If you have a free day in your itinerary, I highly recommend considering a day tour to Mt Fuji. We booked one through japanican, namely the Mt Fuji Golden Tour, for our third last day in Japan. The tour included 4 stops and a bento lunch on an air-conditioned bus.
We started off the day early in the morning at the meeting point Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, which was about a 20min walk from Best Western. There were some displays up for the Dolls’ festival, which was nice.
The bus was comfortable and our tour guide, Marie, was funny and informative, entertaining us the whole 2 hour journey to our first stop.
We also caught glimpses of Mt Fuji on the way, this one against the backdrop of the Fuji-Q rollercoaster.
We couldn’t go further up the mountain to the 5th station as it was closed due to road conditions, but we made it up to the 4th station. There were a lot of other tours stopped at the same station.
There was a lookout with a view out towards the lake, which was pretty was spectacular.
There was a small souvenir shop selling, funnily enough, cans of Mt Fuji air!
Our next stop was the small village of Oshino Hakkai, whose ponds contained water from the melted snow of Mt Fuji. It was another tourist hotspot, with its own set of souvenir shops – you could also buy food to feed the fish in the water.
On route to our next stop Marie handed our lunch, a bento box and a packet drink – not exactly a gourmet lunch, but it was pretty decent taste-wise.
The view from the bus:
Shiraito Falls was our next stop, its main attraction being the 20m tall waterfall. We got another great view of Mt Fuji in the carpark.
We walked past the smaller Otodome falls first.
The main waterfall was down a hundred steps, and once at the bottom, you could also walk across the rocks to get closer to the base of the waterfall.
Marie recommended that we try some ice-cream, made from fresh milk from a vendor near the entrance to the falls. It was smooth and creamy, perfect if the weather hadn’t been so chilly.
Our final stop was the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine, the main Shinto Mt Fuji shrine.
We were a little early for cherry blossoms, but to everyone’s delight, there was one weeping sakura tree in full bloom in the shrine courtyard.
The trip back was quite long as the bus took us on a roundabout route to avoid traffic. We ended up back in Shinjuku about 3 hours later.
After a long day we decided to have dinner at a yakiniku restaurant called Black Hole, which was just 20m from Best Western.
We settled on the wagyu set, which came with salad (ie cabbage and dressing), wagyu tongue, loin and our favourite – 6 slices of wagyu ribs (Uebara cut, of which we ordered an extra plate). There were also some pieces of spiced chicken, 2 slices of pork, broccoli, mushroom, soup, rice and a drink each. The set cost Y5000 per person.
Our souvenirs from Oshino Hakkai:
Just note that we were extremely lucky to be able to see Mt Fuji at every stop, as the mountain is not visible for most days of the year, so do research when you will have the best chance of viewing the mountain as you may be disappointed otherwise.