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Old 10th November 2013, 07:39   #1
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Wink Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date - 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo


P.S – This post would be full with pictures of the Highways here and the beautiful surrounding of the entire drive stretch.

A little prologue:

I had few dreams from my school days. Thanks to our then thought useless geography books, I had this urge to visit places mentioned therein. There are in fact many places which I always thought of visiting when I grow up. Mount Fujiyama is just one of them. It was always enticing for me back then to imagine, how in the name of Neptune people could find something as dreaded as a sleeping Volcano as sacred and sacrosanct. And as you may be aware this volcano is not dead yet though it hasn’t erupted in last 400 years. It’s just gone to a prolonged hibernation and if the scientists are to be believed (which I hope never comes true), it is about time that it erupts to its historical glory. Anyway, let’s get back to the topic leaving the metallurgy and nature scientists to do their job.

So the day I touched down at the Narita Airport in Tokyo, I had few plans in my mind. One of them was to visit Mount Fuji along with a visit to the famous war memorial at Hiroshima. The time was short with me as I am supposed to be in this country for a period of 3 months. From the second day itself I started searching the internet for available options to visit these places from Tokyo. Travel tours, group escapades, share travel or just plain hitchhiking; I wanted to visit these two places anyhow. There where a team member in Japan came as refreshing surprise. Like anyone who would be happy to know that a foreigner is interested to visit their famous landmarks, this chap was more than just happy seeing my interest. He in fact took a step more and suggested if I am OK, he would be eager to drive me around in his vehicle to all these places. Did I hear that correctly, I asked myself? Someone native to the place offering me an absolutely irrefutable proposition; could I let that opportunity go begging? Hell No. I grabbed with both my hands and feet.

Around early October, we planned to visit Mount Fuji, first in my list of must see. As this guy, whom I must introduce now, goes by the name Asaki Akira has a big Nissan Saloon capable of ferrying 8 people comfortably, we started shooting mails to prospective co-travellers, who possibly could be sharing the same travelling interest. There you go; within a day we saw all 8 seats of the vehicle being booked. So the trip to Fujiyama on October 5th was on.

As planned we assembled at the Nakano JR line station around 8 in the morning. Since Asaki leaves nearby Nakano, we thought of this assembling plan as we didn’t want to bother this great fellow with the pain of picking all of us from different parts of Tokyo; though he was even fine with that. We hurdled in to the car and started our journey for Mount Fuji. A long waiting period of 25 years is going to end, for me at least.

But as luck would have it, the navigator made some scary reading. The highway leading to Hiroshima, which goes through Fujiyama, has a real bad accident somewhere around Tosijuku At least 5 vehicles rammed into each other in the middle of nowhere on the highway and the traffic trail because of this mess runs about a good 23 kilometers, either side of the accident spot. All were disappointed, more because none of us had any plan B available with us. One of the friends of Asaki, who I am told is one exceptional traveller, came to our rescue. He suggested an Animal Safari some 200 odd kilometers away from Tokyo, on the route to Fukushima. Though little farther than the distance of Mount Fuji, he assured us of the place being worth the travel.

So Mount Fuji was struck off the plan for that day and we started moving towards the Safari. Now lets few pictures of this travel talk for themselves before I get back to the eagerly waiting drive to Fujiyama yesterday. Enjoy the highways of Japan and of course the animals those were more than just being friendly.

The Gang all ready - Yous truly at the extreme left
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Another Gang enjoying some rural festival going near the station
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Yes Asaki's Dog 'Dori' also joined us in the trip
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The Tunnel that joins Sinjuku to the Fukushima Highway
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Got to see my office building in Toyso on the way
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Nearing to the Exit of Nasu national Park from the Highway
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The Traffic to the park started from the Exit itself
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The entire Gang inside the Car
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By the time we reached the gates it was evening and they awere allowing the last batch
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Parking lot of the Safari
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The Safari Bus but you also can take your vehicle inside, provided you are not drunk and it is a SUV
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The Gang at the park with Dori
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Rest of the pictures are self explanatory
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This guy was little inquisitive to know if we are not hiding anything
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They have this small souvenir shop at the exit
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To Be Continued.....

Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 12:15.
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Old 10th November 2013, 08:12   #2
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued.....

Though the last time was disappointing for missing out on a trip to Fuji but as Asaki's friend has suggested - the trip to the park was worth the drive and pain. Seeing wild animals in the open and at such close range was fun to say the least.

So after a month or little over the last failed attempt we got some free time to plan for a Mount Fuji visit over the weekend. Date and time was agreed and mails were shoot across to fill the remaining seats of the car. As expected by the time it was 2 P.M, we had to hang the 'House Full' signboard outside.

