Final Day Tokyo – Free & Lazy

Returning from Kawaguchiko we reached Shinjuku Expressway bus terminal around lunch time. The bus terminal is located on 4F of the JR Shinjuku station ‘New South Gate’. Getting off the bus, take the escalator beside the Information Center down to the train platform. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest station, but one should not be intimidated by that status. To ensure you don’t get lost within the station, just inquire at the several information counters and in good English they will direct you to the correct train platform for your destination. Within 30 minutes, we arrived at our hotel in Akihabara.

Shinjuku Expressway bus terminal

Shinjuku Expressway bus terminal, JR Shinjuku station ‘New South Gate’                          credit:gotokyo.org

We will be continuing our stay at Washington Akihabara for a further two nights before returning home. Prior to visiting Kawaguchiko, we had stayed four nights making our total stay in this hotel six nights. We have no itinerary for the rest of the day as well as for the next with an exception of visiting my wife’s niece working in Tokyo, if time permits. For the rest of the day, it’s just walking around Akihabara soaking in the atmosphere.

The next day, our final day in Tokyo, we headed to Shibuya again just to wander around. A shop selling vegetable and fruits beside Mark City East Mall got our attention. This shop sells varieties of vegetables and fruits just meters from Shibuya crossing. The produce are fresh looking and in Japan you have no worries buying anything pre packed. You can be assured of not finding bad produce placed at the bottom of the package.

Shibuya

Next to Mark City East Mall.                                                                          Credit:Google

 

We then proceeded to LABI Shibuya Department store, an electrical outlet similar in concept to Yodobashi/BIC Camera. LABI is smaller then the two but products are priced competitively as well. The one item that caught my wife’s interest was a digital kitchen timer. Although the product is all labeled in Japanese as well as it’s instruction leaflet, it wasn’t difficult to figure how to operate it. Comes with battery, ¥753 well spent.

From LABI, we crossed the street and walked straight ahead. Not far from the main street, next to McDonald’s is Mamo Kebab Cafe selling Halal kebab. Priced competitively and tasted good, kebab is what we had for lunch.

Having no more itinerary for the day, we made our way to my wife’s niece house who later drove us to scout for some pre-loved items. Lovers of pre-loved LV, hang on for the next post. Yes, LV as in Louis Vuitton.

Shibuya Kebab

The Kebab outlet. Go up 2F for seating area.

Shibuya Kebab

Our Kebab cost ¥700 inclusive of tax.

Shibuya Kebab

Part of their menu.

LABI Department Store as seen from the Kebab outlet. Out of frame, left is ABC Mart, to the right is McDonald’s.

Shibuya Kebab

Location of the Kebab outlet. Click to enlarge.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

In Kawaguchiko we stayed overnight to avoid rushing back to Tokyo the same day. We stayed at Kawaguchiko Hotel just by Lake Kawaguchiko which provides a peaceful setting. Being slightly elevated off the main road, it gives panoramic views of Lake Kawaguchiko. It’s is located about 1½ km from Kawaguchiko Station and free transfer was included in our booking. Otherwise, the ‘Red Line’ bus passes through this hotel and stops at Yamanashi Gem Museum (stop 8) and Fuji Lake Hotel (stop 9). Kawaguchiko Hotel is in-between these two stops with the Gem Museum being closer.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Kawaguchiko Hotel from the main road. The multi storey brick building is the hotel’s newer wing..

Kawaguchiko Hotel

The hotel slightly elevated from the main road, gives panoramic views of it’s surroundings.

Main entrance of the hotel.

This hotel was built in the 50’s and has had the current Emperor and his late father as guests before. A new wing has been added to the hotel but the fittings in the room as well as the lobby is rather dated. The rooms are big, clean and everything works. Water kettle, mini fridge, LED CTV and bathtub are among the amenities. From our room window, we can see Mt Fuji majestically in the background.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Photo of Emperor Hirohito emerging from the hotel.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Hallway to our room.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Twin beded room.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Dressing table has seen better days.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Water kettle & mini refrigerator.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Bathroom with tub. In November, that tap water is cold.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

View of Mt Fuji from our room.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

An indication of the temperature outside the next morning.

We arrived Kawaguchiko from Akihabara, but will be returning via Shinjuku as there are frequent bus services going there. Bus services to Akihabara are limited to two per day, both in the evenings. Our bus for Shinjuku will depart in the late morning so we just spent time walking around the hotel’s grounds and along Lake Kawaguchiko before checking-out. Again, we were awed by the red fall leaves as we rarely get to see this. From the hotel’s side of Lake Kawaguchiko, one can see the Ohashi bridge in the distance that connects to the other side of the lake.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Car park in-front of the hotel overlooking Lake Kawaguchiko.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Another vantage point at the hotel overlooking Lake Kawaguchiko.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

From the hotel overlooking Lake Kawaguchiko & Fuji Lake Hotel.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Overlooking Lake Kawaguchiko & Ohashi bridge.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Vegetation along the hotel driveway.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Trees with fall leaves around the hotel grounds.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

A small toori close to the hotel grounds.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Oyashikidai shrine past the toori gate.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

From the hotel car park looking down the main road.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Persimmon tree bearing fruits near the hotel.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Lobby of Hotel Kawaguchiko.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Another view of the lobby.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Relaxing atmosphere at the lobby looking outwards to Lake Kawaguchiko.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Reading room by the lobby.

We arrived in Kawaguchiko on a Sunday and traffic around Lake Kawaguchiko was pretty heavy, just short of traffic jams. Being a public holiday, local tourist were plenty as well. Most of the favorite attractions were pack and we had to drop the Ropeway & Pleasure Cruise from our itinerary,

To really appreciate the attractions in Kawaguchiko, it is advisable to stay a minimum of two nights. A day trip to Kawaguchiko will really be a touch-and-go affair and if weather does not permit or the crowd swells, you will miss out on your intended attractions. A two night’s stay will give some buffer time to explore other attractions that are further away on the ‘Green Line’ & ‘Blue Line’ or to repeat a missed attraction the day before.

