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Tag Archives: Shinjuku Station

Today’s excursion is to Mount Fuji. We took a couple of trains to Shinjuku station to pick up the JR Limited Express train from Shinjuku Station to Mount Fuji. Our rail pass covered the cost from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki. We  then transfer to the Fujikyu Railway. It was the same train but we had to pay for the reminder of the trip to Kawaguchiko Station.

When we arrived we went to the train station ticket office to purchase our ticket on the Fujikyu Railway from Kawaguchiko Station to Otsuki where our JR pass would kick in.

We then went to the Omni Bus ticket office to purchase a ticket on the red line. From Kawaguchiko Station there are  Omni buses which are hop on an hop off buses and are generally the easiest way for tourists to get around. There are three lines starting from Kawaguchiko Station, We took the red Kawaguchiko Line (buses every 15 minutes) runs along the eastern and northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko. There were long lines to get on the red bus and the area was a zoo with all kinds of buses and lots of people.

We made sure we were standing within the lines.

Once we got on the bus we decided to ride the bus to the end of the line which was the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center. Along the way we noted other places we wanted to visit on our way back. It looked like they were in the process of planting flowers around the Living Center.

Not sure what these bushes were but in the fall they really beautiful.

I noticed these buildings up on the hill away from the lake. I think they were small places to stay.

We hopped on the bus and rode back towards town. We managed to get off one stop before we wanted to. There was construction taking place and we couldn’t figure out how get past the construction on the trail along Lake Kawaguchiko. Some other folks cam along from the opposite direction so we watched how they managed to get through the construction. It was a beautiful day to walk along the lake. There were some beautiful views of the lake and Mount Fuji.

There were beautiful flowers along the trail.

We were heading into an area with beautiful fall colors.

One of the few examples of graffiti that we saw on our visit to Tokyo and environs.

As we walked along we came to a craft fair that was taking place. Lots of beautiful things but no way to get them home.

 

As we were walking through the fair we ran across a both that had a display of Rose Mauling. When we arrived the individual staffing the stand was in the back having lunch. When she heard us talking about Rose Mauling she came out. Since my wife is Norwegian she was really interested. Turns out the Japanese woman had lived in Chicago for about 10 years and she took it up as a hobby which she continued when she returned to Japan. She had some sayings on some of her work that didn’t make and sense in Norwegian. We went off to have lunch and after lunch my wife decided to write some Norwegian sayings down on paper for the lady. We when back and gave them to the lady and had her picture taken.

There was a food court setup at the fair so we stopped and had some chicken on a stick.

In back of the art fair there were some gardens with beautiful fall colors.

We continued our walk along the lake and the colors were spectacular.

We came to another are with many food trucks. In the first photo the vendor was twirling a stick into the ice cream and when he had the equivalent of a scoop he would plop it on to a cone then had it to the person on the end of the stick. In this case he was teasing the girls by handing it to them and then pulling it away.

What a backdrop for a vendor with Mount Fuji in the background.

We continued walking but hadn’t gone far when we found another ice cream stand and couldn’t resist buying some.

The required smoking area.

We found another bus stop but had to wait far more that the 15 minutes that was noted on the brochure.

We rode the bus back toward town and then got off at a stop that would allow us to walk along a section of the lake that was very beautiful in the late afternoon light.

At this point we were back in town and decided to catch the bus back to the train station. We saw it coming so we raced to the place that it was supposed to stop. The bus kept on going and didn’t stop. Only then did we realize that we on the wrong side of the road and were an outgoing bus stop. We forgot the Japanese drive on the left rather than the right. At this point we figured out that we could take a shortcut through town to get to the station. On the way we found this beautiful little cemetery.

We figured it would be late when we arrived back in Tokyo so we decided to look for a place to eat. Unfortunately most restaurants don’t open until late in the afternoon which means after dark this time of year. We wandered through town looking for a place that was open. on the way we found this statue which my wife thought was from some fairytale. She was right it is from the  Grim fairytale “The Bremen Town Musicians.

We finally found a place to eat and had traditional noodles since we were really not all that hungry having had chicken on a stick and ice cream earlier in the day.

We caught the train back to Tokyo and arrived back in our hotel after a long day.

 

 

I have to say, after visiting this park, if I only had time to visit one park in Tokyo this would be the one I would visit.

Today we are headed for Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa. It took about an hour from our hotel taking several trains to get to the park.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

When we arrived we came out of the Tachikawa Station on the second level on what appeared to be a raised pedestrian roundabout one level above the street. We had see something like this in Tokyo and it seems to be quite efficient and eliminates the problem with pedestrians having to cross traffic when navigating a major intersection. We decided to stop at McDonald’s and get some coffee. It was one of the few places that was open early in the morning. We had a good view of the roundabout and the monorail station.

