Mount Fuji Day Trip with Fujiten Ski Resort and Strawberry Picking Tour
One of the reasons why my recent trip to Tokyo has been really exciting is that it was the first time for me to try out sledding. I could have tried this back in Sapporo but I wanted to experience it with my niece, who couldn’t stop nagging me about snow. Me — the veteran in blizzards in the East Coast. I wouldn’t dare ski in New York‘s muddy snow.
So I spent most of the time scouring all sources for the best tour that I can find. In the end, we customized our trip to our needs with a local travel tour agency – from seeing Fuji-san to riding Thomas train at Kawaguchiko station to a wonderful strawberry picking afternoon.
The local travel agency picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the boundaries of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefecture. Technically, we were no longer in Tokyo, when we spotted the beautiful Fujisan. Everyone woke up to snap a few photos, and this is where I also took this iconic picture perfect Mount Fuji.
I feel smug, having taken this photo. I think I should go back once again during the Cherry Blossom season! I can’t get tired of staring at Mount Fuji. It has a magical aura around it and you feel blessed to have seen him in this lifetime.
Fujiten Ski Resort
Our first stop is not Mount Fuji, but sledding right in front of Mount Fuji. You can rent a sled for 500 yen and honestly I wasn’t going to sled around, but my niece needed some assistance. Hence, I am the “nanny on sledding” for the day, as she called me.
Yes, she was wearing bunny ears the entire time she was sledding. But she was complete in gear – from head to toe – totally ready for this trip.
If you’re wondering what exactly should you be wearing when sledding, I recommend waterproof down jackets.
A.) It keeps you from being soaked, because snow melts. Duh.
B.) You don’t have to wear thick layers to keep yourself warm.
Uniqlo’s heattech thermal and leggings are already enough and make sure to wear good pair of winter boots. Ski boots are available for rental though, but it’s always best to bring yours because you have to break them in.
Trust me, don’t wear pretty ballet flats or your Stan Smiths here. Those will only get wet. Not only will they get wet all the way to your socks, but you’ll get those whites dirty too. (Trust me, the lady from North of the Wall 😉 )
I was only supposed to do it once but I ended up doing it more than 10x. As the sun started to melt the ice, me, from North of the Wall, know what that would be. The ice would slowly turn into a slippery sheet of ice that was no fun at all. While it was a great day to spot Fujisan with a really beautiful sun, it was also a double edged sword.
This was shot from an iPhone, and now I wished I brought Go Pro with me. But then, things go best unplanned. *wink*
Mind you, I have a niece and a nephew. So I was babysitting two really naughty kids.
Our tour was kind enough to extend the time – 2 hours of sledding out and about. I was sweating afterwards in the 2 degree weather, honestly.
We also had some free time to eat some crepes and sip hot cappuccino. These were the best crepes I ever tried – beats Marion Crepes and Angels Heart at Harajuku! – and the cappuccino was so good.
With some free time before we boarded the Thomas train ride at Kawaguchiko station, we went the other way around to take some scenic photos of Lake Kawaguchi.
Fuji Q Highlands
While Thomas train ride was fun, you can definitely skip this one. It’s only a train that goes back and forth from Kawaguchiko Station to Mount Fuji so you can see more picturesque views of Fujisan. Afterwards, we went to Fuji Q Highlands for some lunch, which is probably the only decent meal around here with some ramen, pasta and gyudon set meals.
Oshino Strawberry Farm at Yamanashi prefecture
The highlight of the day was dessert. And that was spending some time strawberry picking. Strawberries grow during winter so it was definitely in season. It was amazing to see local farmers grow strawberries in a systematic way. No wonder strawberries grown from Japan are so sweet!
We could eat as much as we wanted, but we were told to only cut the reddish ones, which meant they were already ripe. Surprisingly, everyone was really respectful, we didn’t want to spoil any of the fruit that was still growing. This made me really appreciate the food that we eat.
Ah my niece absolutely loved the strawberry picking. She enjoyed it as she dipped these red babies into condensed milk.
Of course, Mount Fuji can easily be spotted from here too, albeit, a little hard because of the sun against it, but it marked the end of an amazing day.
As mine was customized, I managed to find a similar tour for you if you’re interested. You can drop by Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Fuji and also do some fruit picking since you’re already in the area! This tour even has a stop to Chateau Katsunuma winery. I would love that. Like my tour, this tour also picks you up from Shinjuku Washington Hotel, so you don’t have to worry about the transportation logistics.
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