Mount Fuji and whisky

Sometimes the weather gods can really smile on you and this morning at five thirty, our luck was in. A fresh dusting of snow and clear skies greeted us when we opened the curtains. We stumbled from our hotel down through some woods and there it was – the so far elusive Mount Fuji, bathed in pink light reflecting on the lake. No picture does it justice. From the edge of the lake it appears enormous. All 3776 metres of it. Hokasi created his 36 views of Mount Fuji. Here are a few of mine full size to try to give a sense of how beautiful it looks in the morning. 

Breakfast at the hotel was traditional Japanese, most of which I like, but this morning there was a pickled plum – umbashi, which I hated and some form of fermented beans with long sticky strings of something attached to them. However I will try most things at least once. And the view of Mount Fuji was stupendous as we ate.

Reluctantly we headed off leaving Mount Fuiji behind and made our way to the Suntory Hakushu Distillery near Hokuto, Yamanashi. Being Scottish and not a lover of whisky, it was still an interesting place to visit and I even tried again to see if I now like whisky. I am afraid not, even when made into highballs, which are very popular in Japan. We chatted to a young couple from Perth, Australia on their honeymoon. They had sensibly come by taxi!

Next stop was Naraijuku in the Kiso valley, the longest post town in Japan. A kilometre of old wooden houses carefully preserved but still lived in by locals. It is located on the Nakasendo, one of the most important roads in the Edo period (1603-1868) to connect Edo (modern Tokyo) with Kyoto. There were 11 staging posts on the road with inns for travellers and and Naraijuku was the most prosperous. The snow started as we were looking at the shrine so we happily looked round the little museum to get warm.

Then it was on to Magome, very tired after our dawn start to a modern hotel. All the ryokan ( the more traditional hotels) were full as this is a popular area for a famous walking trail. More of that to come.

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