Japan is so very clean but I hadn’t seen that many people out cleaning the streets. On this morning, within about 15 minutes. Three people went by dusting the railings and sweeping the sidewalk.There was a taxi stand near the train station and I was admiring the immaculate taxies and how the drivers were out polishing them and how they assisted passengers. This was in stark contrast to our arrival home when we had to open the taxi doors and find a place to put our bags. The taxi was filthy and looked terrible. Americans don’t seem to have any pride in their work.

We decided to walk around a bit. Actually we were trying to find the park but were lost. We walked past this large bike parking ramp at the train station. We also ran across these policemen directing traffic and an intersection near the train station.

After wandering around a bit we ended up back at the pedestrian roundabout and decided to follow the monorail line out toward the park.

I noticed this artwork on one of the buildings.

In Tokyo the pedestrian walk signs don’t use numbers to tell you how long you have to cross the street they use the little lines on each side of the symbol in indicate waiting and walking time. In this case there will be a short wait before we can go.

As we neared the park it appeared that some type of outdoor recreational event was being held. Tents were being setup, camper vans were on display and the scouts had a demonstration area setup.

There were also food trucks that were being setup for the day.

The promenade leading to the Park was beautiful.

It was still early but it was a Sunday and there were a lot of people heading for the park. It was also a beautiful fall day.

As we entered the park we encountered Ginkgo Avenue. The Ginkgo trees were just starting to turn yellow.

This was the first of several wedding parties that we encountered in the park.

Here are several views of Showa Kinen Park Fountain.

I’m not sure what was going on here. There was a large open area displaying many figures made of large branches. Some of them were designed for kids to play on.

There were many kids in the park and probably as many dogs.

An interesting piece of artwork.

After walking for a while we encountered a large lake. There were a variety of ducks in the lake.

We encountered a Segway tour getting instructions. When they saw me taking their picture the lost their concentration and I thought they were going to have an accident.


It was early in the day and there were already a large number of boats out on the lake.

This little girl was working on here scooter skills while the family was setting up a picnic nearby.

Even though it was early November, there were a lot of flowers blooming in the park.

We encountered a large open area where sports were being played and folks looked like they were camping for the day. There was a huge field of flowers surrounding the open area.

We stopped on a bench and had lunch and people watched.

Our next stop in the park was the Japanese Garden and within that the Bonsai Garden where they had an amazing collection of bonsai trees.

We then continued on to main Japanese Garden. While the fall colors were not at their peak the were still beautiful.

We were about halfway in our walk around the park when we found a small rural farming village. Komorebi Village is a replica Japanese agricultural village from the early Showa period and you can see different things there, depending on the season. Since we were there in the fall the harvest season was represented. The village has a working windmill.

Continuing on we encountered a large area geared toward children. There was a place to eat and purchase trinkets.

This area was called Clowd Ocean and consisted on a number of bouncy domes that kids could jump on.

A climbing area where there were a large number of nets.

A number of cement dragons  and other creatures that kids could climb on.

A large slide that was very popular and the kids and adults were having a great time on it.

Another slide.

I’m not sure what this was. Kids were climbing on these hills and in the summer the far end has an area that sprays water that kids can run through.

While we were watching the kids this wedding party walked through the area. What was strange was that the bride was holding a cat that was also all dressed up.

The park also has a large Barbecue Garden. This is the only place in the park where visitors can barbecue or use fire, and is a great place to casually enjoy cooking in the great outdoors. Most people in Tokyo live in small apartments and don’t have room for a barbecue. No problem, you can show up empty-handed—no ingredients, no equipment, nothing!  You can rent everything and buy platters of meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles.  Pets are also allowed and the ground rents out chairs and tables, too. There is a large common area where you can clean everything up.

 

At this point we were on our way back to the entrance of the park. There were plenty of people getting their picture taken. I also took advantage of the opportunity.

There were a lot of dogs in the park. A couple of young women were trying to get their dressed up dogs to pose for photos. It took a while but they finally did.

There were a  lot of dogs in the park, many of them dressed up in clothes. It was strange, but a lot of dogs were being wheeled around in baby carriages or strollers. In fact, more dogs than kids were in baby carriages. There must be some regulation that animals have to be in carriers on public transportation because I noticed people putting their pets in cardboard carrying cases as they were leaving the park.

It was getting late in the afternoon when we were leaving the park. There was some nice light on the trees.

As I mentioned at the top of the blog there seemed to be an outdoor activities fair going on just outside the park.

The Scouts were in the process of taking down their display as we walked past.

The had a large number of hiking sticks available to try out and were providing demonstrations on their proper use.

Bikes were available for kids to try their skills.

