I certainly came back from Japan with a lot of photos, and it inspired me to paint a few scenes. I’ve only tackled them in miniature at the moment. These watercolour paintings are all postcard-sized.
The bamboo forest of Arashiyama.
A snowy rendition of Mount Fuji.
Kawaguchiko is a tourist town through and through. There were plenty of large hotels by the lake trying to cash in on Fujisan.
The town had a few quirky sights, like this sculpture.
We found that the Japanese really appreciated geology. Unlike in Sydney where you’re lucky to find a mineral shop or museum in the entire city, there were little shops and museums everywhere. This museum had an extensive and impressive collection.
And what is a town without a big event – like a marathon right in front of our hotel.
But I think the meals, and its setting was a bit of a tourist attraction in itself. This was our dining room at the hotel.
In between, we just had enough room for a simple bowl of ramen.
The marathon began on the morning of our departure, and we struggled against the tide of thousands of eager runners to reach the train station. No rest for us though, we had another train to catch.
Fujisan wasn’t the only thing to see at Kawaguchiko. The lake itself was a pretty sight in itself. We saw it from above.
And from ground level.
As we walked around the lake, we caught plenty of autumn foliage that was bright as can be.
Our destination was the tourist town of Kawaguchiko, famous for its view of Mount Fuji (or Fujisan, as the Japanese call the sacred mountain). At 3776 metres, it’s Japan’s highest mountain and renowned for being a bit camera-shy – it’s obscured by cloud for most of the year. We felt very lucky to get many fantastic views of the mountain. In fact, you really couldn’t miss it.
From our hotel rooftop early in the morning.
Zooming in up-close.
From the train station.
And the main road.
My favourite views were from the lakeside mid-morning.
It was a view to admire (or distract) while fishing.
And a spectacular accompaniment to autumn foliage.
And peeping from behind the hills.
By late afternoon the clouds had started to roll in, though it didn’t make the view any less spectacular. It almost made us forget that we were looking at a volcano (albeit a dormant one).
Our visit to Izu-Kogen concluded all too quickly, and we were once again at the station, taking multiple trains, one of which was of course the shinkansen.
For those who have never taken a high-speed train, I took a little video at one of our transit points, Atami Station. It’s a taste of how fast those trains go, and shows a little of what goes on at a Japanese train station.
1. Speed of train, and how nonchalant everyone is about it.
2. Barriers between the platform and the track – rather a good idea.
3. People still go around in Japanese dress – even while travelling.
4. The station master’s pointing routine in the background. It’s a Japanese thing to ensure that everything is done according to plan.
It was a rather long day on 5 separate services. The last was an all-stations service full of noisy high school kids. We were rather glad near the end to see this, our destination.