This time the assembly plan was rejected as the ETD was decided upon at early morning 6. Since it was early morning Asaki did the hard part of it, to get up at 4:30 and tirelessly pick all of us from 5 different locations of the city. Hats off to his hospitality. So it was just over 6 A.M, I was the last one to be picked up from Osaki, the place of my stay

I am sorry for not posting enough highway pictures on the previous trip, which I will make up with this one. So buckle your seats as truck load of pictures, comparing to the distance of the trip will be unloaded here

The Gang early morning raiding the Family Mart for some snacks
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The mean Machine Nissan Scale that is our drive for the day
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They are building a new flyover near Osaki junction
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Internal road joining the Hiroshima highway
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Somewhere before Sinjuku
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The right building is Sinjuku tower which also houses the Indian consulate among others
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Toll gate before we hit the highway. Mark that it is unmanned and fully automated. Guess when we will have all these back home. At least on the GQ
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First view of the Tokyo-Hiroshima highway
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We continued...
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The signage on the Highway is best with detailed information every 1/2 kilometer
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We encountered little to slight heavy traffic on the first 20 Km of drive. The drive pictures follows..
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Look at the greenery
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See the signage and the information. It not only depicts the Km but also the estimated time of travel depending on the current traffic situation
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The circular highway. It has 4 highways going one atop another
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More greenery and we continued..
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The Black Porsche ahead. We tailed it for long and as it is, I seldom find chaps over taking each other on the highway
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Look the info. Even they say if AM/FM available inside the tunnel or not
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A well maintained and well lit tunnel
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To be Continued.....

Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 14:23.
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Old 10th November 2013, 08:56   #3
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued....

The weather was sunny and pleasant 13 degrees outside. We were all praying for Sun as that is what the best condition to view Mount Fuji with all its majesty.

And by the way, the number of tolls we encountered on this stretch of 150 Km would hardly be two. Compare that with India and more so the chronic stretches of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The pictures of the drive continues..
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And so as the Greenery
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Higashi, one of the most devastated areas of 2011 Tsunami after Fukuhima
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Highway through the mountains. Could there be any better proposition than this?
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As per the board, the next 2 Km will take 5 minutes because of the traffic
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Higashi exit
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More Greenery
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We trailed this Blue Alfa-Romeo for quite some time as well
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More Greenery
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Saw this on the parking lot of our first stop. Seems all set for a cycling session on the foothills of Mount Fuji
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Nissan at the food joint on the highway
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We were hungry by then. Just latched on whatever the 7-Eleven store has to offer. Nothing spectacular to write home about the food if you compare that with an Indian taste bud but the hot Chicken Karage they sell for sure will give a good fight to our very own Chicken Pakoda.

Plan was to have a bite or two and move on from there.

To be continued...

Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 14:26.
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Old 10th November 2013, 09:27   #4
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued...

After a much needed bite we moved on. By this time the weather has turned gloomy and the idea of a good Mount Fuji view falling apart. Keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best we moved out of the food joint parking lot. Let only the pictures speak for this post and mark the last picture as that was the first view of Mount Fuji from a distance. Also enjoy the stupendous greenery that accosted us all through.
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Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 14:28.
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Old 10th November 2013, 09:41   #5
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued...

The first view of Mount Fuji was thrilling. All that I read in my school books or else where about Mount Fuji is right there in front of me to see myself. And the weather that was gloomy an hour back has shifted to its sunnier side.

We moved on more thrilled than what we were when we left the food joint an hour back

There is something with Mount Fuji which makes it look different and cute
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Another view of Mount Fuji before the clouds decide to hide it again
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Little hazy but another front view of Mount Fuji
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This sky blue building is Fuji Volcanic research center. The same chaps who scare us by saying Mount Fuji will erupt some day
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We moved on till we reach the amusement park on the foothills of Fuji
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Entrance to Fujiku Highland
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This resort is maintained by Japan Tourism and the first option of every overnight staying tourist, even before the private resorts. In India any Govt hospitality would be the last option for any traveler
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The roller-coasters that many of us were planning reluctantly to ride
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Finally reached the parking lot and parked the Nissan
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Even the parking lot is picturous
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To Be Continued...

Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 14:31.
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Old 10th November 2013, 09:59   #6
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued...

Now the plan is to enjoy the amusement park and if possible to gather enough courage to ride all those scary looking roller-coasters and then head to Fujiku Lake for the best view of Mount Fuji.

So the walk down to the amusement park started no sooner we parked the car.

