Monday, July 09, 2018

A Day at Mt. Fuji

Halfway through my family vacation in Japan this June, we had the opportunity to experience Mt. Fuji with a few days in the Fuji Five Lakes area. Such a magical place! Here are is a quick photo montage in case you are interested.

(We arrived in June, the tail end of the "rainy season". If you want to hike to the top, best to come in late July)
(The traditional Japanese breakfast is a true feast! Fish, eggs, miso, green up and marinate in the onsen and you're ready for a day on the mountain.)
(The historic Yoshida Trail has goes right to the top of the mountain, and has been a  rite of passage for thousands of years. I woke up at 7am, and didn't see a single person all the way.)
(Yorishiro, in the Shinto religion, are objects capable of attracting and holding spirits (kami). Giant cypress and cedar trees are some of the most sacred, particularly those that are near shrines like 700+ yr old “Taro”, here donning the traditional shiminawa (braided rice or hemp rope) with shide (paper lightning bolts) at the base of the Yoshida Trail up to Mt. Fuji. I was here in a thunderstorm a few weeks ago (a wonderful shinrin-yoku moment), calm and quiet, feeling safe and connected. It has been with me ever since, just a few deep breaths away, like a favorite dream. )
(Taking shelter in a shrine on the way up)
(Later in the day, we took the bus up to the Fifth Station so the kids could check it out. Quinn displayed her prayer skills at the shrine)
(Sorry, kitties back at home...)
(Later in the day, we hiked the "Sea of Trees", the Aokigohara Forest. Those in Western cultures may know this as "Suicide Forest", due to the high numbers of suicides that occur here. There's no creepy vibe here. In fact, when you talk to locals about how Japanese view their focus on the cultural collective and their views on end of life and ties to nature, one quickly understands why it seems fitting.)
(All over Japan, you can find examples of great design and attention to detail. Here a manhole cover is turned into a work of art)
(Christi and Sophie stare down a Mt. Fuji-sized plate of tempura, while we listen to a Japanese singer cover American tunes like John Mayer and John Denver)
There was so much more to this trip, and perhaps someday I'll have the time to put it into words. I highly recommend checking it out!

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