Mt. Fuji “Shibazakura” Flower Festival


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Mt. Fuji “Shibazakura” Flower Festival

http://lifetoreset.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/mt-fuji-shibazakura-flower-festival/

If there is one thing that best represent  Japan’s natural beauty, it has to be the highest mountain- Mt. Fuji.   The 3,766m symmetrical cone shaped mountain has inspired poet and artist for decades, where it was often depicted with the top- half covered in snow.

My first visit to the mountain was last year, during the hiking season where the  picturesque snow-capped was gone.  I was a bit sad to see the mountain on its “ordinary” state, so I promised to myself that on one fine day, I shall return to Yamanashi prefecture, to see the mountain on all its glory.

To view the mountain requires exceptional timing and preferably “sunny, clear” weather condition. So, I was checking out the weather forecast almost everyday, as I don’t want to waste a 3 hours commute to the unpredictable spring season.

Last Sunday was just the right day that I was waiting for.  Early morning, I began my long train journey, hoping that the weather will stay good for the whole day.  Actually, the most economical and convenient way to reach Mt. Fuji area is not by train but by highway buses (Fujikyu or Keikyu). Unfortunately, I had some issue with my reservation, so I ended up taking the longer way. Nonetheless, the train ride is fine ( if you don’t mind transferring station) and the Fujikyu Railway to reach Kawaguchiko Station will definitely make kids happy seeing the Thomas & Friends decoration.

The purpose of my trip is not only to see the mountain but to check out one remarkable,  seasonal event – Shibazakura.  If you miss the cherry blossom season, then Shibazakura will make up for that. But if you managed to attend all the Hanami parties, consider visiting Shibazakura as icing on the cake.

The carpet of red, pink, white and lavender flowers covering 2.4 hectare of land is truly an amazing sight. The flowers are called Moss phlox, where the pink ones is commonly called as Shibazakura, which  translates to  ”lawn of cherry blossoms”,  since the beautiful petals are filling up the ground just like the Sakura tree.

What could be more post card perfect than seeing Mt. Fuji in harmony with the  fields of flowers. Nature at it’s best.

The expected seasonal delay causes some of the flower beds to remain unoccupied, thus, extending the event 7 days more from the original plan.

Be warned, this kind of flower viewing festival attracts many local tourist, so what was supposed to be a 35 minutes  bus ride from  Kawaguchiko station ended up to be a 2 hours ride.

With few hours left,   I decided to check out Lake Kawaguchiko, the most popular and oldest among the Five lakes created by the eruption of Mt. Fuji .

The area is relatively peaceful, with few tourist roaming around at the lake side and the nearby souvenir shops.  Several hotels are encircling the lake, offering both the view and onsen for non-staying guests.  As expected, the lake is spread out with several swan boats available for rent .

Before calling it a day, I took the Kachi Kachi Ropeway to reach the observation deck of Mt. Tenjo, to see the panoramic view of the lake and a closer look at Mt. Fuji.

The afternoon visibility was really poor; the clouds had covered the mountains. So, most of us settle to admiring the houses down below  and the roller coaster ride of Fuji Q highland from afar.

This kind of weather is not good for business too, since no one is opting to have their souvenir photo taken. Too bad, the camera set up is just on the perfect spot of Mt. Fuji in the background.

At the observation deck area,  a small shrine is located with on popular practice among visitors. You have to throw a coin inside the small, circular rope for your wishes to be granted.

Mt. Tenjo is said to be the setting of the folklore “Kachi Kachi Yama”, hence the ropeway ride name. The story is about  the rabbit getting his revenge from the thieving racoon by setting him on fire and drowning on the river.  Kid friendly, cute rabbit statues but a bit gruesome background story.

My mother has been asking me to bring home some Japanese wine and I heard from a collegue that Yamanashi wine , though not the top product of the region has excellent taste, on a very cheap price.  After buying 2 bottles, I decided to head back and start my long train commute.

See you Mt. Fuji on July’s hiking season.

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