Friday, 17 July 2015

JVlog #22: Mount Fuji & Lake Kawaguchiko Day 2 Part 1 - The Shibazakura Festival

Good Day Everyone,

Welcome to the second day of our trip. If you missed day one then you can catch up here and here. I woke up on the second day after a not so great night's sleep. I don't think I've ever slept on such a lumpy mattress before... perhaps that explained why the rooms were so cheap lol!
Pink shibazakra with Mount Fuji in the background

As it was still early the cafes weren't open yet so we headed to a convenience store for a morning coffee. Japanese convenience stores are fantastic! They cater for so much more than just snacks and often have a small dine in section. They provide complimentary microwaves so you can buy a ready meal, heat it up and eat it there. You can also get hot drinks, toiletries, and sometimes even a shirt and tie set, just in case you've had an all nighter during the working week! How cool is that?!
Mount Fuji

We got very lucky with the weather for our second day with another blue sky morning. Mount Fuji was clearly visible although it did have a marshmallowy white cloud around it's summit. Since we had some time to spare we wondered down a few side streets to look at Japanese houses and gardens, and to admire the different views of Mount Fuji. You can see that and the rest of our day in the video below :o).

We then went back to Kawaguchiko Station to join the queue to purchase tickets for the Shibazakura Festival. Shibazakura, also know as pink moss or phlox moss are teeny tiny flowers that form a beautiful blanket/carpet of colour on the ground when in full bloom.
The festival venue was located just south of Lake Motosuko (the most western of the Fuji Five Lakes) and we purchased a ticket that included entrance to the festival as well as a return coach journey for ¥1,900 each. The coach journey took about 40mins each way and we went past both Lake Shojiko (the smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes) and Lake Motosuko (the image of which appears on the reverse side of the ¥1,000 bill) along the way. Both of these lakes looked very remote and isolated. The surrounding area wasn't particularly built up and there really wasn't much around. Now we understood why people online were recommending that Lake Kawaguchiko was the best for non-Japanese speaking tourists. Also, there isn't much in the way of bus services around the Fuji Five Lakes so you need to get about on the tour coaches or the tourist bus which runs from about 9am-5/6pm, if you don't have your own transport.

We arrived at the venue to a sea of tour coaches. Even though it was still relatively early in the morning tourists were out in force, most probably to get the best photos of the shibazakura before the festival got too busy. It looks like we all had the same idea ;o). We took a leisurely walk around the grounds admiring the shibazakura and keeping an eye for that famous spot where you have a carpet of bright pink shibazakura with Mount Fuji in the background.
The festival area was surrounded by beautiful green mountains of varying shades of green. I can imagine the mountains being particularly stunning during autumn/fall as the leaves change colour. There were also lots of different flowers in bloom that provided a pleasant contrast to the shibazakura. There was a purpose built viewing platform on the grounds that we went up to get some photos, although to get the iconic photo of the bright pink shibazakura in the foreground with Mount Fuji in the background we needed to be lying on the ground, not going up lol. Hubby did a great job of capturing that shot for me, the one that you see at the top of this blog post :o).
As well as places where we could get a light bite to eat and purchase some shibazakura themed delights, there was a little collection of market stalls to mooch around where we could buy Japanese goods including Japanese Peach Tea. The short text on the tea box is typical of the polite Japanese etiquette that we've always enjoyed, although the man looks a bit too aggressive for my liking!

I hope you enjoyed the vlog and this blog post of the second day of our trip. The final part will be coming soon.

Love Sheen xxx
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