How to chop wood was being demonstrated.

There were a variety of tents for people to look at and try out.

I captured this fellow running loose in the park.

On the way back to Tachikawa we encountered this singing group along the main street.

The police were still working hard at the intersection where we found them early in the morning.

We noticed a British restaurant called the HUB when we were walking around earlier in the day. Fish and chips sounded good so we went back for a bite to eat before returning to Shinjuku. The place was just opening when we arrived. Many places allow smoking in restaurants so we ate fast since the smoking area was starting to fill up. We were chastised by our son and his girlfriend for going to such a shady place. We couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Nevertheless the fish and chips was good

It was almost dark when we departed the Tachikawa Train Station on our way back to Shinjuku.

When we arrived in Shinjuku we wandered around the station looking at the lights before heading back to our hotel.

 

 

 

We were up early to make the trip to Mount Mitake. This was the trip we were going to make the previous day when I got left at the train station. We picked up the JR Chuo line from Shinjuku Station headed toward Ome. We changed at the Ome Station changed trains for Mitake Station. At Mitake we caught the bus for the 25 minute ride to the cable car station.

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

When we arrived at the top cable car station we had some nice views of the fall colors. Since there was a large group that took the cable car we waited for them to get ahead of us so it wasn’t so crowded on the trail.

The large red torii gate. is a symbol of the fact that the area you are about to enter is under divine protection.

We were walking up a winding road through the forest.

Along the way there are inn that cater to the tourists visiting the area.

The road/trail was just wide enough for one car.

Just before Reaching Musashi Mitake Shrine, we passed  through this shotengai (traditional shopping street).

Just past the shotengai we started the clime to the Musashi Mitake Shrine.

It was a beautiful day with bright blue sky and the start of fall colors. The Shrine was very impressive with a variety of buildings on the grounds. We noticed there was some form of service going on in the main Shrine building.

Just below the shrine we found a small nature trail that provided a shortcut to the main trail to Nagao-daira which was a small plateau with some picnic tables and some great views of the surrounding area.

There were large numbers of these beautiful flowers blooming along the trail.

There were some beautiful red trees in the area. I suspect it would be spectacular when the fall colors were in full swing.

Amazing views from the end of the trail. The second shot is the back side of the small village we walked through earlier in the day.

The blue sky provided a nice background for photographing backlit leaves.

We left the Nagao-daira area and decided to do some hiking. We noticed that several trails were closed but we couldn’t read the signs and we didn’t have an internet connection so we couldn’t translate them. We decided to try and walk down to the rock garden but we were not sure how long the trail was.

We noticed there was considerable washing on some of the gully’s that crossed the trail. This was probably due to the October typhoon.

We reached a junction in the trail and it appeared the trail to the rock garden continued on but there were quite a few handmade signs which we couldn’t read and we were concerned that there might be a problem getting to the rock garden. It looked like the trail leading to Ayahiro Falls would allow us to make a loop and take us back toward the cable car station. We weren’t too happy to see the steps on the trail. We were even less happy when the steps turned into tree roots.

After the tree roots there were metal steps. The entire trail was very steep.

When we finally reached the bottom and the waterfall we discovered that the trail back toward the cable car was closed. It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if the waterfall was spectacular but it really wasn’t much of a waterfall. We had to retrace our steps back up the steel stairs, over the tree roots and back up the steps. When we were back up at the junction we debated whether or not to go to the Rock Garden and decided we didn’t know how far it was and if it was also closed off down the trail. We decided to retrace our steps back to Nagao-daira and then to the cable car.

The way back seemed a lot shorter even though we were going up hill.

When we arrived back at the shopping street we decided to find a place to eat before leaving the mountain.  It was getting cool out so we looked for a place that looked like it might be warm. We had one of our best meals at this little restaurant.

On our mountain hikes I was a little surprised to find a large number of elderly people hiking. On one trip a woman was walking up a steep slope assisted by two walking sticks and followed by someone pushing a wheel chair. This was really inspiring.

We walked back though the area where the inns were located.

There were some beautiful leaves as we neared the cable car station. I did find it interesting that almost every place we found logs along the trail they were fake logs but they did blend in well with the environment.

When we reached the cable car station there was a small class of kids on tour. Once again they all had color coded hats. They were all in front as the cable car went down the mountain.

We had a relatively long wait for the bus that would take us back to the Mitake Train Station. It was packed

We arrived back at Shinjuku Station well after dark. My wife made a stop in the rest room while I took a few shots in the station. It was Friday night and really busy. When my wife returned she mentioned that there was an area in the women’s restroom to makeup on etc. The place was packed with young women getting dolled up for Friday night.

I convinced my wife to walk around outside the station so we could get some night shots of the area.

