When you look at travel guides dor Japan one of the must see sights us always mount Fuji. Hell, he is even so famous that he has his own emoji 🗻. On my flight to Tokyo I was lucky enough to sit on the right side and I saw his snow white summit rising high in the distance. I wanted to see him up close, so Björn, Barbara, and I decided to go hiking near mount Fuji.
Getting there from Shinjuku is rather simple, there are several buses a day running from Shinjuku station to small towns around mount Fuji. Unfortunately, Tuesday was the only day with bad weather forecast. But as tickets were getting sparse we bought our ticket on Saturday when the forecast was still fine. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. As we arrived in Kawaguchiko at the foot of mount Fuji, not only the summit but the whole mountain was covered in clouds.
Barbara, Björn, and I started our hike up Mount Tenjo and planned to continue further to Shimoyama, a nice 2 hour one-way hike with usually great views of Fuji. This time we were out of luck. Strong wind and repetitive showers were not the best companions. So we crawled slowly up the hill, looking for a sheltered place for our lunch break.But most of the time the path was on the wind-facing side, so we did not find any place until shortly before the top. The top was surprisingly unspectacular. Maybe because of the clouds, but we turned back right away. For the descent we chose a different path that led us through a small village and along the lake. But the showers turned into constant rain, so after a few rounds through the town looking for a nice coffee place we decided to go to the bus station and check if we can exchange our tickets in the evening for earlier.
Used to the German public transport and its famous flexibility I expected long discussions and extraordinary fees up to buying a new ticket to get back earlier. While Björn was checking out the cafeteria Barbara and I lined up at the ticket counter and ended up at the counter of a man in his 50s. He didn’t speak much English, so the conversation was mostly single noun based.
“next bus Shinjuku?”
“next bus 10 minutes”
“ok, change ticket?”
Then I showed him my reservation on the cell phone. He grabbed my phone and started scrolling up and down on the ticket. When he found what he was looking for he hacked some numbers in the computer and pointed at his screen.
I confirmed and he printed the two tickets for me and Björn. Then Barbara, who booked here ticket separately a day after Björn and me, handed him her phone. Visibly confused he looked at her phone, hacked her numbers in, and offered her a seat across the isle from me.
I was genuinely surprised by the level of mindfulness the man showed. From German public transport employees I’m used that they do their jobs but hardly take matters in their hand to solve issues.