Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fuji, Shinkansen, Hakone and disappointed

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:31 PM
Two hours by coach and we arrived at the foot of Fuji.

Fujiyama


Although the day was a bit clearer than yesterday and we could see the whole of the yama, the top was covered in clouds. Up on the fifth station, there was nothing but touristy souvenir shops (where they sell Fuji air!) and lots of tourists and hikers. Fuji loomed just above us, monstrous, large and dark but otherwise not impressive. It is not a mountain the Hippo likes.

In Hakone, we took a boat ride across the lake Ashi and then the 'Ropeway' (cable car) up to the summit. Komagatake is the central volcanic cone of the Hakone range, 1327 meters high. The area possesses a twin volcano which exploded 200 years ago and created the Ashi lake. The summit normally offered fantastic view of Fuji, but the day was misty and we didnt see Fuji.

Late in the afternoon we Shinkansen to Nagoya and then to Kyoto.

Shinkansen


The bullet train was fast, smooth and comfortable. But it lacked the romanticism of old trains that rocked and jerked. It felt like riding on the Monorail. Very quiet. M. discovered a phone and tried to buy a phone card by inserting 1000 yen note into the machine but it kept rejecting the note. After a few more tries, she decided to use the one that had a different image on it. It bought it! Mind boggling! And so she finally talked to Alex. We will call him again the following day to make plans to meet.

Perhaps my teenage dream and hope of this land were set too high. I didnt find Japan so far to equal my expectation. I am disappointed. Perhaps Kyoto would be better?

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