Our Day 2 started with a simple breakfast prepared by the couple who owns the inn, the meal was served on the banquet hall on the first floor and we eat together with the other guests of the inn. The veggies are very fresh, picked from their own garden in front of the inn. Before we left, we asked Uncle if he could bring us to any onsen around the area later in the afternoon, he said he knows a good place which could give us a discount and he could pick us up also after were done.
Day 2, Thursday (31-10-2013) Morning: Fujiyoshida Walking Tour (Ekikara Hiking)
A few weeks before our trip, I chance upon the JR East website regarding this Ekikara Hiking, a free (unguided) walking tour around Fujiyoshida. Registration is free but must register online to reserve. So we brought the confirmation email at Fujiyoshida Tourist Information Center beside Mt. Fuji Station (one station away from Kawaguchiko/210 Y) and picked up the guide map with a free bottle of water and Mt. Fuji postcard souvenir.
The first on the map is the shrine gate called Kanadorii, the first of 3 gates you need to pass by when doing the Mt. Fuji pilgrimage during the early days.
The first gate “Kanadorii,” near Fujiyoshida station, the second stands at the entrance of the approach to Sengen Jinja, the third is “Otorii.” And this torii gate located at the west side of the shrine complex serves as the entrance to the Yoshidaguchi climbing trail. It is considered the starting point for the Mt.Fuji pilgrimage.
Next we pass by Oshi Togawa-ke Jutaku (Museum of Oshi House as pilgrim’s Inn)
This is the house of OSHI who was the religious coordinator and supported the faith of Mt.Fuji. Before the Heian period, people used to make a bow toward Mt.Fuji from the foot of it. However, under the influence of Buddhism, that style had changed, and people prayed for Mt.Fuji and admired Mt.Fuji by climbing on it. The houses of OSHI on the foot of Mt.Fuji were used as accommodations, and the Fujiyoshida town was thronged with people who believe in Mt.Fuji faith. At one point, there were more than 80 OSHI’s houses. The main building of the former-Togawa family house was constructed in 1768 (Meiwa 5) which is one of the oldest buildings of OSHI’s houses, so it is very precious. The back room which is connected with a corridor has a splendid god place, and the statue of Jiki-gyo Miroku (religious people of Mt.Fuji faith) sits on it. In the premises, the stuff which had been used in the Togawa family house and the Mt.Fuji faith-related goods are displayed, and these things will tell you what role Oshi was and what kinds of faith the Mt.Fuji faith was. The guide by a local staff is available on your demand. It is the cultural asset designated by Yamanashi prefecture and the attached facility of Fujiyoshida Museum of Local History. (from http://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp)
And our last major stop is Fujisengen-jinja
There are more than a thousand Fuji Sengen shrines across Japan, dedicated to Princess Konohanasakuya, the Shinto deity associated with Mount Fuji. Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine, formally known as Kitaguchi Hongu Sengen Jinja (North Entrance Sengen Shrine), is the main Sengen Shrine on the north side of the mountain. The head shrine of them all is the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha on the other side of the mountain in Fujinomiya.
Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine stands in a dense forest and is set off from the road by a long approach lined by stone lanterns and shaded by tall cedar trees. The shrine’s red painted buildings include a main hall dating from 1615, a dancing stage and a few auxiliary buildings. (from http://www.japan-guide.com)
In the past, Fujiyoshida’s Sengen Shrine used to be the common starting point for climbing Mount Fuji from the north. The trailhead is still located directly behind the right side of the shrine’s main hall, and some traditionalist hikers still begin their ascent with a prayer at the shrine before passing through the wooden torii gate in the back of the shrine grounds.
These days, however, most climbers forego the shrine and start their ascent from Kawaguchiko 5th Station halfway up the mountain. This effectively halves the distance to the summit and shortens the climb by more than five hours. (from http://www.japan-guide.com)
We finished the trail close to noontime and proceed back to Kawaguchiko station, from here we had our lunch at a cafe just infront of the station.
Day 2 (31-10-2013) Afternoon: Lake Kawaguchiko
We went back to the hotel to rest for a while and requested Uncle to move our onsen schedule from 3pm to 5pm because we want to check Lake Kawaguchiko nearby. We asked for directions and learned that it is just less the 10 minutes walk from our hotel.
Day 2 (31-10-2013) Evening: Fujiyama Onsen
This new facility is run by and located next to Fuji Q Highland. Its baths are a modern take on traditional wooden bathhouses with both indoor and outdoor baths for each gender. Unfortunately the baths do not face Mount Fuji, but there is a good view of the mountain from the restaurant.
Hours: 7:00-9:00, 10:00-23:00 (entry ends at 8:00 and 22:00 respectively)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 600 yen (mornings), 1500 yen (weekdays), 2000 yen (weekends)
With the green voucher above which Uncle gave us, we only paid 800Y instead of 1,500Y. Yasui desu ne!
The onsen has indoor and outdoor hot spring pool on the first floor, a restaurant and sleeping pod area on the second floor, a massage center on the third floor and an exclusive female area on the fourth floor.
After more than two hours, we called Uncle from the hotel and requested to pick us up and drive us back to the hotel. The best way to end our 2nd day in Japan. Oyasumi!