Cycling for training and fun around Mt. Fuji
here we come
One of the best things about getting ready for a great adventure like the Cycle for Change is it gives an excuse to get out and ride as possible. Christmas 2008 provided an extra little piece of festive joy when my brother ( who was in town for a few weeks ) and I went away to Lake Kawaguchi at the foot of Mt. Fuji.
Getting out of the Tokyo madness
It’s only a few hours on bus from the centre of Tokyo, so we bagged up the bikes and headed off reasonably early, destination Lake Kawaguchi. As has been the case all winter here in Tokyo the skies were clear and blue and even before we got to Tokyo’s city limits the grand old lady was rising up before us, beautifully covered in snow and looking like one of most serene places in the world.
After arriving in town we put the bikes back together and headed up to the north side of the lake in search of our hotel. One of the beautiful things about a lot of Japanese country hotels is that they have a natural hot spring ( onsen ) and Sunnidale Village was no exception. Fighting the urge to jump straight into the onsen we checked in and went in search of the local delicacies ” Hoto”, a soft noodle cooked with seasonal vegetables in a broth that excites the taste buds like no other.
Full to the brim, we headed out around the northern edge of the lake and were presented with a truly beautiful panorama of Mt. Fuji. Framed by the crystal clear lake and a blue sky flecked with scattered cloud, occasionally covering the peak only to reveal it again within minutes in a new and amazing way every time.
Cold but not perishingly so, we couldn’t help but notice that the weather really was too nice for this time of year and our discussions turned to whether the unseasonably warm temperatures we had been experiencing the last few days we just unusual or a sign of the times. (more on this in the next post)
A little slice of heaven
Impending climatic doom fully discussed and left for another day, we continued on around the lake discovering a little gem of Japanese architecture that seemed abandoned to its fate. With mental calculator running over time, i realised that this may well be one of the best real estate investments i could ever make. Lakeside views of one of the most iconic mountains in the world, easily reachable from Tokyo and more character than a million dollar mansion. Stayed tuned for news on the new cycle for change headquarters.
The next few hours passed fantastically riding at a fair pace but still taking in the beautiful surroundings until our reverie was rudly interupted by a troop of Japanese monkeys thundering across the road between Mark and I. Funny as hell to be honest and as cute as they look in the photos they are strong looking brutes that move with astonishing speed. The fact that one just missed Marks head made me laugh as only a brother can, but by the bemused look on his face when he turned around to come back and see where they went, he didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did.
Excitement over we made a more reserved return to hotel and finished the day with one of the most relaxing hot baths you can image. Sitting in the outside onsen, warmed by the naturally heated spring water and looking at the uninterupted veiws across the lake at the fading Fuji left me with one of the most memorable images I have ever had living here in Japan.
Time to go home
Short but fantastic journey over, the next day we returned to the madness of Tokyo and got into the festive season with too much food and way to much sake, but that said what a great way to train and celebrate xmas all in one. If you are ever in Japan and the madness of Tokyo gets a bit to much, Lake Kawaguchi is easy to get to, loads cheaper than Tokyo and on the whole an absolute must see.
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