Mt. Fuji – Day 9, April 2

There was a sign in the elevator that seemed to indicate that breakfast got busy at about 7:30 am. I didn’t need to be told twice. I walked right in at 7:15 to a very lovely buffet breakfast full of folks. I ate as much as I could. Even salad and congee and dim sum and salmon.

I needed some time to get organized in my room (laundry and PT for my wrist) and when I got to the local train station/clearinghouse, the day trippers had arrived from Tokyo. But I Got-In-Line and bought a ticket for the tourist bus that went all over the place. I didn’t get very far on the bus before I decided I wanted to get off to hike to a shrine. Then, I really needed to find a restroom. Really, really. So I paid to go into a fancy museum about a famous kimono maker, Kubota Ichiku. I loved it so much. And I used their bathroom twice so it was more than worth it.

Then the walk to the shrine seemed too far, so I turned back and sat by the lake eating a snack and watching the young lovers take pictures of each other under the sakura blossoms with their hands in little heart symbols.

I waited awhile for the bus and went as far as the place to change from the Red Line to the Green Line. I started chatting with a young couple from Taiwan. They were so excited that I was going to Taipei. We could have talked all day. Finally, the Green bus came and we covered some ground and saw a bunch of lakes and pretty sights. Mt. Fuji was absent. Or I should say invisible behind clouds. You do kind of feel that it’s out there making us all feel small.

The Green Bus took me to a lava tube-turned-frozen cave. I also had some udon lunch at a gift shop. It was about as bad as I expected, but my snacks from Trader Joe’s are almost gone. The lava tubes are so cold that there are these stalagmites of ice inside. The ancients used these icy caves to chill silkworms and make them produce more often and thereby increasing the silk supply.

There were two of these cave situations and when I was done seeing both of them, I ran for the Blue Bus, but it took forever. By then I was chatting with three Americans. Of course, they were from San Diego. After a complete tour and a fleeting sighting of majestic Fuji-san, I came back to my hotel, ate spaghetti at the hotel’s restaurant, and packed for my trip to Kyoto tomorrow. And even though I’m halfway between Tokyo and Kyoto, you can’t get there from here. So I’m taking a bus back to Tokyo Station and then the Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto. More from the land of geisha – called geiko in Kyoto.