When we wee done we caught the train back to our hotel. It had been another long day.

This turned out to be one of our strangest days in Tokyo. We had decided to visit Mount Fuji so we made an early morning trip down to the JR ticket office at Shinjuku Station to aquire tickets.

The internet seemed to suggest that we could go all the way on the JR Line but when we arrived we discovered this wasn’t the case. We had to take the JR Limited Express train from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki. At Otsuki we would stay on the same train but have to purchase another ticket to reach Kawaguchiko. After all of this discussion we discovered the train was sold out. We decided to reserve tickets for a couple of days later.

Our Backup plan was to take the train to Mount Mitake. We would take the JR Chuo Line to Ome Station then transfer to another JR train to Mitake Station. We found the sign for the JR Chuo Line and headed down to the platform. When we reached the platform the train was already there. My wife got on but before I could get on the doors closed. My wife turned around the discovered that I was still on the platform as the train pulled. She had this horrified look which I wish I could have captured on the camera. The last thing I saw was that she mouthed “stay there”. So I did.

I should point out that when we travel we both have Verizon phones and for $10 per day each we could have access to our phones. Since this is a bit pricy my wife usually purchases a local SIM card for her phone and we use it for navigation. In this case she was using Japan Navitime to map our train travel. My phone was not turned on.

I waited and waited for her to return. After an hour of waiting for her to return I begin to feel like Hachiko the dog at Shibuya Station. I decided to turn my phone on but didn’t have a signal so I went outside the station by the JR Ticket Office. Now what? I couldn’t call my wife because she only had internet access and no phone number. I did remember something about Facebook Messenger but where to find it on my phone? You’ve probably guessed that I don’t use my phone very often. I started poking around and the next thing I know I was on a video chat with her. How that happened I have no idea since I’ve never used video chat. Turns out she was on a train to Ome and couldn’t talk so she said she would get off the train and text me. She did get off of the train and I received a text that she was on her way back to Shinjuku Station and it would take about a half an hour

More photos from the day can can be found on my website.

I decided to wander around the area outside of Shinjuku Station.

I’m not sure if this person was homeless or just taking a morning break. One thing we did not see were people sleeping on the streets and beggars. Apparently Tokyo has a very small homeless problem.

During my walks I kept getting updates, from my wife, on Facebook Messanger. Turns out there were problems on the train line and what she thought would be a half hour turned into over an hour.

We finally met up outside the JR Ticket Office at Shinjuku Station where I got to hear her version of events. It seems that when the train was leaving me behind she first mouthed that I should go to Ome then mouthed stay there. I only saw the latter. She got off at the next station and returned to Shinjuku Station and claimed to have searched the platform for me. Since I have a habit of not standing in one place and wandering off she thought that I had done that. Then she thought that since she had told me to go to Ome that I had gotten on the train to Ome so she got on the next train to Ome. The only thing we could figure out was that when she returned to Shinjuku Station she went to the wrong platform or platform entrance. At any rate we came up with a new plan should we get seperated. It involved me turning on my phone.

We should have probably been a little better organized regarding a separation plan. This is the third time it has happened. In 2015 I got on a gondola and left her behind and this spring we were leaving Ellis Island and they slammed the gate in my face, leaving my wife on the boat and me waiting for the next ferry.

Since we had already wasted more than half the morning we started looking for something to do in the area. We found this wonderful park near the station called Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The park even had a Chrysanthemum exhibit taking place.

Near a little pond area there were a number of painters at work.

There was an extensive Chrysanthemum exhibit in the park. It is truly impressive what the Japanese can do with Chrysanthemums.

Not only was there an exhibit but there were Chrysanthemums planted throughout the park.

We encountered the ever present hungry fish looking for a handout.

This was a very beautiful park.

We walked through an area with some beautiful backlit trees. Some of the leaves were just starting to turn color.

We found the rose garden at one end of the park. There were still a few roses blooming in mid November.

A little fruther on we ran across a group of school children on an outing. We watched as the started gathering leaves to toss at one another. Soon they turned on their teachers and started chasing them with leaves.

We walked past a section of the park with a bridge and a nice pond.

There was an expansive area of green space which on a weekend would be packed with people.

As I mentioned at the start of the blog this was a rather bazaar day. We noticed a greenhouse along the trail and decided to take a look inside. I took a few photos of some flowers and started following the walkway when I noticed a lime growing on a tree. I realized that I had seen the same lime on our first day in Japan when Carla and Justin took us to a park. It turns out that this was the same park. When we entered the park we turned right instead of left and entered a section of the park we hadn’t visited before. Until we reached the greenhouse we were coming from a different direction so everything looked different.

After we visited the botanical garden display we headed back to our hotel.