Mt Fuji / Hakone

Long day – made a questionable call last night to slip down to Shibuya to check out "the" crossing, which got a little more complex and a lot later than intended. Sleep disturbed by the tail end of coughing so the 7am start was a little challenging. Made it to our tour pickup and headed out through western Tokyo along the expressway to Mt Fuji, an enormous expanse of grey suburbs leading into beautiful mountainsides and incredibly lush forests with small towns and rice fields in between. Fuji-san was totally blanketed in low cloud and fog but we pressed on to station 5 half way up. Not a lot to see but tossed a few coins into the shrine and admired the garbage trucks, it was pretty fun except for the ten minute limitations of the schedule of a tour (won’t do another one!). Then off to – somewhere?- for a nice lunch which was a tourist mix of the Japanese classics, in fact the whole tour assumed we had no idea of anything about the country which was a little wearying. Unintentional comedy when the guide breezily asked if anyone knew why Japan was "the land of the rising sun" whereupon Cal stuck her hand up and explained that the Chinese referred to the islands as the country from where the sun rose, which rocked the guide slightly back on her feet acknowledging that yes, that was pretty much it. I was a little obnoxiously pleased. From there to Hakone and a short trip on a boat across lake Ashi, which was pretty cool but brief, then a cable car to the top of Komagatake, the middle peak of the crater of Hakone. No sign of Fuji-san due to cloud, but fun anyway and led to a short wander in thick fog at the top. And then back down, bus to Odawara and shinkansen back to Tokyo, many facts and figures asked by the girls and poorly guessed by dad. Quite a lot of fun aside from the rather grating "packaging" of the tour, but I guess we wouldn’t have done all that on our own. Would definitely like to go back.

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