-Soy milk is tricky
-Mountains can be adorable
-Better the lakes you never knew
On our first full day in Japan, boyfriend and I awoke with and adrenaline fuelled excitement. Probably coming from our complete exhaustion.
We looked out of the window of our sweet little abode. The sky was glorious and clear. It was definitely a sign from the universe – we had to see Mt. Fuji, TODAY!
We did a little research, and we decided to view the magnificent mountain from the Fuji Five Lakes district. Boyfriend and I would visit lake Kawaguchiko, which promised beautiful views of Fuji and a rustic town to traipse through.
(We were not disappointed!!)
Boyfriend and I set off from our apartment, seeking adventure and caffeine.
We stopped at a little coffee shop, and successfully ordered a soy latte for my lactose intolerant travel mate.
(Be warned, soy milk is not always available at cafes in Japan.)
From Shinjuku station we caught a looong train to a little town called Otsuki.
Otsuki was an adorable little spot to stretch our legs, smell the country air, and buy train snacks.
There was one more train ride awaiting before we would reach Kawaguchiko, and the train that arrived was absolutely adorable.
A string of cartoon Fuji’s was painted on the sides of the train. Each little mountain showed a different feeling and personality. These little caricatures made me feel instantly connected to the mountain, and I jumped on the train with nervous longing to meet our new mountain friend.
We reached Kawaguchiko, with no real idea of where to go to find Fuji.
We wandered forward, past tiny shops, little wooden houses, and trees that were changing from green to orangey-red.
We stumbled upon lake Kawaguchiko, and my heart literally fluttered. The lake is surrounded by Japanese maples, all of which were flaming red. which gave the lake a beautiful crimson border. Boyfriend and I celebrated our discovery with ice-cream and hundreds of photos.
I had heard that Kawaguchiko was home to a “Music Forest”, which was said to showcase a number of historic European and Japanese Music Boxes. I was very keen to see it, so I dragged my sweet boy on a 30 minute walk to the other-side of the lake.
On our walk we caught our first glimpses of Fuji. The mountain had been shrouded with mist and cloud, until suddenly the snowy peak and the iridescent sun started peering their way through.
It was magical to behold, the sun gave the peak a blazing and mystical quality. The two of us were stopped in our tracks.
We celebrated with thousands of photos, and gasping. (I was mainly responsible for the gasping…)
Then we found the Music Forest.
Boy oh boy….
The Music Forest was a small theme park devoted to Japans love of music boxes. There was incessant tinkling soundtrack, a man made lake (complete with swan), and three small exhibition halls – painted in pastels and gold.
Despite our first impressions, it was actually, adorably fun. (Or adorably tolerable for my sweet travel buddy.) They had the music box that was destined for the Titanic (thankfully it wasn’t completed before the ship set sail), and the worlds largest French Fair Ground Organ.
After the somewhat surprising experience at the Music Forest, Boyfriend and I began our journey home. We both stared at Fuji for as long as we could. The mountain that felt like our new best friend.
When we arrived back in Shinjuku, the bellies were rumbling.
We tried to find a special Udon restaurant, but we were bested poor english translations of Japanese addresses.
However, our disappointment lead to delight as our confused wanderings lead us to a tiny little noodle place -down an alley, and an alley, and an alley.
The restaurant was TINY! It would sit 10-12 people MAX.
The kitchen sat in the centre of the room, and was surrounded by a bench and stools. The ladies in the kitchen (who knows how they got in there!), kindly assisted us in ordering Machine Gun Noodles with grilled chicken, and a bowl of steaming Ramen. It was amazing. So tasty. It was exactly what our tired, achey bodies were looking for.
When we reached the apartment we quickly fell into a deep and happy sleep.