Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh, Tokyo! Part II

Pick up at Keio Plaza

Because I couldn’t bear the thought of going to Japan and not seeing Mt. Fuji, I booked a tour with Sunrise Tours. Pick-up service at my hotel was not available but the main pick-up point in Shinjuku, Keio Plaza Hotel, is a 10-minute walk.

We drove by the Tokyo Tower, which is actually taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

It took us 40 minutes to get to the Hamamucho bus station where we disembarked and exchanged our vouchers for stickers and were assigned our buses tour guides.

Saw this giant billboard of Tommy Lee endorsing Boss – not Hugo Boss but a local coffee brand often found in vendo machines and grocery shelves.

On the bus, I met Yoko, our tour guide, who spoke very good, intelligible English. After two hours, I finally had a glimpse of Mt. Fuji!

Snow-capped Mt. Fuji

Late autumn is a good time to visit. In the summer, the snow melts, so Mt. Fuji doesn’t look quite like the mountain we see in most travel photographs.

We were caught in weekend traffic so, instead of going straight to Mt. Fuji, we stopped for lunch here.

My bento box contained a scoop of Japanese rice (the packet on the lower left side is shisho powder that you mix in with the rice), tuna and shrimp sashimi, Japanese omelet, grilled salmon, deep-fried shrimp and all sorts of treats. We had green tea sherbet for dessert.

When we finally got to Mt. Fuji, we made our stop at the 4th station because the 5th station, which is the closest you can get via bus and has all the souvenir shops, was closed. But after 10 minutes or so, the fifth station was opened. Here I was at the Torii gate of the 5th station.

The beautiful autumn colors of Lake Kawaguchi.

Me lining up for the cable ride to Mt. Tenjosan. Lake Kawaguchi is behind me.

Another view of Lake Kawaguchi while queuing up for the cable ride.

We took the bullet train back to Tokyo.

Me with the best guide in Tokyo, Yoko.

Dinner at Katsukura in Takashimaya

Japanese beer

Pickles. Ewww.

Crush the sesame seeds to release the flavor.

Mix with the sauce provided and use this as dip for your katsu.

My ground beef katsu.

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