Dan and I have been lucky enough to enjoy many trips to Mount Fuji since we moved to Japan. In the unrelenting wet season and during the Covid pandemic of 2020, we had a physically isolated trip to this natural wonder once more.
Although Fuji-san was shy and did not often peak out from her cloud halo to say hello, it was still wonderful to get some fresh air into our lungs and enjoy some time out of the city. We stayed in a lovely place with private facilities and hired a car, so our days were spent mostly together in the car or outside taking in nature. We felt both responsible throughout the trip and healed after it.
The car offered us up some freedom too, as we could visit some areas we hadn’t previously been able to. We enjoyed a hike through an ancient forest which was littered with caves and provided all the drama you could ever want from a forest at the base of a volcano! We visited a glorious waterfall that was actually worth the drive! Often they are small and overcrowded, but this was a dramatic waterfall and there were very few people about.
We visited a wonderful shrine set deep in the forest at the base of Mount Fuji. My favourite part of this was the huge tori gate, which towered above us. Oh, that and the Buddhist monk who served us fresh hand-dripped coffee from the back of the converted mini-bus! An odd way to experience a coffee, but that added to the charm of the shrine. We took a memorable trip to some old thatched cottages too, enjoying the tranquillity which was followed by a rather extreme cloud burst. Lucky we had that car!
However, best of all I enjoyed driving around the five lakes of Mount Fuji. We have only ever spent time at the main lake called Kawaguchiko. It is the easiest to get to with public transport. Yet, with a car, the other lakes were available to us and while they lacked the tourist spots, they provided some breathtaking beauty. We relaxed in cafes and took some refreshing walks. Although the weather was unpredictable, it was still so beautiful and often the rain and cloud added to the drama of the nature surrounding us.
I don’t think I will ever tire of spending time at Mount Fuji. This trip was one Dan and I needed so very much, and we really did feel that healing spirit Fuji-san is known for. The nature and power of this special place were clear to us each day, and I look forward to when we will return.