‘The Mountain Of Fuji’

No, that can’t be Mount Fuji

I dismissed my sisters query very authoritatively, as I snuggled back into my seat.

Where is the snow cap and cloud cover?

Fuji
First sight of Fuji San (and the roller coaster from a theme park in the vicinity) from our bus.

My sister’s faith in my opinion was plain for all to see, when she turned to our guide for confirmation. “Nooooo! Where is the snow cap and cloud cover?” she replied, as I smirked at dear sis.

” Hehehe…..I was joking, that IS Fuji-san”

Even my sister didn’t think that was funny, as we grabbed our cameras and scrambled for decent shots from the moving vehicle.

We should be grateful, we were told, that the notoriusly ‘shy lady’ was brazenly ‘unveiled’ just for our benefit. That she only revealed herself some 100 days in an entire year.

“Do you have any idea how many people go back without getting a glimpse of her beauty? ”

But where is the snow cap?” I muttered under my breath.

We were to drive right up the mountain – on a musical road, no less – to the Kawaguchiko 5th station, that lies at approximately the halfway point of the Yoshida Trail. This is where hikers refuel on their ascent to the summit.

From that close, Fuji-san looked well….even less like Fuji-san! The consolation was a bit of the early autumn foliage, that us tropical creatures had been so eager to witness.

DSC_0007 copy

Cable car
Journey to Owakudani
Fuji
Steam vents and bubbling pools in Owakudani – or great boiling valley – an area around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago.

Our next viewpoint was Owakudani, involving a scenic cable car ride up and a walk through sulphur vents and hot springs.  And a brief pit stop for the black eggs (eggs hard cooked in the sulfur springs) that are said to prolong one’s presence on earth by a minimum of seven years! They had run out sadly, and my hope of seven bonus years to complete my travel bucket list was dashed.

From up here, we could discern a faint resemblance to the Fuji etched into our brains. Very very faint mind you, and most likely the result of the veil of clouds that by now shrouded her summit.FujiI had little expectations gong into Japan on an impromptu escorted tour. But nothing prepared me for the disappointment of seeing Mount Fuji without her customary cap. It was somewhat like discovering that the Taj Mahal is actually painted red! (Okay, not quite that drastic, but you get the picture.)

Now let me ask you something:

What do you think are the chances of getting a fabulous shot of Fuji-san – snow cap and all – without ever stepping foot in Japan?

The answer is here!

Unfair really.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

53 thoughts on “‘The Mountain Of Fuji’

  1. The header pic, here (the last one in the article) is brilliant!

  2. I’m enjoying seeing the world through your writing and your lens, Madhu! I’m so glad taht you are blessed with not only the ability to travel but also to document your experiences in such a ‘connecting’ manner.

  3. Hi, how did u traveled from Kawaguchiko to owakudani? I’m wondering if I can visit these 2 places in a day. Please advise… Thanks 🙂

    1. We drove there Ywyn, after a brief stop for lunch in between. Certainly possible in a day, unless you want to hike up. Good luck with the planning, and thanks for dropping by 🙂

  4. Aieee. So this was the disappointment that you told me about. 😉 Mine was just a lucky shot, though. Meanwhile, how wonderful it must have been to go on that cable car in the midst of the fall foliage. Such a lovely view!

  5. I can understand your disappointment, Madhu, but you still got some very fine photos. I loved going along on the tour with you. I have never been to Japan, but my son is thinking about going there to teach English, and if he does, we will surely go see him there. Best wishes for your next adventure!

  6. Waooooooo ! Thanks for the virtual tour. Its a beautiful place. Loved all pictues
    Great work here. All the Best 🙂

  7. I know I shouldn’t have but when I did that link and saw Tita’s photo I started to chuckle to myself… Life is certainly not fair haha!
    Look it that way: you had the chance to set foot in Japan. That’s pretty lucky in itself 😉

  8. At least you got a bit further… We saw a snow capped Mount but the pathway was treacherous and so they closed it. We got to 5th station without the climb, 🙂

  9. Poor Mt Fuji, it seems as though you caught it on a bad hair day, undressed and without make-up! However Madhu, thank you for your entertaining words and photos showing us the other side!

  10. Nice fun post ! Its good to know that one should plan a trip to Japan depending on whether one wants to see Mt Fuji with or without the snow caps!!

  11. I was lucky to get the full snow capped view of Fuji- san from plane window and later from the cable car at Owakudani.

  12. Ah! the magic of your camera — reflection in action, reflection on action – you do justice to both! The only injustice is that National Geographic has not picked you up – what a loss for them! xx

  13. Right now I will sell my leg for a ride on that roller coaster!
    Just the location of it!
    As usual,excellent snaps ofcourse.you just can’t get over Japan,can you?!

  14. Oh 7 years gone. Just eat some noodles, Philippine noodles to be exact. 😀 they said it prolongs your life. Hehehe.
    Anyhow, love the second shot!

  15. oh thanks for taking me on your journey to see Fuji-san, i missed her when we were in Japan, a wonderful journey Madhu!

