Mt. Fuji is the most climbed mountain in the world. Every year over 100,000 people make the ascent. It is a volcano that is still active about every 300 years. 1707 was the last time it erupted. It is a tradition in Japan that one time in your life you must climb Mt. Fuji.
It was pretty hazy today when we saw it but our guide says that we are lucky because only 30% of the time is it visible. We drove up to the 4000’ level to get these pictures; it is the tallest mountain in Japan at 12,000’.
I saw many plants on the way that I use for landscaping in California. The pictures are not the best because we were traveling in a bus.
Japanese Maiden Grass (Miscanthus)
Lily of the Valley (Pieris japonica)
Japanese Red Pine (Pinus densiflora)
Japanese Redwood (Cryptomeria japonica)
Japanese Cherry (Prunus serrata) grows all over the hills at the lower elevations.
The Japanese Cherry is planted all over the country. It also has a nice yellow to orange fall color.
The hills are covered by a mixture of Japanese Maples, Oaks and Japanese Elms.
On our bus ride to Hakone our guide, Jay, passed around interesting things that pertained to Japan and talked about everyday life in Japan.
We found out that silk kimonos are very expensive. Here are a couple of pages from a kimono catalog and you can see the price for one of them is 348,000 yen which is about $3,500. Jay says you can rent them for $300.00 per day. We asked Jay why we saw so many young girls wearing them at the temples and shrines during the Cherry Blossom Festival. He said that most of them were cotton not silk and you can rent cotton for 3,000 Yen ($30) per day.
On our way to the Fujisan World Heritage Center near Hakone Jay told us some random financial facts about Japanese life since he used to be in finance:
Japanese are savers and they buy bonds in the government similar to how some Americans buy US Savings Bonds. But they buy much more which allows the Japanese government to support a proportionality larger debt than the US. The government has a debt of $10 trillion compared to the US debt of $23 trillion. The total savings that the Japanese people have in the bank, investments and government bonds is $16 trillion (1.6 quadrillion yen).
The average apartment in Tokyo costs about $300,000 and is about 300 s. f. and would rent for $1500 per month.
The unemployment rate in Japan is 2.6%.
School is required for 9 years in Japan and after that 90% go to high school and 50% go to college. Schools operate 5 days per week plus a half day on Saturday. At 15 years of age English is mandatory for those in high school.
We went on a leisurely cruise across Ashi Lake where we met our bus to Hakone and our night’s lodging.
We arrived at our hotel in Hakone and stayed in a traditional Japanese room. After we came back from dinner our bed was made:
Dinner was an 8 course Japanese meal which Jay said would have cost about $70-80 but was included in our tour. We were required to wear the traditional kimonos at the meal. Here is the menu:
I ate everything