Monday, March 31, 2014

Japan Holiday - Day 4

Why are Japanese houses and rooms so small? The hotel rooms we stayed so far confirm this impression. According to Colin that's because Japan is a very hilly country with 70% of the land being mountainous. Only 6% is available for building houses so the Japanese have to economize. They also cannot build high as the country is earthquake prone. Being squeezed for space forced the Japanese to be innovative and creative in space management. Even the roads and highways are narrower by international standards. This force the drivers to be more skillful and develop courtesy and patience.

So another day has gone. Leaving Hana Isawa the entire reception staff came out to wave us goodbye. It wasn't Sayonara but Mata, ai mashou which means See You Again. Colin said it is the onsen hotel tradition, wishing we will return soon to enjoy their hotspring bath again. They waved even when we were far away until we lost sight of them. I've not experienced this anywhere before.

Today we're going up close to Mount Fuji. Along the way those with good view from the coach started snapping pictures. Later we stopped by Oshino Hakkai (after the Fanuc robotic arm manufacturing company) near Mt Fuji where eight ponds receiving melted snow water flowing into them. We took a group photo with Fuji in the background and drank pure spring water from Fuji. It tasted really pure and good.

At our next stop, the Gotemba Peace Park, we took more photos with Fuji standing elegantly in the background. We were really blessed to have fine weather either great visibility. We had our lunch break at the food courts of the Gotemba Premium Outlets. We tried getting as close as possible to Mt Fuji but only managed to get to the first pass at 1291m above sea level. During summer tourists can get higher to see the peak at closer range. For us this is the closest. With zoom lens the peak look really pretty. We took pictures in the icy forest to muse over in later years.

We stayed at the Jiragonno Fuji no Yakata tonight. It is another onsen hotel. We went for hot spring bath again. By comparison I'd say the Hana Isawa though older is better. I had mixed feelings as tomorrow will be our last day here in Japan.

For a sighting of the lovely photos taken today, please visit my Facebook album HERE.

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