Another gorgeously sunny Tokyo day started with a smooth train ride to Shimbashi from Tawaramachi, followed by a 30 minute walk to Hamamatsucho Monorail to meet my travelling companion for the next 4 or 5 days. I am joining her for the beginning of her bigger trip, but for logistic purposes, went out slightly earlier.
After a slightly nervous hour, where I was actually able to offer directions to some lost tourists, she made it to the arranged spot. We’d first thought to meet in Shinjuku train station, until we read that it was the busiest in Japan and various blogs said in no uncertain terms, do not attempt to meet anyone here. Ever! And once we got to Shinjuku, we saw exactly why. It is vast and not just horizontally, but vertically too.
Navigating the subway this time though was easier and we managed to get to the Japanese Railway main lines and through the ticket queue to catch one of the slower trains to Otsuki from Shinjuku. On the way, you could just catch glimpses of Fuji-san between buildings, with even better views from the mountain train from Otsuki to Shimoyoshida. The town has a slightly frontier/wild west feel about it, with dilapidated and boutique side by side, except for the impressive sight of Mount Fuji at the end of the street!
The hostel is traditional in feel, with tatami mats and mattresses on the floor, slippers for ground floor and separate slippers for the toilet. Sliding doors, curtains, wood, white ceramic and plants create a slightly bohemian atmosphere.
Chureito Pagoda is perched on a hillside and looks across the urban sprawl of the town towards the mountain. The view from it is well worth conquering all the steps. Mt Fuji last erupted in 1707 and has become an iconic symbol of Japan, perhaps owing to its symmetrical shape and at nearly 3800m is the highest point in Japan.