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The Foothills of Fuji-san

semi-overcast 28 °C

There is not a Japanese tour guide or travel advertisement that doesn’t feature Mt. Fuji on its front cover. But, while everyone comes in the hope of seeing the mountain, most get no better view than this…
The elusive Fuji is the highest peak in Japan and often has its head in the clouds. However there are many good reasons to visit the mountainous Hakone region in the foothills of the sacred peak. Volcanic springs spew sulphurous hot water from fumaroles in the mountainsides and a myriad of alpine resorts channel the steaming liquid into their onsens, (bathhouses), like this one at our hotel in the village of Gora…
Water is everywhere in Japan. So far we have ducked two typhoons but a third, potentially the most serious in living memory, is headed Japan's way next week. Until then we could happily luxuriate in the mineral springs of Hakone and even sit with our feet in hot water while we have coffee at our favourite lakeside café in Motohakone-Ko …
The placid waters of Lake Ashinoko make an ideal viewing platform for Mount Fuji – they told us…However, we had great fun sailing across the lake, despite the gloomy weather, and met some delightful young girls from Tokyo…
The Hakone area is the playground of Tokyo and public transport in the mountains rivals that of the cities, with frequent buses and trains that zigzag up the steep inclines. And when the roads run out there are funiculars and cable cars to take us to the peaks We were told that that the view of Mount Fuji from the cable car is spectacular – on a clear day...

And so after two fruitless days peering through the gloom in search of Fuji-san, we packed our bags and readied to catch the early morning train to Tokyo, knowing that we now had a reason to return to Japan – if ever we needed one. But when we opened our shutters in the morning we had entered a dreamworld. The clouds had drifted away, the sun was shining and Admiral Lord Nelson's man-o'war, H.M.S Victory, came sailing into the harbour...
We quickly tore up our train tickets and made a dash for the jetty, and as we set sail the glorious peak of Mount Fuji slowly rose above the yardarm...
More and more of the great mountain came into view above the swirling clouds...
Until, finally, as we jumped ship and rode a cable car high into the sky, Japan's most sacred mountain was revealed to us in all its splendour...
In a few weeks time, once the last of the year's typhoons have past and the maples all turned red, Fuji-san will put on its familiar white cap and pose for tourist's photos. In the meantime - we have our photos and so many memories of our time in the Hakone mountains.

Posted by Hawkson 02:35 Archived in Japan

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great ship! Lucky timing.

by Jenna

Spectacular images.

by The Vickerage

WOW - what good fortune!
I AM so touched by the gift of the mountain - might as well call it a miracle!
much love to the three of you, G/***

by Gabriole

This is what makes life so interesting if one is able to seize the moment. You never know what is around the corner. May you evade the typhoon. Will be thinking of you.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Cloudy and rainy here. We could use an onsen or two here today. Terrific shots of Fuji. I hope those girl's gave you back your souvenirs!

by Tom

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