  16. i once went to a remote hacienda in nicaragua for the sole reason of seeing the moon rise over a classic volcano peak, as a guidebook noted. how disappointed i was to see the moon rise on the opposite side of the island, and it set over the volcano around dawn. i was so disgusted and wrote the guidebook!
    z

  17. Beautiful shots. It’s a sad reminder of one we missed when we were in Costa Rica. We only had one overnight stay near Arenal Volcano. Unfortunately, there was rain and cloud cover. So we never saw it. I’m glad that your luck was much better.

  18. Thanks for reminding me of Tita’s great photo, Madhu. You’ll just have to go back on your own terms to get that black egg!

  19. I can understand your disappointment. Somehow I thought Fuji was snow covered year round. Do you think it’s due to the climate change? A lot of the glacier mountains in Peru had lost a lot of their snow in the 3 years that I had last been there. If you ever make it back, I’m sure you’ll be going airborne for that gallery shot! 🙂
    I really liked this series and the bubbling pots, very cool

  20. You are not the only person to have been disappointed by Mt Fuji. So many people have told me that there was bad weather on the day they visited, but the area around there is very scenic apparently, with many things to do.

    1. Hi, Thank you for sending to me The Mountain of Fuji. It’s very a beautiful.How do you like my blog? Please email. The best regards. RIMAS MELESHYUS

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  21. Have only seen it on distance – even further away then your last photo, but it sure is a stunning sight. Visit your link – what a photo …

  22. I agree that your photos are stunning. I did not know about the sulphur eggs so that is interesting.

  23. That last photo is beautiful; mysterious with the clouds veiling the top…I believe I like that better than a snow cap. I’d be careful flying over that Mayon Volcano 🙂

  24. Japan very nice country to travel. I am going to sail next year in 2013 to the Kochi-Japan. Your pictures has intrigued me for a long time.

  25. I guess that you got to see it at all is great, although I believe I would have been disappointed as well. I didn’t know that she ever was without snow.

    1. Me neither Luann! In fact I had to scour the net to find even a few images without snow! But loads of instances where people couldn’t see the mountain at all, so some comfort there 🙂

      1. It seems you’ve had plenty of captivating travel moments so probably not too disheartening, or maybe this is just me being green with envy at all you have seen (lol). 🙂

  26. I do believe you feel cheated, Madhu..no snow capped mountain photo and no black egg.. I looked at Tita’s photo taken from the plane and I can totally understand your disappointment. Jame’s comment on seasons makes sense. But we can’t always plan it that way. Love the photo of the steam vents and bubbling pools.

    1. No we can’t and we planned this around the autumn festival, which was fabulous. So no regrets really. But a bit of snow on top of that sacred mountain would have been perfection 😀 Thanks Lynne.

  27. The Blue Mountains – both Jamaica (an expensive and prestigious coffee comes from there) and Australia have mountains called that – have Japan a blue mountain too..? 🙂 😉

    – a beautiful shot… 🙂

    1. Not sure about Japan, but we do!!!! And I lived there for a decade on a tea plantation 😀

  28. Oh, I feel for you. However, your photos are fabulous nonetheless. I like the one with the steaming rocks. It looks like one from a fantasy movie. Now, about having that picture of Mt. Fuji, the solution is simple – fly over it on you way to the Philippines. Then go find the Mayon Volcano. It is said that only the pure of heart gets to see its perfect shape. 😉

    1. You forget…..I don’t need to fly over Japan to get to the Phillippines! But get there I will, and the Mayon Volcano will hopefully prove how pure of heart I really am 😀

  29. Isn’t it funny how the images we have from photographs or TV and film become the benchmark? At least you saw her unveiled – the right shape, if not the right raiment! Fun post Madhu – and thanks for sending us over to Tita buds perfect snow-capped cone 🙂

    1. It really is! And yes we were fortunate to have been able to see her at all. But I know that if I fly into Japan ever again, it will be during the day 😀

  30. I know it’s disappointing when something doesn’t appear the way you expect it to. It still looks beautiful! I think it’s great you got to see it in a unique and purely Madhu way!

    1. I consciously try to approach travel without preconceived notions. But some things are so iconic and inviolable, that some expectation is unavoidable I think.
      But yes, it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be…that was Tita’s fault 😀

  31. Oh Madhu, I guess that’s what happens when you visit after the summer season… at least the lack of a snow cap is another reason to return!

    I went once as a 10-12 year old (can’t exactly remember the year!) and we stayed beside one of the lakes close to Mt. Fuji. It was sometime around Easter and it was surely capped in snow! But we had less luck on the mountain itself – a shroud of mist had descended by the time we got off the tour bus.

    1. Yes, tt’s a consolation that we at least got to see it up close. But a return – to witness cherry trees in full bloom and Fuji-san in all her glory – is certainly called for 🙂 Thanks James.

  32. I rushed over to Tita’s post. What a great shot she got from the plane! Now you’ll have to go back again, or at least, fly over the mountain. 🙂 Your pic with the veil of clouds is beautiful, though.

    1. Thanks Ad.
      Tita’s post inspired me to write this. I was so envious 🙂 Then again our trip was planned around the Takayama festival, so I guess I couldn’t have had my cake and eaten it too 🙂

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