Our first sight of the iconic Mount Fuji was from the top of Hakone National Park, an hour or so south of Tokyo. We’d got up early to wend our way up the mountain via local train on the Hakone-Tozan Line to Gora, with several switchbacks which meant one moment you were facing the direction of travel, the next you were going backwards….most strange!
On arrival at Gora it felt like we were in Little Switzerland with cow bells and the Swiss flag to greet us.
I’ve since learnt that the privately-owned Japanese Hakone-Tozan mountain railway line is twinned with a similar mountain railway in the Swiss Alps. There were even adverts lining the carriages promoting the Swiss Railways!
We then got the funicular railway which climbs 211 metres in 10 minutes to Sounzan Station. There is a cable car ‘ropeway’ all the way from Sounzan Station across the valley down to Lake Ashi but due to the increase in active gases rising from the boiling sulphur springs of the volcano, we had to get a substitute bus from Sounzan to Owakudani and pick up the ropeway from there. However, it was there, as we stepped off the bus in Owakudani, we saw Mount Fuji.
We revelled in the stunning view but within ten minutes the top of Mount Fuji clouded over so we could only see the slopes. We felt very lucky to have seen it.
Coming next…….Black Eggs!