Fujikawaguchiko

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We spent a couple of days in Fujikawaguchiko. The name is an amalgamation of Mount Fuji and lake Kawaguchi. The town, which has a population of 25,742, isn’t the most exciting town there ever was, but Mount Fuji makes a glorious backdrop. Lake Kawaguchi, that is one of 5 lakes in the area, made us forget we are in Japan. We might as well have been in Switzerland, Austria or in the Bavarian hinterland.

We didn’t stay very long in Fujikawaguchiko. To be honest, once you have seen the mountain, or the resting volcano to be precise, you’ve seen it. Once you’ve seen the lake(s), you have seen the lakes, and once you’ve seen the suicide forest, well, you’ve seen it. All natural features are nice and combined they make the area truly beautiful, but not so much that you would linger around for weeks on end.

We ticked most of the sights in one day. Eva added another sightseeing day in the area, walking around half of one of the lakes, while I stayed on a sunny hostel terrace and chilled all day.

I wish we could have climbed Mount Fuji. It’s Japan’s highest mountain with 3776 meters, and this would have made a nice addition to our 3300m Snowline climb in Dharamsala. But we didn’t have the clothes to climb Mount Fuji in November. We are still mostly running around in the same clothes that we had in 37 degree India and buying proper jackets, jumpers, trousers and stuff for a one day climb was out of the question. So we decided that looking at it in awe would suffice.

Mount Fuji, Mt Fuji, Japan

We were lucky though that it was mostly sunny in Fujikawaguchiko, interrupted by some rainy intervals. But when the sun came out it was hot in the valley. Autumn showed its beauty colours and all the sightseeing spots, while kilometres apart, were conveniently connected by bus routes, with buses full of mainly Asian tourists.

We visited the Fugaku Wind Cave, which is a lava cave and for some reason a tourist attraction. I’m not quite sure why. It’s utterly boring and after 7 minutes, we had the cave covered. I think people used to breed some kind of eggs in there or something, I’m not sure. I didn’t get it and can’t remember what it said on the sign. I would have to ask Eva, she would know, as she has a talent for absorbing and remembering unnecessary information.
STOP, I take that back. I forgot that I actually took a picture of the sign its here:

Wind cave sign about sericulture or Silkworm breeding
Exciting times

And here is a picture of some rotten silkworms I guess:

Silkworm breeding inside the Wind Cave
Who wouldn’t want to join the silkworm breeding business seeing this?

We paid a small entrance fee to get in there and they gave us helmets as the cave’s ceiling is in parts very low and without helmet you would smash your head in all the time. In other parts you could stand comfortably.

Inside the Wind Cave
Eva freelancing for National Geographic

Should you ever be in Fujikawaguchiko and you think about going to see the Wind Cave because it’s advertised somewhere, then don’t. The money is better invested in a bottle of Sake. The cave is useful if you want to develop back pain but for not much else.

Aokigahara

Walking through Aokigahara or more dramatically “The Suicide” forest was mostly relaxing. Fortunately, apart from leaves, we haven’t seen much else hanging from the trees. That would have been really shit if otherwise.

Still, according to Wiki, Aokigahara is sometimes still referred to as the most popular site for suicide in Japan. Statistics vary, but there are up to 105 documented suicides a year.

Aokigahara also known as Japan's suicide forest.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged 20–44 in Japan.
In 2014 on average 70 Japanese people committed suicide every day, and the vast majority were men, but the number of suicides is declining and as of 2013 has been under 30,000 for three consecutive years.
By 2016, suicide rates had reached a 22-year low of 21,764.

In 2010, the police recorded more than 200 people having attempted suicide in the forest, of whom 54 completed the act. Suicides are said to increase during March, the end of the fiscal year in Japan.
As of 2011, the most common means of suicide in the forest were hanging or drug overdose. In recent years, local officials have stopped publicizing the numbers in an attempt to decrease Aokigahara’s association with suicide according to Wiki.

The forest’s floor consists of hardened lava, volcanic rock, stemming from the last major eruption of Mount Fuji in 1707. Supposedly there is a lot of wildlife in the forest but we didn’t see or hear any. This includes birds. The forest was utterly silent when we were there. We might as well have been in Tokyo.

We spent a beautiful afternoon in the forest and for a couple of days Fujikawaguchiko is a nice place to visit if you are looking for peace and quiet thingies.

 

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Some pictures in the gallery have been snapped by transfer2.de