Japan 2019 Day 22: Goodbye Mount Fuji, Hello gluten free feast!

Our last full day in Japan, and our last morning in Kawaguchiko started with a blanket of clouds covering Mount Fuji. Not to be put off we were at Oishi park by 5:40am patiently waiting to see if Fuji would grace us with a view. The clouds weren’t as thick as previous days, and we kept getting glimpses of Mount Fuji through the clouds!

At one point the whole peak was out, but it wasn’t to last as a new bank of clouds came in from the north.

As we were leaving Kawaguchiko to drive back to Tokyo we needed to pack, we had purchased quite a bit over the last week in Kawaguchiko and so it was time to get the second set of travel bags out! As we flew with JAL/BA we got 2 bags in the hold each, and so I got some fold up carry bags to distribute the weight of all our treasure! We spend some time faffing with our bags, walked to the conbini for some snacks, and loaded up the car! Luckily our little Nissan note fit our 8 bags!

We were all checked our at 9am and ready to be on the road. We saw some interesting snacks at the conbini, hours of fun in there!

I really wanted to get some morning shots at the Maple Tunnel, and so we headed back there in our heavy car, hoping the clouds would move on. We couldn’t park in the usual layby as it was full, so we ended up parking outside another abandoned house. Through the trees we spotted a large abandoned property, and decided to explore. From the looks of it it was a ryokan or guest house, lots of tatami rooms and large shared toilets at the back. The structure didn’t look safe so we didn’t go in, but we wandered about outside, imagining what it might have been like.

If you look closely you can see a portable stretcher in the room, and what looks like blood on the sliding paper door…

I bet it was a beautiful place when it was up and running, it would have had a great view of Kawaguchiko, if not a sneaky view of Mount Fuji too! This area of the lake has no developments on so it would have be really peaceful! You can tell it has been in disrepair for quite a while as the trees have taken over.

Sadly the clouds weren’t clearing, so after a drive to Oishi Park we headed off to our favourite supermarket, Ogino, for some lunch. We had to leave Kawaguchiko by 1pm to get the car back to Tokyo on time. After lunch we headed back to Oishi park to eat, and say goodbye for now to Mount Fuji. We wandered around the lake to one of the maple trees and waited…

The leaves were stunning in the sunlight, a clear sky except for Fuji, as usual! We still had a bit of time and so we waited…

At 12:30 the peak of Fuji cleared, I shot my last photos of Fuji for 2019 and we begrudgling headed back to our little car. (I checked the webcams of Fuji for that day, and Fuji never got any clearer, which made me feel better about leaving without a clear shot!).

It took 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to our hotel for the night Hotel JAL city, right by Haneda airport with a free shuttle bus. I didn’t realise that there are two separate wings to this hotel, we of course went to the wrong one and had to get back in the car and drive to the next. Once we had checked in and dropped our 8 bags we had to find a petrol station. In Japan you have to return the hire car with a full tank of petrol, the rental stores are usually right by a petrol station so it is fine. What was tricky is trying to be on the right side of the road to get there! Driving in Tokyo is a little different to Kawaguchiko, and it took 10 minutes to get a few hundred yards to fill the car and return it. We had done 996km in 7 days, all around Kawaguchiko!

We headed into Tokyo for our last night, we had reservations at T’s Gluten Free Kitchen again, but I wanted to get some shots of Tokyo tower now the “special” light show had ended. Back to the World Trade Centre Building! We didn’t spend long there but managed to get a few shots as the sun set over the mountains.

After some snaps we headed to the restaurant, with empty bellies ready to fill with all the Japanese food we could. For starters we had gyoza and tempura and we tried different mains; yakisoba and okonomiyaki. The ramen was definitely the best main so if you visit I’d definitely recommend that.

Gluten, egg and milk free pork gyoza. Gluten free and vegan vegetable tempura.
Gluten, egg and milk free yakisoba. Gluten free and vegan pancakes.

The tempura and gyoza are amazing. Unfortunately the pancakes were a little under cooked this time, so weren’t as good as our first visit to T’s Kitchen. I will 100% be visiting here next time I am in Tokyo, they are great for people with allergies or dietry requirements.

We wandered around Roppongi for a little while before heading back to our hotel, watching Frozen in Japanese on the TV, and heading to bed on our last night in Japan 😦

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