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Entrance to the amusement park
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They have this soveniour shop at the beginning. Not sure of the rational
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We continued to move through to the ticket counter of the park
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Who is giving a better pose? The one being getting photographed or the one taking the photograph
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Finally reached the ticket counter and realized why Asaki was urging for an early start. Barely 8:15 and we have this crowd in front of the ticket counters
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The Japan tourism resort I was talking about
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Crowd at the ticket counter
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Gang worried if we will get our tickets or not
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A relieved gang after accruing 8 tickets in this mad rush
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I badly needed this at this juncture, more so when scary nerve breaking roller-coaster rides coming up
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You need to be crazy to go to that height and then make a free fall. I am not doing it
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Here you insert the ticket and get a photographed pass for the day
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First view of the amusement park
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Ohh Yes, scare us more who are already scared enough to make a mess of their outer wears.
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To Be Continued......

Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 10:09.
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Old 10th November 2013, 11:05   #7
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued...

I don't know why and how people spend so much money to scare the hell out of themselves. Even we did that but never get the idea behind such crazy decision. The moment we entered the park, all that we heard till we get out of it were loud screams of people, dangled precariously at insane heights only by a harness or a seat belt and screeching their lungs out. Their screams were even more frightening than the scary coasters. I am not going to do this, come what may. Send me to the LOC with a Kalashnikov, I am ready to fight the enemy but not this one.

Few photographs from the park and the scare attached therein follows

Look at that coaster
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Some cartoon character fighting zone
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Gang deciding, whether to or not to
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Now I must tell something about this PINK roller-coaster. It has got the Guinness world record for having most number of 360 degree turns of the occupants in one single round of the coaster. That is 8 of them all. Most of the time I saw people with their face down travelling the coaster at breakneck speed
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Another view of Mount Fuji
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It was so beautiful, I couldn't just resist taking few more snaps of it
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One more of Mount Fuji
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Look at these crazy chaps, dangling in middle of nowhere
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Thankfully the weather has improved by now
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Look at the height from where the coaster train is descending
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Another set of crazy guys paying to get scared
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I thought of trying this free fall but refrained quite judiciously
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I am sorry but never heard anything called 'Partial Loss Of Life'
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Gang moving towards the hunted house
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The Ghost may not be real but this hunted house is for real. There was this doctor in Fujiyama who used to run his hospital in this building. He was infamous for doing research on dead bodies and even at times live stocks. The setting inside the building was really scary. Though we knew it was all set up to scare us but I still feel scared just by the set up. No cameras allowed inside hence no photograph. There are documented description of few visitors of the house who said to have seen few female ghosts inside. The management has boldly refuted it by saying they never employed any female to act as a ghost inside. Then who are those females? By the way we got to read this once out of the house at the exit. And I don't remember seeing any female ghosts though.
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I saw this guy in the parking lot. Couldn't figured out the car manufacturer name from it. Just saw X10 at the back.
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Does anyone know the make of this beauty?
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Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 14:40.
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Old 10th November 2013, 11:34   #8
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Date 09/11/2013
Tokyo - Mount Fuji - Tokyo

Continued...

By the time we come out of the amusement park to move towards Fuji Lake, the weather has again deteriorated to a cloudy one. Still we moved on hoping the clouds to clear up by the time we reach the lake.

Look at the road and the color of Autumn
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Painting of nature using the finest of brushes
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More of Autumn
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Finally we reached the famous lake but by now the entire region was covered with thick clouds
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Spot the ducks
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Great soothing to the eyes
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Again some color of Autumn
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The building atop the mountain is Fujiyama University. Envy its students now
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0644.jpg

Look at the white ferry. They were charging 2000 Yen for a 15 minute lake ride. I only thought in India we only loot the tourists
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0647.jpg

Ahh, at least this guy showed some unmatched hospitality and friendliness
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0649.jpg

He even brought his friend for a good lunch
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0651.jpg

In between I just noticed this great ride near the banks
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0653.jpg

Asaki was trying to feed this friendly duck
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0654.jpg

Even the Fishes were there for their share of lunch
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0668.jpg

More Fishes
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0670.jpg

We were joined by a Japanese family soon after
Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan-dsc_0671.jpg

The photographs may not justify but it was bone chilling near the lake. Strolled there for some time with a hope that miracle will happen and the clouds will wave off for us to have a complete view of Mount Fuji. But unfortunately that didn't happen. With a heavy heart we left the lake and move towards the nearby Hot Spring. As expected there was a complete ban on photography there as most of the lot inside there were anything but even averagely clothed. Changed ourselves to the towels provided by the Spring Management and dipped in the hot water in open air.

Spend good 45 minutes in the Hot Spring and decided it is time to move for Tokyo. Jumped out, got dressed and started for Tokyo. By the time we reached Tokyo it was 8 P.M. Headed for an Indian Restaurant and had some nice Tandoori with some liquid to wash it down. Reached back home around 10 in the night and crashed for the day.

