Every year on our anniversary we try to visit some new place.This year we couldn’t plan a proper trip because of the earthquake and the consequent trip made home.By the time we were back in Tokyo,we had almost missed the cherry blossom season.But some quick research on the net told us that these lovely flowers are still in bloom around the Fuji Five Lakes.
The Fuji Five Lake (Fujigoko) region lies at the northern base of Mount Fuji about 1000 meters above sea level around the lakes Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance and also a good base for climbing the mountain( july-august).”Among the lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access and offers the most things to see and do for the average foreign traveler ” remarked a popular travel site.Also, the most recommended views of Mount Fuji are those from the lake’s northern shores during the cherry blossom season around mid April and the autumn colors around the first half of November.So,as we were yet to be up,close and personal with Mt.Fujiyama and didn’t want to miss this year’s cherry blooms we decided to make a one day trip last sunday.By saturday evening,we had made reservations on the Fujikyu highway bus leaving for Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku at 7.40am..as the earlier bus at 7.10am was already fully booked.Next day,we set out early morning and reached the Shinjuku highway bus station at around 7.00am and tried our luck if we could get seats on the immediate 7.10 bus and there just in those hurried 5 mins,with some shuffling,the computer popped up two vacant seats for us !! and then we zooooooomed into the bus doubly charged
It was lovely weather and it took a comfortable 2 hrs to reach Kawaguchiko.There we took the local Retro bus 2 day pass for unlimited use along the shoreline of Lake Kawaguchiko.We straight away went to the last stop Shizen Seikatsukan and started walking backwards along the shoreline.And the rest is simply too breathtaking to pen down..so have a look !!
Walking on along the curved shoreline we reached the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art which seemed less of a museum and more of a shop from inside. But the adjoining trail offered nice views..
After having some snacks,we referred to the map in hand and found that we had missed the Kubota Itchiku museum on way.Its the museum built by the artist Kubota Itchiku (1917-2003) himself, who dedicated his whole life to reviving and mastering the lost art of Tsujigahana(tsu-jee-ga-ha-na) silk dying, a traditional dye technique, used to decorate elaborate kimono during 1333-1573.The very entrance of the museum stands out…
On entering we went through beautiful landscaping complete with serene waterfalls..As we reached the main building of the museum, we were instantly awestruck by the unique architecture made of Okinawan corals and limestone.
After we went inside we were guided through several art exhibits from asia and africa to the main gallery upstairs where we were first shown an exclusive video of the artist’s creative life highlighting his fascination at his first encounter with an old silk textile remnant of tsujigahana at the Tokyo National Museum and thereafter his dedication to this art form.After the video,we were led into the main gallery of his kimono creations.And it was just magic ! Huge fabrics of multiple colours perfectly blended to depict a scenery…may it be seasons…lush landscapes..or even many kimonos aligned to form a greater theme altogether !! The vibrant colours and the silken texture mesmerised us.[Since photography was not allowed,I have tried to offer a fair idea through the links above]From there on,we took the Retro bus for the Kawaguchiko Music Forest, a small theme park and museum devoted to automatic musical instruments. Its main hall displays antique music boxes, mechanical organs and other automatic musical instruments mostly from European countries.The largest of them is a French fairground organ from 1905 which takes up an entire hall and plays every 30 minutes.All the miniature figurines start playing various musical instruments like trumpets,drums etc in perfect harmony !
The main building also houses a concert hall where classical musicians from around the world perform.
At the time of our visit there was no live concert,but only narrative descriptions of the showcased organs.We moved out after a while.We again boarded the retro bus for Fujinoyado Ohashi stop from where we walked across this famous bridge with more views of Mt.Fuji.Once across the bridge,we visited the nearby Yamanashi Gem Museum which displays gems,precious stones,and large quartz crystals from Japan and around the world.Half of the museum is a store for purchase of precious jewellery and trinkets.Then we went to the adjoining Herb Hall and bought us some lovely aromatic potpourri !From thereon we took the bus back to the Kawaguchiko station and wound up the trip with an early dinner of fried chicken and pasta whilst we waited for the highway bus for Shinjuku.