is cheaper than taking a bunch of local trains, and the bus is much more enjoyable. The bus is called the Fuji Kyuko. The bus station is located in front of the Yodobashi Camera store. We chose the Kawaguchi 5th Station because it is the most popular route and route of its large parking area and many large mountain huts where a climber can rest or stay. During the summer season, most Mount Fuji climbing tour buses arrive there, making it simple for us to keep on the right track. This bus will also take us back to Tokyo which will make it easier for us to catch the bullet train to Kyoto. Getting off the bus at the 5th Station was unbelievable. Since our hike began at 9:00 pm, most of the shops were closed and it was pretty dark out. The shops that were open were mainly food shops where you could also purchase simple souvenirs like key chains and stamps. We had time to kill because the hike only takes about 4 ½ hours and the sun wasn’t rising for quite some time. The prices were very reasonable for food and water. The prices generally ranged from 100 to 500 yen which amounts to about $1.17 to $5.85 Canadian. We all bought a walking stick from the store. This is not only for help with hiking the trail in the dark but you also collect stamps along your journey from the stations to prove how high you have climbed. You stick them onto your stick as you move up the mountain. We packed our things up in a locker that we wouldn’t need for the hike and started our adventure! We didn’t really know where to go or how to begin so we found ourselves following a group in front of us. Luckily they knew what they were doing. It was a lot brighter than we thought it would be, it turns out we didn’t even need our flashlights because the moon was so big! Once we hit the 7th resting station, we decided to take a break and indulge in come hot chocolate and cup of noodles. It was a little expensive but well worth the fueling fee! We were happy that we brought our money with us because it cost 100 Yen to use the restroom. A lot of people were sleeping on the sides of the trail and some had even paid 7000 Yen to use the Tatami room for a more comfortable sleep. This amounts to about $81.90 Canadian per person. We were worried that we would miss the sunrise, so we pushed ourselves through our tired spells and kept moving. Once we hit the top, it was a very short period of time before the sunrise began. It was the most beautiful thing any of us had even seen. Photographs don’t do it justice. I suppose maybe that is because of the anticipation the 4½ hour hike musters up. This is the shot that I took of the sunrise.

fuji_sunrise.jpg

There was only one thing left to do after that. Mount Fuji is shaped like a cone with a huge crater at the top, center. There is a trail that goes all the way around the crater. Although we had already seen the best part of the mountain, we couldn’t climb Mount Fuji without reaching its highest point. It takes about 30 minutes (more or less depending on your pace) to reach the little monument that marks the high point, and about 2 minutes to snap a picture and move on. There isn't much to see, although I for one thoroughly enjoyed walking in the morning sun around the side of the crater. When we returned to the Kawaguchi area, it was still early. There wasn't much more to do, so my friend and I started down the mountain. It was much easier and a lot faster to get down the mountain. As I’m sure you have experienced when walking down a flight of stairs. One of the reasons people complain about climbing Mount Fuji is the dust on the way down. You don't want to be behind someone at this point or you will be well coated. We walked to a gravel parking lot and caught an uncomfortable bus that drove incredibly slowly down the mountain. We got off in a parking lot, where we waited for another bus. This took us to the slowest train I've ever ridden in Japan. We eventually made it home later that evening around 6:00 p.m. All we could think about was eating food and hitting the sack!

Posted by JAPANTVT10 12:27 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

Imperial Palace

Good morning,

It’s 9:00am here in Japan and we’re just packing up all our things and getting ready to go on a free guided tour of the Imperial Palace grounds, which is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan and his family. If anyone is planning on visiting Japan and wants to check out the Palace, my advice would be to book a tour well in advance, which you can do on the internet at this website.

http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/eindex.html

imppal.jpg

The inner gardens are only open to the public 2 times a year; January 2 (New Years Greeting), and December 23 (Emperor’s Birthday), so if you can plan your trip around those dates I would strongly recommend it. Throughout the rest of the year the grounds are closed Mondays and Fridays. The staff at our hotel has been a wonderful help as they told us to take a taxi to the train station and take it to the Tokyo Station which is then a 10 minute walk to the Imperial Palace grounds.

Alright well we’re going to leave the hotel now so I’ll be back to let you know how everything was!

It’s 1:00pm now and we just had our guided tour of the Imperial Palace and a nice noodle lunch. The grounds of the Palace are absolutely amazing and very big. The guided tours are led by the Japanese but English audio and pamphlets are handed out so you can follow along. The Palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle surrounded by beautiful moats and stone walls. The seasonal flowers and well taken care of blossoming trees that cover the grounds are amazing to see in the center of a populated metropolitan city. The Palace itself has been rebuilt a number of times for different reasons, but most recently in 1968 after being destroyed in WW2. The gardens have a variety of fountains and buildings that are for the Imperial household agencies, different types of museums, and art and music halls where you can view beautiful kimonos and Japanese paintings.

imperial_p.._bridge.jpg
Nijubashi Bridge at the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
It is said that the Nijubashi Bridge is the most photographed scene in Japan
.

That’s everything about the Tokyo Imperial Palace that we can think to tell you about from the tour, but we would definitely recommend anyone to go see the grounds if you are in Japan. We are now leaving Japan en route to Mt. Fuji by the Tomei Express Bus that’s supposed to take around two and a half hours.

We’ll be in touch when we reach Mt.Fuji!

