Getting from Kyoto to our Air Bnb in Narasawa, near Mt. Fuji was anything but easy. We had to make four changes in total, having to exit and re-enter the station after needing to buy a new ticket each time. If we had bought a Japan Rail Pass we wouldn’t of needed to worry about that, and we would of saved a fortune! Lesson learned. Door to door the journey took approximately 8 hours and along the way dented our budget for Japan severely. However, the silver lining was meeting Ryo, our Air Bnb host. He picked us up from Kawaguchiko station straight away and took us to a supermarket to buy some food, as the house were staying in is literally in the middle of the forest with nothing around. He introduced us to the beautiful natural surroundings of his home and made us feel more than welcome and comfortable after a long day travelling. We celebrated our journey with a few cans of Sapporo and decided on a route to cycle the following morning.
By 10am we had began our route. We started just outside of the village that our AirBnb was located at a community park. After a pretty smooth and straight forward 2km we noticed a big sign board that read ‘Ice Cave’. Unable to resist the temptation of seeing an icy cave, for the lack of a better word.
Narasawa Ice Cave is a vertical cave with icy stalagmites. Water drips from the cave ceiling and freezes in the sub zero temperatures to form masses of ice pillars. Nature truly at its finest. We paid ¥350 to enter (£2.90) and the loop of the cave took about 30 minutes. I learned that when Mt. Fuji erupted 1,100 years ago the flow of lava slowly shrank leaving a large amount of caves where gasses gradually escaped. This is how the Ice Cave formed.
After we left we also cycled past Fugaku Wind Cave but decided to carry on as we were far away from any restaurant or cafe to have a spot of lunch in.
As we wound down in a circular motion through the bright green forests we were overwhelmed with the peacefulness and serenity that was entrenched in this mystical land. A further kilometre away we saw an edge of Lake Saiko. One of Mt. Fujis famous five lakes we were awe stricken with how profound the setting was.
After a few more minutes cycle we reached a viewing point of Mt. Fuji;
We carried on cycling for a further 2km when we began to become hungry. We stopped off at a few cafes looking at the menus, knowing that a good, nutritious meal is important to eat whilst doing lengthy workouts. Eventually we came across Hinashinobu, a lovely, quaint little restaurant that was dog friendly and allowed for a good pit stop for cyclists and hikers. We had a refreshingly decent curry that came with salad and a pudding. With a very reasonable price tag of ¥1640 I would recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Lake Saiko.
Tummys full and engines restored we peddled on until we came to the edge of Lake Saiko. What a lasting impression it left on us…
We continued onwards and within half an hour reached the most famous of the 5 lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko. This stunning bodie of water is another fantastic location for viewing points to see Mt. Fuji, it is also one of the most popular lakes with many campsites, hotels and restaurants in the area. At this point of our trip we had been lucky with good weather, cool temperatures and the sun occasionally sneaking out from behind the clouds. However about 4 hours into our bike ride the weather took a turn for the worst and the most torrential downpour occurred soaking us to our bones almost immediately. Without much choice we decided that seeing as we were so far from home we should make the journey back at this point.
2 hours later we had battled our way through the rain and were safely in the arms of 7/11 where we bought some food for dinner and our cycle trip was done. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see all five lakes but the best two isn’t a bad finish.
At this point some of you might be thinking, this all sounds great but what if I don’t have a bike?…
Rental Bike Services-
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Country Lake Systems – 0555-20-4052