My adventures through Japan continued last Sunday when I decided to take one of the tours offered on base by the MWR. I went on the Mount Fuji Winter tour that took everybody to several temples and shrines at the base of Mt. Fuji.
Mt. Fuji is one of Japans most visited place and really fantastic. It’s a free standing volcanic mountain not part of any mountain range. So it’s basically this giant majestic mountain that has no neighbors. It dominates the landscape and looks amazing on a clear day.
Our first stop on the trip was at the Fuji Peace Park, a Buddhist temple dedicated to world peace and built in Nepalese style. It was beautiful, laid out in a forest covered with statues of goddesses. At the main pagoda I took off my shoes and walked its path counterclockwise. The Buddhists believe doing so while praying will give you a year of health.
After that stop we went to one of the Oshino Eight Ponds. At the base of Mt. Fuji lie eight freshwater ponds filled by constant flowing springs. The water comes from the snow melt on the mountain that seeps through the volcanic rock. After many years it comes out at the springs forming eight distinct ponds that are considered sacred sites. The area around the spring we visited was a kind of village and tourist shopping area. You can go up to the spring and ladle some of the fresh water and even fill water bottles with hit. It’s also one of the best views of Mt. Fuji and often used for postcards and art.
Next we drove to Lake Kawaguchi, a lake at the base of the mountain, for lunch. Lake Kawaguchi is a popular tourist resort area and the has a lot of hotels and restaurants around it. I had a pretty interesting looking lunch that included some fresh fish from the lake itself.
Finally for the highlight of the trip we went to the Sengen Fuji Shrine. The shrine where all of the Fuji climbing ceremonies take place and the shrine dedicated to the Kami of Mt. Fuji. It was a beautiful place and I loved getting to see the Japanese walk to the shrine and pray. It looked and felt like something out of a Japanese story taking place in the Japanese middle ages.
I can’t wait to go back to some of these places when my wife catches up to me. I really want to see everything in the spring when the Sakura trees blossom.
Now climbing Mt. Fuji is my ultimate goal for this summer. The climbing season opens in July and lasts until the end of August. By then I should be able to drive and the wife will be here. I plan on getting to the top of that mountain first chance I get.
Japan is a beautiful place and every time I go out on my little trips I feel so thankful that I get to be out here to explore and enjoy this place.
Here’s a link to my google pictures album that includes a few more pictures.