This time of year the locals say you can only expect to see Mt. Fuji about twenty percent of the time. Fogs and clouds usually obscure the famous peak but when Kongo came here the sun was out and it was a clear (ish) day that got hazy in the afternoon.
From sea the snow-capped symbol of Japan is magnificent and awe inspiring. It’s one of those places you’ve seen pictures of your entire monkey life and there it was right there in front o you. Fuji’s almost perfect cone shape comes from volcanic activity and the mountain is the highest in Japan at over 12,300 feet. All good Japanese are supposed to climb it at least once in their lifetime.
Kongo didn’t make it to the top (climbing season is July and August) but he did ride a nice gondola to the top of a nearby peak, Mount Hakone, another volcano mountain formed by overlapping eruptions in the past. When you make it to the top you’re hit with the very strong odor of fire and brimstone. It’s still active as evidenced by steam plumes, sulphur colored earth, and the smell.
The locals run water pipes to the area to make hot water to feed the many hot bath resorts in the area. You can even buy eggs boiled in the water from here which is supposed to be delicious although the chemicals in the water turn the eggs black. There was just something that seemed wrong about black hard boiled so Kongo passed on this culinary experience. The monkey is a fussy eater.
Inside the Hakone crater is Lake Ashi. Kongo sailed across this lake in a boat made to look like a Samauri ship. (It looked pretty European and Kongo is pretty sure that the early Japanese warlords got around in galleys not brigs, but you have to go with the flow when you’re here.)
With good luck and light traffic Kongo made it back to the ship shortly before sailing. With the sun setting, the Fuji view from sea was again wonderful.
The monkey will dock in Yokohama the next morning, completing a 2,000 mile voyage around the Japanese island and have a final day in Tokyo before flying home on Mother’s Day.
Travel safe. Have fun.