On Wednesday morning we left for an overnight trip to the Fuji Five Lakes area with Matt and Robin. We stayed at an inn on the shore of Yamanakako, one of the five lakes which are scattered around the northern side of the mountain. When we first arrived, the mountain was shrouded in cloud as it often is. Toward evening, though, the clouds began to clear and as we walked along the lake on our way back to the inn after dinner, we watched the sun go down over the mountain. Exactly five weeks after watching the sunrise from the top, this seemed so very fitting. Later, we could see the lights of the mountain huts marking the trail that we had followed up the mountainside.
Yamanakako is a holiday destination for Japanese tourists with many spots along the shore where bicycles, paddle boats and pleasure boats can be rented. An enormous swan-shaped hovercraft does regular tours of the lake but I thought the many live swans were much more beautiful!
In the morning, after enjoying a traditional Japanese breakfast at the inn, we set out to walk to the far end of the lake, a few kilometres away. We ended up walking all the way around the lake! If I’ve read the map information correctly, that’s a distance of about 13.5 kilometres! On our way, we stopped to watch a high school marching band practice, snacked on ice cream, and enjoyed resting in peaceful shady spots. We even saw a campground. After all the time we’ve spent in bustling cities recently, this was a very nice break.
At the end of the day as we waited for our buses, a violent storm blew in. Lightning flashed over the lake, thunder crashed and rain pounded down. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. We took shelter in a second floor restaurant with enormous windows and watched in fascination. Fortunately, the storm subsided somewhat before we had to venture out again.
Rich and I returned to Tokyo by bus then home to our regular daily lives by train. Matt and Robin caught an overnight bus to Kyoto. They’ll be spending the next few days in Kyoto and Osaka visiting good friends and favourite haunts from their two years living in that area. Fortunately, they’ll be back to see us again before they leave the country.