Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hotel Review - K's House, Mount Fuji

Another few minutes have passed, the car to pickup us up arrived just outside the Information cabin. A lady was driving the van and we were welcome as we get into the oddly small vehicle. One family was with us in a ride to the hostel. It took about 10 minutes to reach the get there and everyone was busy doing their own business.

View outside our room window.

A pile of slippers greeted us in front of the hostel. We are to choose which one to use and shoes are supposed to be placed inside a designated cabinet located on its right. We picked ours and immediately went for a short welcome greeting from the receiving staff. I just love their area, it was filled with maps and different currencies donated all over the world who came to visit and stayed in the hostel. Maps are pinned with all kinds of colors as well. Man, this hostel has served an overwhelming number of guests, especially from the Philippines!


Our key was handed over after the short briefing of the parts of the house. We had Room 201 for the night. It was a first, the room is huge! We stayed in 4 hostel/hotel in Japan and this was the most spacious one. The hotels, especially in Tokyo are so small. The rooms are just basically bed and toilet. We booked this private room and surprisingly it was large enough to accommodate 4 or even 6 guests in it. It was a traditional Japanese room with a Japanese center table. The blue/white checkered bed mattresses were place at one corner of the room together with the bed sheets, pillows and towels. If I have known, I could've left my shampoo and conditioner at home. There's always a bottle of shampoo and conditioner in every hostel we stayed in Japan. And they smell terrific too! The room is equipped with a fan, a heater and a TV.


The common toilet is located just outside our room. For Men and for Women. There's also a washing machine where you can do your laundry. One thing I learn in Mt Fuji, they want you to put your used tissues in the toilet bowl, not in the trash bin, but in the toilet bowl and then you may flush! I saw these posts thrice, from this hostel and 2 from public toilets, only in Mt Fuji. 


The staff are very approachable. They are travelers too. You can see their profiles in the wall at the lobby, with a short description and what countries they've been to. You can ask anything especially where to eat and where to go. You can also refer to this snapshot of the bus timingif you want to go around Mt Fuji.


The kitchen is complete with a large refrigerator. 2 dining tables, the other one is a center table with couches encircling it. 


I apologize for my badly taken photos, I didn't realize it was this bad until I saw it again.

Above all, we will definitely come back to this hostel if given a chance to visit Mt Fuji again. We will probably stay longer because the hostel is clean and affordable. Check for the prices.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lake Kawaguchi

I could still remember the coldest time of our lives as we ascend to the higher place called Mount Fuji. We left as early as 6am so we could have more time to explore the grounds but ended up reaching the hostel at about 1pm. Kawaguchiko station was at 7 degreess celsius and we were under dressed! Jr and I were both wearing 1 jacket and 2 shirts. We left the large luggage at one of the lockers in Ueno station.

It felt colder when we alight at the station. Mount Fuji is nowhere to be seen. Heavy clouds were drifting all day around the heavens. 


There is a phone booth in Kawaguchiko Station and I called the hotel. There is supposed to be only 2 pick up time schedule but for some reason the guy who answered the phone told me someone is coming even though we're not on schedule. Thank God someone is picking us up because we don't feel like looking for the address even with that small precipitation. It was still cold. 

A few minutes after checking out the station which has a small souvenir store and a restaurant that serves light meals, I fell into the Information line. It was a laid down kind of day but we still wanted to take advantage of the situation. So, I asked the attendant on how to go about Lake Kawaguchiko. We took a map and it was easy. Just go the bus stop and hop in. 


We stayed an K's House. I will be posting that entry next. We asked the staff on how to get to the bus stop and it was a 5-minute walk from the hostel. It was raining. Hard then. But we still managed to go outside, trying to feel oblivious of the cold. Took about 10 or 15 minutes  for the bus to arrive. I can imagine how the ride must be on this kind of weather. We just told the driver where were going and paid the amount there. There is actually a monitor where you can see the destination and price, placed near the driver on her top left. 

The weather was said, cold and empty. Lake Kawaguchi was all gloomy. Mt Fuji is supposed to be visible without the heavy could over this bridge.

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The bus was still nowhere to be seen so we decided to walk. Our shoes was almost soaking wet but it was fun in the cold. We saw hotels along the way. The gloomy weather was overtaking the mood but what I love was seeing the autumn colors not vanishing from our vision. 


Kawaguchiko is such a simple place for a laid back days. It was serene. No pollution at all. The mountains are vividly colourful and it was I guess a good time for us to be alone in the streets and explore with the help of a little romance called rain.

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Here's a shrine we happened to pass by as we walk towards the hostel. Some parts of the mountain are observed to be walled with these corroded metals, It looks like wood but it wouldn't hold a possible landslide. This is still a few kilometers away from the hostel and the tourist bus is still nowhere to be seen.

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When we reached this cookie house, I was already freaking out because we just saw from the map that the last bus is almost due at 430pm. I still managed to catch some of the maccha flavoured cookies and some others like vanilla and strawberry. Fujiyama cookies is worth a try when you have a chance. These are cookies shaped in mount Fuji-like cookies, topped with white chocolate. I love that it wasn't too sweet.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Ashikaga Flower Park


We had a long trip on the train. Tochigi Perfecture is located 2-hour train ride from Tokyo en route to Tomita station. We pretty much lost our way because of the crazy metro trains. Stayed at the platform for almost 30 minutes waiting for the right train with the right label of destination to get into. 


There were small pots of flowers outside the dome-shaped entrance. We purchased the ticket from a counter located inside the dome. Dome has various kinds of products being sold, from flowers, figurines and local delicacies. 


We passed by these sceneries on our way to the Park. Plus I imagine this dark alley during night time.

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Weather was always a chill within the metro just like Baguio but over the distance and Ashikaga's high altitude, It felt freezing already during the autumn.


Ashikaga Flower Park. I knew October days no longer bear the gorgeous Wisteria flowers so If you want to come, come see it during mid-April to mid-May. Our time was not wasted because the park has tons of different flowers to see since other flowers blooms all throughout the year like the hydrangea, roses, Virginia purple flowers, waterlilies and daisies. A 15-minute walk to the Park was also amazing because of the mountainous landscapes from afar. 


The were quite a number of workers preparing for the annual illumination event during December. The workers were so busy installing the LED lights. There were lights everywhere. Walls were build probably put in different kinds of theme every year. We saw a huge globe formed by the LED lights. And the other were installed in this billboard sized metal wall. I don't have an idea what image were formed. Since it was a little gloomy when we visited, some of the lighted were lit along the walkways.


Beneath these steel rods is where I'm supposed to see the 145 Year old Wisteria hanging, swaying in a cold windy breeze. 


Go check out Ashikaga Flower Park via Google. It is ethereal. I am adding this on my bucket list to go back during the spring. 


There is a canteen where we tried a different kind of soba noodles, it looks bland but when we had a taste, we chopsticks kept goin on until we realized it was almost gone. One of my favorite things in Japan is you can never go thirsty, vendos can be find anywhere, and this one is located just before the exit.

Address: 607 Hasamacho, Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture 329-4216, Japan
Phone:+81 284-91-4939