We left Kawaguchiko with a heavy heart regretting not having stayed longer. Transfer to the station was by free hotel SUV inclusive with our stay. At Kawaguchiko station, early on a Monday morning, crowds had started to build up although not as bad as the day we arrived. We will be returning to Washington Hotel in Akihabara for a further two nights stay before returning to Malaysia.

Kawaguchiko Hotel

Hotel provides free transfer to & fro Kawaguchiko station.

Kawaguchiko Station

Crowds building up on an early Monday morning.

Kawaguchiko Station

Budget accommodation are available in-front of the station.

Kawaguchiko station

The station overlooking the main road. There is also luggage storage across the road.

Kawaguchiko station

Another view towards the front of the station.

Kawaguchi station.

Platform #3 is where our bus to Shinjuku will depart.

Kawaguchiko Station

Finally, our bus arrived 15 minutes late! Something very, very rare in Japan.

Beauty Of Mt Fuji & The Stunning Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Back at Kawaguchiko station from Oshino Hakkai, we boarded a sight seeing bus to visit other attractions around Kawaguchiko. There are 3 different sightseeing routes to choose from, either the ‘Red Line‘, ‘Green Line‘ or ‘Blue Line‘. Bus fare for these sightseeing routes, can be paid by cash or pre-paid (Icoca) card or alternatively purchase an unlimited 2-days bus pass for ¥1,500 which includes all three routes. Please note these 3 routes, do not include Oshino Hakkai.

Kawaguchiko sightseeing 'red line' bus

The Kawaguchiko ‘Red Line’ sightseeing bus.

Along the ‘red line’ route, we intend to visit a couple of attractions namely Oishi Park, Maple Corridor and Pleasure Cruise/Ropeway. From Kawaguchiko bus station, Oishi Park (close to Natural Living Center) is the furthest attraction on the ‘red line’ route at stop #22. The return fare cost ¥960 with stops along the way factored in. We stopped at Maple Corridor on the way back from Oishi Park. Although the ‘red line’ route is the shortest of the three, it is impossible to visit all 22 attractions in a day, what else to cover the ‘green’ & ‘blue’ lines as well.

Kawaguchiko sightseeing 'red line' bus

‘Red Line’ sightseeing bus route.


Oishi Park
Oishi Park (stop #22) is located on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. It is a popular scenic spot where you can get panoramic views of Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji. The park features a 350 meter walking path with seasonal flowers planted along the shore promenade. The park is also home to the Natural Living Center which has a souvenir shop and a cafe.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Oishi Park with Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchiko in the background.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji & Kawaguchiko Lake.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Bench & table for visitors convenience at Oishi Park.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji through the thick vegetation.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Autumn flowers and Mt Fuji.

Oishi Park

Types of flowers and shrubs found around Oishi Park.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Kochia shrubs will turn red during it’s peak in autumn.

Past midday, part of the clouds shrouding Mt Fuji lifted and we were able to see the majestic Mt Fuji. Although our pictures of Mt Fuji wasn’t as clear, sharp and crisp as we would like to, the fact we were able to see it, was stunning. Honestly, it would have been a disappointment if we weren’t able to see Mt Fuji.

Oishi Park & Mt Fuji

Wife framing Mt Fuji for a shot.

Oishi Park

Close up of Japaneses Pampas Grass.

Oishi Park

Kawaguchiko Urban Resort Villa says the signboard. Wonder what plants these are.

 

Natural Living Center
The Natural Living Center is just before Oishi Park. Here one can try making fruit jam and an all-you-can-eat cherry & blueberry picking activity. There are many food and fragrance related products using blueberry sold here. At the cafe, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and try the blueberry ice cream. The ‘red line‘ bus will pick-up & drop-off passengers for stop #22 in-front of this center.

Natural Living Center, Kawaguchoko

Natural Living Center.                                                                                                         Credit:.travelko.com

Natural Living Center, Kawaguchoko

View of the hills facing Natural Living Center.


Maple Corridor

The Maple Corridor is a beautiful place to view red autumn foliage. By the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, it faces Mt Fuji. Taking the ‘red line’ bus, this will be stop #19 which is also the stop for Itchiku Kubota Art Museum. The estimated bus fare to Kawaguchiko station is ¥380 one-way and the ride will take about 25 minutes.

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Junction close to stop #19

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Maple Corridor stop #19 by the road side.

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Stop #19 leading to Maple Corridor.

The Maple Corridor is a walkway along a wide storm water drain lined with over 60 maple trees. The trees with red, yellow, orange and a small patch of green leaves display stunning colours. Visitors can stroll alongside the 150m walkway while taking in the fresh cool air. At the other end, both sides of the walkway are connected by a bridge, enabling you to return to your starting point the opposite side. Having walked a complete loop, visitors are directed to stalls selling handmade Japanese ceramics, woodcraft and traditional Japanese street food. The Maple Corridor can also be enjoyed after dark as the autumn trees are lit up after sunset till 10 pm every night during autumn.

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

I would consider the visit to Maple Corridor as the highlight of our visit to Japan. Although we have been to countries with four seasons, this is the first time we are able to see red autumn leaves. Otherwise, we have all the time return home before the autumn foliage to avoid the drop in temperature.

The shades of autumn foliage at Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko.

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko
Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko
Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Fallen maple leaves at the root of a tree.

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

The Maple trees lining the walkway.

Maple Corridor, Kawaguchiko

Stunning colours of autumn foliage.