A few weeks back I saw an advertisement for the Shibazakura Festival down at the base of Mount Fuji. My days used to consist of looking forward to the weekend’s football, downing a few beers and having a cheeky Nandos. Now, cheery blossom and pink moss festivals are the flavour of the hour. What have I become?!
Anyway, off to the festival we headed….slap bang on the first weekend of the huge ‘Golden Week’ holiday. What an ingenious idea that proved to be….
We left the house at 7.20am and made pretty good time, arriving three trains later at the base of Fuji at around 10.30am. Yes, there was now a short bus journey to contemplate, but hey, what’s another 30 minutes travelling to see such a beauty spot?
So we queued for the bus, twice (first to purchase a ticket, second to get on the fricking thing). Fine – that took about an hour but it was hot and sunny, so not too much of a chore. We were now on the bus around 11.45am in reasonable spirits. OK, we thought. We’ll be there around 12.15pm – we’ll take that…
30 minute bus journey? Errrr….apparently NOT during Golden Week, considering every god damn person within a 50 mile radius appeared to be on the same stretch of road leading to the festival. We were sat in static traffic for nearly 2.5 hours, eventually arriving at the site just after 2.15pm.
7 hours after we’d set off, we’d arrived. By now, I wanted to cry. Yes, there was moss beauty aplenty, but no, it didn’t make up for what we’d just endured. Golden Week, the one week of the year Japanese people take a holiday, turned out not to be the best time to plan a day out!
Writing this 24 hours on, it’s still quite raw. I’m sure I’ll laugh about it in weeks to come, but yesterday was a low. The beauty was quite unbelievable too, but, with the prospect of another epic coach trip back to Kawaguchi lingering, we couldn’t make the most of the moss.
Anyway, Fuji looked resplendent, as ever. Still snow capped currently. Climbing season starts soon.
A moss Fuji.
Starving we were, having had virtually nothing to eat all day. Sod the moss, give me some bloody enormous chips any day of the week! Don’t be fooled by the smile – we were baying for blood. The Bicuity camp was not happy.
So, after probably less than half an hour at the festival, we got back on the bus, praying it’d only take the prescribed 30 minutes to get back to the lake. And phew – bang on time! By now, the afternoon sun was fading to dusk. Just enough time to get up the mountain. We even saw a load of wild monkeys playing near the bottom. This made Maz’s day. Scant consolation I’d say.
The view of Fuji-Q Highland theme park, right at the base of Fuji. Coasters here were world record breakers when opened.
Final shot of the day. So, it turned out that Golden Week should be avoided at all costs if planning a day out. In hindsight too it was so obvious. I don’t know what we were thinking. I think I was blinkered by my desperation to get out and see something beautiful. But it backfired. Although not Japanese etiquette, train beers were required for the way home. And we had a massive all-you-can-eat buffet to numb the pain once back in Tokyo. Not quite a cheeky Nandos, but it had a similar effect on me and left me sprinting the final 200 metre stretch home. A fitting end to a terrible day out!