Local Bus Trip to Yamanashi Prefecture (Part 1)
A bus journey around the vast base of Mount Fuji sees us visiting a spiral-shaped museum dedicated to the World Heritage Site and savouring sesame buckwheat noodles at a 70-year-old restaurant.
Join us on our two-day bus journey from Miho no Matsubara in Shizuoka Prefecture to Kiyosato Station in Yamanashi Prefecture. Our aim is to find the best bus route to travel around the vast base of Mount Fuji. We will ride on fixed-route buses to our goal of Kiyosato, but we are also given a budget of 10,000 yen to take taxis in areas where there are no such buses.
We begin by taking a bus to Shimizu Station, after which we will head to Okitsu. Our plan is to head towards Mount Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture. This way, we will be going around Mount Fuji from the west side and then heading to Kiyosaki by taking the shortest route. Our goal is to reach Kofu Station in Yamanashi Prefecture by the end of the day. We arrive at Shimizu, a transportation hub where four national roads intersect. We go to the station’s information centre and are told that although we can take a bus to Okitsu from here, no Fujikyuko buses go to Okitsu, so we will not be able to go to Fuji City. We are advised to try our luck by going to Yui from Okitsu first.
The bus to Okitsu Station will leave an hour later. We decide to have an early lunch at Restaurant Kazuya, which opened nearly 70 years ago. We order its speciality, sesame buckwheat noodles, and pork cutlet rice bowl. We then catch the 11.40am bus, which heads east along Suruga Bay towards Okitsu Station. The journey takes about 20 minutes. There are no buses between Okitsu and Yui, so we decide to take a taxi. The fare to Yui Station comes up to around 2,000 yen.
We want to go to Fujinomiya but realise there are no bus stops around Yui Station. We ask a local who tells us there are no buses going towards Fuji from here. The person suggests we walk to the old Route 1 and take a bus to Kanbara Hospital instead. We have difficulties finding the bus stop and end up walking for around 2km before locating it. We finally catch the 1.15pm bus and head to Kanbara Hospital. At the hospital bus stop, we transfer buses and leave for Fujinomiya at 2.10pm. Fujinomiya is 14km away from Kanbara Hospital and the bus ride takes nearly an hour. From Fujinomiya, we want to take the shortest route on the west side of Mount Fuji. We are still hoping to reach Kofu by the end of the day.
However, a local resident at Fujinomiya tells us only four buses go to Yamanashi Prefecture each day and the last bus left about half an hour ago at 2.40pm. So we have no choice but to spend the night at Fujinomiya, which is 62km away from Kofu. We plan to take the 7.50am bus to Yamanashi Prefecture the following day.
It is only about 3.30pm now so we make use of the opportunity to do some sightseeing. A local recommends we visit the Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre. So we take the 3.55pm bus and reach the museum in less than five minutes. This facility was built for the protection, preservation and maintenance of Mount Fuji. The spiral-shaped building looks like an “inverted” Mount Fuji. On a clear day, the building’s reflection on the water creates a mirror image in the shape of Mount Fuji. The museum also offers visitors a unique experience of “climbing” Mount Fuji, albeit indoors. Views from the first station to the summit are displayed inside, making one feel one is actually ascending the mountain.
After visiting the museum, we start walking back to Fujinomiya Station while looking for a place to stay. We come across Fujikyu Hotel and manage to secure rooms for the night.
1) Do some sightseeing if you have missed the last bus and have lots of time to spare
2) A must-see attraction at Fujinomiya is the Mount Fuji World Heritage Centre