Even though everyone here says that you stand only a 1% chance of seeing Mount Fuji because of the weather, we decided that we had to at least give it a try. We started out the day’s journey by train to Hakone-Yumoto and were pleasantly surprised by being able to see Mount Fuji every now and then from the train!
At Hakone-Yumoto we changed onto the smallest train ever (only 3 carriages long). This train started taking us up the mountains, and we soon realised why it was so short. In order to be able to get up the slopes, it used a Y-shaped track by driving in one direction to the bottom of the Y and then the driver hops out and goes to the “back” which then becomes the front and we ride in the opposite direction up the other leg of the Y!
Once we got as far as we could by train, we had to change over to a Cable Car. At first, we could not figure out why they call this a cable car as it looked like ordinary train coaches on tracks going up a REALLY steep slope. Then we realised that the entire train was being hoisted up by a massive cable!
From the cable car station, we hopped on the Hakone Ropeway which is similar to our version of the Table Mountain cable car. Now that was fun! It was from the Ropeway that we saw the first snow. The mountains were absolutely covered in snow and we could also manage to see a little of Mount Fuji although the clouds were looking ominous.
We stopped at the first station to play in the snow a bit and try to take some pics of the famous Mount Fuji. And that was when we realized that he’s not called the elusive mountain for anything. I swear that the mountain is camera shy or something! You’re looking at it in all its snow-capped beauty, but every time you whip out the camera, whoosh, there come the clouds and cover him up. None the less, that didn’t deter us from trying to snap some shots while we enjoyed hot coffee in the freezing cold!
From that lookout point, you could also see (and smell) the sulphur burning fields. It’s an odd thing, but you seem to get that whiff an awful lot all over the streets of Japan.
We continued with the Ropeway all the way down the other side of the mountains to Lake Ashi where we had lunch (some very strange tasting toasted sandwiches) and boarded the Magical Fairyland Pirate Ship for the other side of the lake. Brrrr, talk about cold! Other than that it was a really lovely boat ride. Unfortunately by that time, the clouds had gotten the better of us and we could no longer see Mount Fuji.
When we arrived at the far side of the lake (Hakone-Machi), we walked around a bit and saw the sights. We got harassed by little old Japanese ladies in the tourist shops trying to get us to buy their stuff. We made our way through a forest area and found a frozen lake which looked like someone had been cycling on?
We kept on going till we hit Moto-Hakone, where we needed to catch the bus back & we saw the 4 pm bus leaving. We thought it would be fine to catch the next bus, but lucky us, that was the last bus of the day! Anyway, we ended up having to wait around in the freezing cold for about an hour before we could catch the next local bus which took forever to take us to the train station.
From there it was homewards bound by train and of course a freezing cycle home!
All in all, we had a good day and we can count ourselves very lucky that we managed to see Mr Mount Fuji at all.