When I found out we were going to Mount Fuji, I was really nervous because I had no idea how cold it was going be, exactly, and I wasn't sure if the clothes I wore were going to be enough to battle the cold. I brought the nerves with me to the very day we visited and just made sure to wear the thickest clothes in my luggage. Miraculously, I made it, but the cold eventually takes its toll and you really have to run back to the bus for the heat! Haha!
We were brought to the 4th level of Mount Fuji because the upper levels were dangerously covered in snow. I didn't really mind because at least it wouldn't be as cold as we were previously warned. It was so surreal to be at the level of clouds. If it weren't so cold, I'd probably have stayed for a while.
I'm not sure what happened but my face reacted to something in Mount Fuji, causing it to swell and my face looked like a plate in those few minutes I was there. I didn't even notice until my dad had taken photos and posted it on social media. *Insert ghost emoji here* Good thing this profile shot was able to hide most of it. LOL
Surprisingly enough, the best photo I took of Mount Fuji was on the bus as were headed for lunch.
We had our first legitimate bento lunch at the basement of this random souvenir store. They've got lots of great Japanese treats here! From Mt. Fuji KitKats to Tokyo Banana to even the Magical Rice Seasoning! (I don't know what it's really called so I call it Magical Rice Seasoning haha)
The food was really good but it was obviously not served fresh. Even the tempura was really pretty cooled down. The thing that definitely saved the day was the Wasabi Nori Rice Seasoning that you put on Japanese Rice which is a total *game-changer* I swear I can totally eat just Japanese rice with the seasoning and I'd be 200% happy with life.
Our tour guide briefly showed us to the Marathon Man statue before boarding the cruise around Lake Ashi. It was immensely windy and I could not handle the cold. After taking shots of our views from the side of the boat, I sought refuge in one of the heated rooms in the boat.
This looks like something out of a JRPG! Probably where the main character's ultimate weapon is stashed. LOL #GeekingOut
After the cruise, it was another 2-hour ride going to Tama which was just at the outskirts of Tokyo! We stopped to visit Sanrio Puroland a.k.a. Hello Kitty Land. Sadly, it really does show how this place almost went bankrupt. The building was clearly very old and poorly maintained. Oddly reminiscent of Star City here in Manila. I'm not going into detail about Sanrio Puroland because I didn't really explore it that much because I'm not really a fan of Sanrio. If you are, you're sure to go crazy with the amount of merchandise they have here, and as usual, the lines are impossibly long. Only recommend this for the die-hard Sanrio fans out there. Otherwise, you would probably just end up exploring the commercial district directly across it.
That afternoon basically ended up being our free time, and it was the first time I got to see stuff for myself without anyone else rushing me to the next location. Across Sanrio Puroland was this incredible elevated district. All of this was actually built on what I assumed was a huge parking building. I couldn't get over how they were able to build this tiny elevated city and make it feel like you were just at any normal area. So. Flawlessly. Done.
There's a large single-storey Daiso here where I hoarded some cheap pocket brush pens for 100yen each! Most of the stuff here is 100yen so that's about 40PHP! I also visited the Mitsukoshi Department Store just straight ahead. You can find a lot of local Japanese brands there but they're quite pricey. There's a large MUJI store you can check out. The footwear is so cheap! Sort of regretting not getting sneakers from MUJI which are 1000PHP cheaper than the ones available here in Manila. They've also got a large UNIQLO at Mitsukoshi. Hoarded some flannel button-downs for about 700PHP each. So cheap I cry.
It was especially funny because everyone in our tour bus had the same idea. Most of us just went shopping and gave Sanrio about 15 minutes of our time before ultimately going back to do more shopping. Sometimes I wish we just went straight to Tokyo but I love that I was able to observe this cool commercial district as an architecture student. :)