There Are Vending Machines Everywhere

published 16 Oct 2014

TL;DR

I’m in Japan, Lake Kawaguchiko, at the foot of Fuji.

The Flight

Getting to where I am took a lot of travelling, and naturally not everything went to plan! We had booked flights with Swiss air - flying to Zurich from Birmingham and then changing onto a long haul flight to Narita. Unfortunately the Zurich flight was delayed (enough that we would miss our connection). I was amazed how well the airline staff handled this, first thing we knew about the delay was when they called us to a desk and gave us tickets for another airline entirely! In the end we flew with Lufthansa to Frankfurt and then with Lufthansa again to Narita - we ended up arriving just 5 minutes later than planned.

Arriving at Narita took about 19 hours:

  • Drive to Birmingham (1 Hour)
  • Wait At Airport (2 Hours)
  • Fly To Frankfurt (1.5 Hours)
  • Wait At Airport (1 Hour)
  • Fly To Narita (14 Hours)

And at this point we’re not nearly done yet! Our first hotel is in Kawaguchiko and we’re in Narita. After wandering around the airport for a while we found the station and took the Skyline into Tokyo, at Ueno station. The plan, once in Tokyo, was to take the trains around the city from Ueno to Shinjuku and then take a “limited express” train to Kawaguchiko - this was a little more difficult than expected. The Tokyo stations all have signs in English and Japanese telling you platform numbers and which lines are on which platform, what they don’t have is any maps labelled in English so it’s impossible to find out which line you want! After some Googling (luckily we ordered a WiFi dongle to the airport post office so we’ve had an internet connection the whole time) we worked out which trains we needed and a mere 3 hours train journey and 40 minute walk through the dark and the rain we arrived!

Total Time Travelling/Awake: 25 hours.

So the really long journey was pretty difficult and it was a huge relief to go to bed when we finally got to Kawaguchiko (at 1900). I think we may have dodged a bullet though - we suffered no jet lag! By the time we’d spent so long awake and running around we went to bed as soon as we arrived, slept for 16 hours we’re on Japan time!

Kawaguchiko

Around the base of Fuji there are 5 lakes; Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko. We stayed at Kawaguchikiko at the Mizuno Hotel. The hotel description promised great views of Fuji and most definitely did not disappoint! On the very first day we were up at 6am and were lucky enough to see Fuji poking through the fog. We thought that would probably be all that we saw of Fuji, but we turned out to be incredibly lucky with the weather and later in the day we were on top of a nearby hill just as the clouds were clearing and got some beautiful shots. Throughout the day the clouds slowly cleared and we got more incredible shots of Fuji:

Kawaguchiko To Kyoto

I’m actually writing this blog post from my hotel room in Kyoto, yesterday we left Kawaguchiko on the train (exactly on time, of course) and then took the bullet train from Yokohama to Kyoto. I didn’t manage to get a window seat, so I didn’t get any good pictures from the bullet train - but I did get a load from the trains on the way to Yokohama:

And that’s the first couple of days in Japan. Expect my next update within a week or so, covering Kyoto!

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