Enjoy the view of the fresh stream, magnificent waterfall and traditional fire festival (Part 1)

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Enjoy the view of the fresh stream, magnificent waterfall and traditional fire festival (Part 1)

We will travel by boat and even by foot, when the river is too narrow or shallow to manoeuvre a boat. It is dangerous to ride a boat if the water is not deep enough as the rocks would break or damage the engine and motor of the boat. One rule of this trip is that when we are unable to travel by boat, the boat has to be moved by truck to a safe location from where we can resume our journey along the river.

Begin your adventure from the mouth of Fujikawa River. Unfortunately, the width of the river here is rather narrow while the level of the water is low. So you’ll have to walk to a safe location along the river. As you walk, you will soon notice an iron bridge from where you can see Mount Fuji. Do also look out for Tokaido Shinkansen, which passes by every 10 minutes. After walking for about 3 kilometres from the mouth of the river, you will find a spot from where you can start your boat ride. As the boat makes its way to a deeper area of the river, you will be greeted by the beautiful nature of Fujikawa and later, the Shin-Tomei Expressway, which opened last year.

Alight from the boat once again once the river gets shallow. Continue your journey by foot and make a stopover at Fujikawa Rakuza, which is next to a service area of Tomei Expressway. About 3.6 million people visit Fujikawa Rakuza each year. At a souvenir shop here, you will find lots of items related to Mount Fuji. There are also several food stalls selling Shizuoka’s signature items. An example is shaved ice with strawberry syrup, topped with ice cream using milk from Asagiri Kougen.

After this delicious sweet treat, head to an observation deck in Fujikawa Rakuza to see Mount Fuji. Return to the Fujikawa River and resume your boat ride along the river. You will soon reach Kamaguchi bashi, which is close to Yamanashi prefecture. The width of the river is rather narrow here, so get off the boat and continue on foot. After walking for about two hours, you will finally arrive at Yamanashi prefecture. Continue walking for another hour and you will reach Nanbu-cho in Yamanashi prefecture. This area is famous for its fire festival, which takes place in summer. If you want to see the festival, you can stay overnight in a hotel in the next town, Minobu-cho. A well known place in Minobu is Kuonji, the head temple of Nichiren. There are also many souvenir shops in the area, making it a popular tourist site.

Stay at a tea house hotel called Shounin Chaya Tamaya Ryokan. This traditional hotel was established at the end of the Edo period. Its rooms are big and air-conditioned. There is no hot spring in this hotel but the bath uses water from a side stream of Fujikawa River, called Minobugawa. Dinner comprises dishes made from local ingredients, such as a delicacy of Minobu-cho, bean curd skin. After dinner, head out to see the Tamaya fireworks and fire festival held along the Fujikawa River. The Nanbu Fire Festival, which has a history of 700 years, attracts about 40,000 visitors every year. The participants are actually children who would throw a rope with a burning torch towards a big torch in the middle. A total of 108 torches surround the big torch, which is 8 metres high with many stupas. It is believed that a child who successfully fires a torch will have good health for the year.

On the second day of your trip along Fujikawa River, resume your boat ride towards the source. After travelling a total of 45 to 50 kilometres from the mouth of the river, the water gets shallower and the current stronger. Head back to shore if the rapid stream makes rowing difficult.

THIS WEEK'S TIPS:

  • There are several tourist spots near the Fujikawa River where you can make short stopovers

  • It is not advisable to travel by boat on certain sections of Fujikawa River which are too shallow and narrow

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