Posted by JAPANTVT10 12:29 Archived in Japan Comments (2)

Asakusa Walking Tour

Hello Tokyo!

We decided the best way to start of our adventure would be to explore the Asakusa district. Asakusa is located in the shitamachi, in English that translates to “low city”, and is right next to the Ginza subway line making it easy for us to get to. Asakusa embodies a preserved feel to it of old Tokyo. Most visitors come to see the Sensoji which is a Buddhist temple that was constructed back in the 7th century, the temple is also known as the Asakusa Kannon Temple. The legend behind the temple is two brothers found a statue of the goddess of mercy, Kannon, in the Sumida River. The brothers always placed the statue back in the river, yet it would always return to them. The temple was built in honor of Kannon.

Aside from the historical value that the area offers it is a great shopping area. Prior to World War Two, Asakusa was Tokyo’s entertainment district, it was the location of many kabuki theatres and featured a large red light district. Nowadays you will find the Hanayashiki which is a small carnival set up next to the temple. We spent a couple hours trying the rides and trying out the games. The main shopping street is called Nakamise, we found traditional snacks like ningyoyaki which is a pastry filled with bean jam and souvenirs such as folding fans. Asakusa is the largest geisha district in Tokyo, there is currently 45 of them working in the area. Unfortunately there are no shows available this time of year.

asakusa1.jpg

Asakusa was a great first taste of Japan. Tomorrow we are off to explore the Imperial Palace!

Posted by JAPANTVT10 12:31 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Arriving in Tokyo

Trying out the local food

Arriving in Tokyo!!

japan_map.jpg
We are heading from Tokyo to Mounti Fuji back to Tokyo. Then we head over to Kyoto then to Hiroshima and again back to Tokyo to catch our flight home.

Finally, after our 12 and a half hour flight we arrived in Tokyo! Let me tell you, its crazy here compared to Calgary, I have never seen so many people walking the streets or seen as many giant buildings in my life. When you arrive it is a bit of a culture shock, everyone always seems to be in a hurry unlike back home, where everyone takes their time to do almost everything.
Today we are focusing on experiencing the culture by tasting some of their wonderful food and walking around checking out some of their shops hopefully without getting lost! Everyone knows one of the main foods in Japan is obviously sushi and sake, but the stuff we eat back home doesn’t even compare to flavors you get here! It’s amazing!! Another dish we experienced is called Okonomiyaki, which translates to “cook what you like”, which is a pancake that you can pick seafood, vegetables, and other meats to put in it while it is being cooked up right in front of you at your table. It might sound a little different, but it’s perfect for people travelling on a budget because it’s cheap, tasty, and very filling.
Alright well I’ve been on here long enough for today, we’re going to go check out the entertaining nightlife in Tokyo tonight and go on the Asakusa walking tour tomorrow!

We’ll keep you all posted back home!!

Posted by JAPANTVT10 10:39 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Leaving Calgary

Enroute to Japan!


View Japanada Adventure on JAPANTVT10's travel map.

9yen.jpg

Hello everyone!

There are 3 of us that are super excited to leave Calgary on a trip to Japan tomorrow so we’re just making sure we have everything we need on our check list, and think other people travelling might find this helpful as well. This website can help you get started on packing so you don't forget anything.

http://gojapan.about.com/cs/traveltools/a/packing.htm

In Japan they speak Japanese so we bought a couple of translator books and we have also sat in on a few Japanese language classes to learn main greetings, gratitude’s, and pronunciations. We have exchanged some Canadian Dollars into the Japanese currency, which is Yen, so when we arrive we can just take a taxi to our hotel, or get some food and not worry about having the proper currency. For our first night in Tokyo we pre-booked a hotel room so we don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay that is vacant in order to lessen our worries. It is a good idea to check out the following website so you have some information on Japan before you leave.

http://larabell.org/cynic_1.html

Another good idea is to make sure you have a copy of the booking to bring along with the name and address of the hotel on it in case you aren’t able to describe it to the taxi driver and can just show it to him or her.
The only identification you will need if you’re travelling to Japan is a passport that is valid for up to six months from when you arrive in their country. You don’t have to send away for a tourist visa before you leave because they will stamp your passport upon arrival and that will be good for up to three months. To keep your documentation safe I would try to stay in places that offer in-room safes so you can place all your papers in there while you’re out exploring. If you’re not staying in hotels and choosing places that won’t offer safes, I would recommend buying a money belt that you can put your money and important documents in, that is worn under your clothes close to you. If you plan on going out a lot at night, you should always bring a separate photo I.D so you have less chance of misplacing or getting your passport stolen, and other I.D will fit much easier in the money belt.
Japan is like Canada in the fact that it has 4 seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. We’re going to be there in the summer which can be very humid, so we will be bringing light breathable clothes and proper walking shoes so we don’t have to cab everywhere. If you’re taking a trip to Japan make sure you check what time of year you are going so you can pack accordingly since they do have a big rainy season.
One last thing before you leave for your trip, make sure you have the proper amount of insurance coverage to keep your thoughts on your trip and not thinking about what will happen if you unfortunately get hurt or sick. We got our insurance through a travel agency, however there are many places where you can obtain it such as banks, online or through a travel operator.

Alright well we have to go get some sleep for our long journey tomorrow!

We’ll keep in touch.

Posted by JAPANTVT10 11:05 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 10) « Page 1 [2]