I didn’t spend just two days in Japan. I was there for much longer, but I was working and the opportunities to see Japan were limited. I spent most of my time in Tokyo-Chiba, a prefecture across the bay from Tokyo.
I think most guide books would warn you that July is the rainy-season. It’s true. It did rain. It sprinkled most days and was muggy and humid all days, but even through the humidity everyone was covered up. Women wore stockings and men kept their jackets on. I looked for every opportunity not to wear my jacket! The fashion in Chiba was modest, but I did see some of the fashion that the Japanese are famous for when I ventured out to Tokyo. I don’t know how these girls put these styles together, but I certainly couldn’t pull it off.
On the first of my two days in Japan, the goal wasn’t Tokyo. The goal was Mount Fuji. The trip to Fuji from Chiba was well over two hours, closer to three. To get to Fuji from Chiba, you must go through Tokyo. The train ride to Tokyo from Chiba was about 40 minutes. On the way, I saw a small towns turn into villages. It seemed like every small village had gardens and rice patties. Everything in the garden was neatly organized, the flowers, the vegetables, the rice, everything.
As you near Tokyo, the train becomes more populated. Luckily, I had a seat and was spared another thing Japan, particularly Tokyo, is famous for — crowded trains. I read somewhere that when you’re in Tokyo you need to buy socks. That the Japanese make awesome socks. While in Tokyo I saw a poster at one of the stores that said, in English, “A great outfit starts with socks.” So there you go, get some socks. The girls wore delicate socks in all colors and patterns with their shoes. Any kind of shoe, it doesn’t matter. Heels? Socks. Mules? Socks. Sandals? Socks.
From Tokyo, I finally made it to Kawaguchiko station after what felt like 25 trains (I think it was actually 3). At Kawaguchiko you catch a bus that takes you up to Base Station 5 on Mount Fuji. From the base station you can start hiking. Prepare to be amazed. You can’t believe how high you are. And there are so many people!
Mount Fuji is no joke. The weather is temperamental and some of the inclines are pretty steep. Bring your rain gear, something warm, and your hiking shoes. Poles would be helpful also. It was also pretty slippery so take your time. I arrived a little late in the day and didn’t have enough time to hike to the summit. I guess, I’ll have to come back!
The scenes from Mount Fuji were truly breathtaking. Through the fog and clouds, I saw the tiny villages below and the majestic lakes. People would come in and out of the fog on Mount Fuji and you can really feel you are somewhere special.
To read about day two click here.