On Christmas Eve it was Day 2 of our Fuji-kawaguchiko trip and my fiance and I had already watched the sunrise over Mt. Fuji and visited Arakurayama Sengen Park. Now it was time to visit the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine 富士吉田浅間神社 before returning to Tokyo!
On the second and last day of our Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県 trip, my fiance and I woke up early to view the sunrise over Mt. Fuji and visited Arakurayama Sengen Shrine and Park. Our next stop was a very famous shrine that I hadn’t visited for years.
Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine/北口本宮冨士浅間神社
The Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine 北口本宮冨士浅間神社, known as the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine for short, is located in Fuji-kawaguchiko 富士河口湖町, near the base of Mt. Fuji 富士山. This was the traditional starting point for pilgrimages up the mountain from the north side. Today, however, most people take a bus to the Fuji 5th Station, further up the mountain, to start their climb. Directly across the mountain on the other slope is the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha 富士山本宮浅間大社 in Fujinomiya 富士宮市 in Shizuoka Prefecture 静岡県.
This shrine is a Japanese power spot (well, all of Mt. Fuji is technically a power spot), and so as you can imagine you can sense the energy here. I’m not one for hocus-pocus type of beliefs, but if you visit this shrine it is hard to deny that there is something there in the dense forested sanctuary. A power spot is a place that has spiritual energy (usually associated with Shintoism), and where you can receive an energy recharge that heals or refreshes. These are places where you just feel good when you enter. Continue reading
The second and last day of my trip with my fiance to Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県, and my Japanese hometown, was on Christmas Eve. After our late arrival in Fuji-kawaguchiko the day before, it was time to explore the area before heading back to Tokyo.
One thing you should know about me is that I am quite a fan of Mt. Fuji. Yamanashi Prefecture is my adopted Japanese hometown because I studied abroad here during my undergraduate university studies. Being this close to such an amazing natural wonder quite naturally makes one a fan of its beauty. Thus, my second and last day at Fuji-kawaguchiko was spent trying to enjoy as much of Mt. Fuji as I could before we had to go back to Tokyo.
We awoke at 6 in the morning on Christmas Eve at our ryokan, or Japanese inn, near the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko 河口湖 in the town of Fuji-kawaguchiko 富士河口湖町. I wanted to get photos of the sunrise over the lake and Mt. Fuji 富士山, so we dressed in our winter coats, hats, and gloves, warmed up the car enough to defrost the ice from the windows, and drove over to a lakeside spot I had picked out during our drive the day before.
On the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko we watched the sunrise, and as those first rays of light began to hit the peak of Mt. Fuji, it was absolutely breathtaking.
Sunrise over Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko – photo by kei
With my month-long trip to Japan in December of 2014 more than halfway over, it was time for more traveling! After a fun movie date and yakiniku the day before, my fiance and I were off on another adventure to Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県, and my Japanese hometown.
We had already been to Asakusa 浅草 and Tokyo Skytree 東京スカイツリー, Yokohama 横浜, Hakone 箱根 (Lake Ashi 芦ノ湖 & Owakudani 大涌谷) and Odawara Castle 小田原城, but now it was time to visit my Japanese hometown in Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県. This trip was an overnight trip with a stay at a ryokan 旅館, or traditional Japanese inn.
I studied abroad while I was an undergraduate at university in Yamanashi Prefecture. I consider it to be my Japanese “hometown” or furusato ふるさと even though I was born and have lived most of my life in America. A few weeks before the trip, I’d met up with my university friends in Tokyo for a reunion. Most of them work in and around Tokyo, with a few living a bit farther away. I only have one friend who stayed in Yamanashi Prefecture because that was her hometown originally. I let her know I would be in Yamanashi, but she had plans already and it was a Tuesday on a work week so we planned to meet up later.
My fiance and I drove from Tokyo to the town of Fuji-kawaguchiko 富士河口湖町, on the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko 河口湖. It’s only about 3 hours away from Tokyo, and so we left in the late morning. We arrived at the Kawaguchiko Park Hotel 河口湖パークホテル in the early afternoon, which is just a block away from the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko.
On the road to Kawaguchiko – photo by kei