What a day. Though Mount Fuji still evaded me after showing early promise of a grand view but still the drive through some of the most picturous roads I ever had traveled was worth of every penny. Great beginning to the weekend I must say. And a huge thanks to this lovely host going by the name Asaki Akira.

End...

Last edited by BeingCynical : 10th November 2013 at 14:46.
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Old 10th November 2013, 14:58   #9
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10th November 2013, 18:18   #10
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Quote:
I saw this guy in the parking lot. Couldn't figured out the car manufacturer name from it. Just saw X10 at the back.
Attachment 1163756

Does anyone know the make of this beauty?
Attachment 1163757

The above car is a Scion iQ. It is also sold as Toyota iQ in some countries.

Last edited by noopster : 11th November 2013 at 11:15. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 10th November 2013, 18:51   #11
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Thanks for sharing Beautiful Japan. Mt.Fuji is beautiful as well as scary

Small correction in the 2 cars pointed out in your thread

1) Quoted "Black Porsche" is actually a volvo XC60 or a XC 90

2) Quoted "Blue Alfa Romeo" is actually Subaru Impreza hatch
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Old 10th November 2013, 19:10   #12
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

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Originally Posted by arunu View Post

Small correction in the 2 cars pointed out in your thread

1) Quoted "Black Porsche" is actually a volvo XC60 or a XC 90

2) Quoted "Blue Alfa Romeo" is actually Subaru Impreza hatch
Thanks for clarifying Arunu. As the distance of the cars were too far from sight, could have the mistakes in reading their make properly.

Anyway, the drive to Mount Fuji is perhaps the best drive I have had in a long, long time
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Old 10th November 2013, 19:33   #13
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Default re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Great Pictures. Can you also shed some light on general social life in Japan, the people, the costs there and ofcourse how tourist friendly is it. Self drive options, validity of your Indian DL etc etc. Thanks.
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Old 11th November 2013, 05:30   #14
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Great Pictures. Can you also shed some light on general social life in Japan, the people, the costs there and ofcourse how tourist friendly is it. Self drive options, validity of your Indian DL etc etc. Thanks.
All your questions are valid and deserve a detail response. So let me layout point wise

Social Life - Not much, if you ask me on weekdays as people out here are chronic workaholics. Yes, over the weekend Tokyo gets a new lease of life with Clubs and Pubs full with patrons, ready to party all night.

The People - No words to explain. Sheer determination for generations evolved this nation in to one absolutely honest, humble and hospitable country in this planet. People are so humble that it at times feel unreal. Ask anyone for any help or road direction, they will first react as if we have done a huge favor in asking them for help. Yes, language is a problem here as most of them either don`t understand English or very weak in that department. But still they will try their best to help you out. I have even seen many times, the person walking alongside me for 1/2 Km to just show me the right route since he couldn`t explain me properly because of this language barrier. 2 and half months is quite a short time to judge but I have never seen a single snob on the streets of Tokyo, which are in plenty in any American or European nation. No offence intended to the general public though.

Cost - It is one extremely expensive city. I don`t think you can get any thing below 100 Yen; no no even a slice of bread. Cost could be killing here if your travel budget is limited.

Tourist Friendly - As I have told you about the people, it is no secret that these guys are a bunch of highly hospitable creatures. They never intend to loot the tourist; no not even the Taxi guys. If you are from India and knowing the prevailing loot mechanism there, the moment one finds a tourist, Japan would be a refreshing change. We just say for the heck of it, but these guys in true sense follow the golden line - `Atithi Debo Vhaba`

Self Drive - Available in plenty. All car manufacturers have their 24 hours rental service. They charge 10000 Yen for 24 hours and they would hand you over a full tanked vehicle. Only condition, you need to return the vehicle tanked up at the end of the day. What documents you need to procure one such vehicle is beyond my knowledge. If needed I can ask few out here. And by the way, the vehicles are always in top notch. Clean and well maintained.

Validity of Indian DL - No, it is not at ll valid here, though Japan is also a Keep-To-Left drive. Unlike USA and many other countries where you can use your Indian DL for first couple of months, here you can`t just drive with it, not even for a day.

Hope I answered all your queries.
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Old 12th November 2013, 00:01   #15
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Default Re: Drive to the Beautiful Mount Fujiyama, Japan

Nice post. I have also been to Japan but my trip to Mount Fuji was more like a trek. About Social life I will disagree they are very social, in fact after office hours drinking at your favorite bar is a must do for Japanese. We had a bar in the office canteen and the President himself used to join there after office hours.

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Last edited by FlyingSpur : 12th November 2013 at 08:49. Reason: Dotty post
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