Asia 2005 Journey Day Five
                                   Tokyo, Japan 
                                            May 08, 2005:  Mt. Fuji Day.  After an early start, we traveled via motor coach to the Mt. Fuji National Park area.
                                            The drive is less than two hours; however, most of the drive is leaving the Tokyo metropolitan area and uses
                                            the Chuo Expressway in the surrounding mountains.  The Expressways tend to be be very narrow and 
                                            remarkably most vehicles are without any body damage.  Most motor coaches are well maintained down to
                                            the Armor All on the tires.
                                            The skies cleared and our drive up to the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji provided kilometer after kilometer of endless
                                            views.  5th Station is the highest point vehicles can travel.  From that point, pathways lead to the summit.  Total
                                            hiking time is estimated to be 6 hours ascending and 3 hours descending.  The pathway is well marked and 
                                            has several huts for resting.  The 5th Station area is far from being a location of tranquility due to the endless
                                            souvenir shops and vending machines.  All are well maintained; however, the chrome accented buildings
                                            tend to look very much out of place.  Even the metropolitan Tokyo look reaches to Mt. Fuji.
                                            After a return to the base of the mountain, a lunch was arranged at the Hotel Highland Resort.  The resort is 
                                            located next to an amusement park.  So, from the Lobby, one can watch the "hands up" of riders descending
                                            a roller coaster and on the other side, see the magnificent Mt. Fuji.  A couple of sizable and unique characters 
                                            with moving eyes identify the entrance to the amusement area.  Most of the development dates to the 1970s.
                                            The afternoon was spent in the Hakone area south of Mt. Fuji.  Included in the sights was a cruise on Lake Ashi
                                            arriving at an endless array of resort areas.  A thick cloud bank arrived and create an eerie effect.  One company
                                            uses pirate type cruise ships.  It appeared as a colorful "Pirates of the Caribbean".  The cableway was a quick 
                                            "up and down" due to the cloud bank.  However, the descending scenes showed the contrast of bright Spring
                                            greens contrasting with the dark green conifers.  The well manicured trees and landscape depicts an Eyvind
                                            Earle painting.  In the mountain areas, the cherry trees were still in bloom.
                                            The return to Toyko was only 40 minutes due to the Shinkansen bullet train.






                                           Travel specs:  Sunshine Tours Hato Bus, Lake Ashi Cruise, Mt. Komagatake Aerial Cableway, Shinkansen Train
                                            Return to Asia 2005