A (Less than Successful) Trip to see Mount Fuji
Written by Sophie, February 2021
Mount Fuji is arguably one of the most recognisable mountains in the world. The perfectly triangular peak, with a flat summit topped with snow. So many people visit Japan and return with a story seeing Mount Fuji towering above them, in the most picturesque way – this is not that story.
It was a sweltering July morning when I set out from Tokyo to Fujiyoshida. I was on my way to Chureito Pagoda, a pagoda on top of a hill with spectacular views of Mt Fuji. If you’ve seen a guidebook for Japan, chances are the cover was a photo of this pagoda. After one or two hours, and three or four trains I arrived at the Shimoyoshida station. No one else got off the train, which I naively thought was brilliant, as there wouldn’t be too many people at the pagoda. As I approached the entrance to the pagoda there were signs warning of snakes. Ok, slightly worrying but I continued.
The climb to the pagoda was steeper and longer than I thought it would be, but it would all be worth it when I saw Mt Fuji. Finally, I reached the pagoda and the viewpoint. The view was indeed spectacular. Except for the fact that there was no mountainThere were a few other people (and a huge dog) all wanting to see Fuji, but today wasn’t the day.
I stayed on the hill by the pagoda for an hour or so, but the clouds weren’t going anywhere, so reluctantly I made my way back down the hill. Annoyingly one of the trains I needed to get back to Tokyo only ran at odd (and long) intervals, so I had to leave, or risk being stuck at an intermediate station for a while. I’d have loved to walk around the town a bit more, as I’d only really experienced being in larger cities.
Back in Tokyo I was having to pack my bags as I was headed back to the UK the next day. It was a bit disappointing to not have been able to even catch a glimpse of Japan’s most famous Mountain, but if anything good was to come of it, I at least had (yet another) reason to go back.
Here is an artists impression of the view I was expecting: