Since we were staying in a ryokan, our breakfast and dinner were provided for. With the limited time spent in Lake Kawaguchi area, we did not manage to try much of Yamanashi‘s local cuisne. One of the more commonly found dish had to be the Hōtō – stewed flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso-flavored soup. If you have the chance to visit Kawaguchi, you may wish to try this local dish.
For us, we did not have much chance to dine out but we attempt to try as many snacks as possible and brought back some as souvenirs.
One of the first few places we explored was the Kawaguchiko Herb Hall to try their famous Lavender Soft Serve. The herb hall not only sells a variety of herbs, they also runs a craft studio with classes on pressed flower craft-making. The foodie in me managed to spot this edible flowers amongst the sea of dried flowers. These sugared flowers can add some romantic touch to your regular afternoon tea sessions.
There was also a huge variety of products featuring Fuji-san available in the region. I picked the Fujisan Club cookies for its cuteness, though flavour-wise its just normal cookie with a dollop of white chocolate tip.
Also bought the Yamanashi White Peach Langue-de-chat cookies since Yamanashi prefecture is the largest producer of peaches in Japan. Tired of eating Shiroi Koibito from Hokkaido? Why not try this peach version instead?
Since the weather had not been cooperative, I was desperate enough to buy a Fujisan Charm hoping that it will bring me better luck in getting to see her…
The charm somehow worked it’s magic and we finally got clear weather on my final day at Kawaguchiko! Celebrated with a Godiva Chocolate Ice Bar that only cost ¥325 (S$4+)! Try your luck to find this value-for-money luxurious chocolate ice cream in the convenience stores (konbinis) in Japan. The Haagen-Daz ice creams are more commonly available, so if you can’t find Godiva, try the Haagen-Daz ones instead – see the one’s I’ve tried earlier here. They are equally good buys and I luv the crunchy texture of the coatings!
Arrived at the Kawaguchiko Station with the Fujisan View Express parked on the tracks, making a great photo opportunity.
With such a good and clear weather, we made our way to the Chureito Pagoda to capture the fabulous view of Mount Fuji. Our ryokan host has kindly advised us to take the Mt Fuji World Heritage Loop Bus to get to Chureito Pagoda instead of our original plan of taking rail to Shimoyoshida Station. If we took the rail to the Shimoyoshida Station it would involve walking about 15 mins to get to the foot of the hill where the pagoda is located.
The alternative way of getting to Chureito Pagoda by Fujikyu Railway:
Arrived at the foot of the hill to see the red Torii at the entrance of the Arakura Sengen Shrine. Getting to the pagoda, which is part of the shrine, involves climbing up a few segments of steep stairs uphill or you can take the more gentle sloped pavement which involves a much longer walk.
During spring time, this hill is a popular spot where people can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji at the backdrop. I thought it was also pretty poetic to get to see the pavement and trees covered with a cloak of fresh snow in place of the blossoms.
After about 15 mins of exercise, we were rewarded with an expansive and breathtaking view of Mount Fuji with Chureito Pagoda. This had to be the most memorable moment of my Kawaguchiko trip, my 2 nights stay in the area to increase the chances of seeing her finally paid off.
Perhaps winter was a low-season or maybe it was just the timing. Although we were not the only visitors at the viewing spot, it was totally not crowded at all. We had an enjoyable time taking photos and strolling around the compound.
Purchased Grilled Miso Pork (Buta Misoyaki) ekiben from the Kawaguchiko Station as quick lunch before catching our transport to Tokyo. Ekiben is one of the best way to get an introduction to the most representative local cuisine while on the road! The thinly sliced savoury pork was tender yet juicy, paired with pickled veg and sweet tamago which was a well-balanced bento.
Not forgetting to collect a JR stamp from the Kawaguchiko Station =)
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