Solo | Backpacking | Japan

Paaji, this fan is used to keep the snow frozen on top of Fuji ;)
New technology to keep snow at top of Mt Fuji !

We are suffering in humid Delhi these days.
Coolers are useless now after 21 May's rain.

On a serious note, in june/july there is no snow on top of Fuji. People can hike to top in one day only. And temperature at that time is not too cold, so perhaps a fan would be needed in rooms. Apparently hostel staff doesnt bother to remove fan or heater from rooms throughout the year...
Seems Japanese then made some A/C for June / July.

How to trek in Japan on Fuji ?
One day, how many km on foot ?
You need good budget for that too ?

New technology to keep snow at top of Mt Fuji !

We are suffering in humid Delhi these days.
Coolers are useless now after 21 May's rain.

Seems Japanese then made some A/C for June / July.

How to trek in Japan on Fuji ?
One day, how many km on foot ?
You need good budget for that too ?
Mt Fuji hike is technically easy. You do not need a porter to complete the hike. Trail has 10 stations ( Monitoring stations I think). 1st being the base and 10th being the summit. There is a paved road till 5th station and buses ply to 5th station.
Best way to climb is to reach mountain hut around the 7th or 8th station on the first day and spend some hours sleeping in huts, before continuing to the summit early on the second day. You can come down immediately after seeing the sunrise.
Few people have done the entire trip (up and down) in one day with early start.
There is a fees of 1000Y for the hike, so not expensive at all. There is a very limited hiking season though. Early July to mid September. rest of year it is very dangerous to climb due to inclement weather.

Dance of Milky Way over Mt Fuj
Day 8 – Mt Fuji

Looking out for elusive Milky way

I am a great fan of SkyView cafe. This web based app is a wonderful tool for planning a milkyway shoot. Expected rise time of Milky way today was around 3AM. Since my hostel was located right on banks of Lake Kawaguchiko I just had to cross the road to reach my planned shooting point. I got up around 3AM and looked outside. Not bad, I could see a few bright stars. Thankfully coffee maker was left on near cafeteria and I made myself a mug full of black coffee. My hostel had a curfew till 5AM but I had already informed reception guys about my intention to shoot Milkyway pretty early. In no time I was testing Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 clicking star shots.

It was freaking cold. Recorded temperature was around 3 degrees. Though I had two layers of clothing and a warm mug of coffee I was still shivering. I had doubled up my bandana to save my ear and head. Thankfully air was still otherwise chill factor would have increased multiple folds. Moving around the tripod lens are also painful as they are very cold. That day i realized how important are two insulation covers on tripod lens

Wow! that’s freaking 3 degrees (Left one is local time, right one is Alt and Temp)

I had planned to make a timelapse of MilkyWay moving across the Fuji san. Though I only had a two hours window before sunrise. Sky was not extremely clear and I could see some clouds coming in from west covering some part of Mt Fuji. As it turned out in less than an hour clouds made clicking stars very difficult and galactic core was barely visible. Sunrise time in Japan was close to 5AM that day so I had a narrow window for shooting. I had a very limited number of shots which showed milkyway core. Below is one of the shot from my timelapse i managed to take before clouds took over.

Dance of MilkyWay over Mt Fuji

Sky wasn’t too good for astro shoots but lake water was perfectly still and I could see reflection of Mt Fuji very clearly. It was amazing how the lake whose water was making quite some noise last evening changed to perfectly still now. Sunrise had already happened and I walked along the bank of Lake clicking reflections and some landscapes. By now I got a company of a Korean photographer. He missed the Milkyway and wanted to shoot sunrise. But Sun was not to be seen anywhere. Cloud cover made the sky look all grey. After shooting sunrise, I decided to return to my hostel. Hostel had breakfast included in my stay price so I had an option to ofset some of the stay cost. I had a heavy dose of Bread, butter and jam and snoozed off again for couple of hours. Here are some of the shots from morning I managed to click.

Early morning reflections!

Nothing beats a warm mug of coffee in freaking cold! Inspired by our own Rajiv bhai ;)

Kayaks waiting for the day to break!

Got a company already

Walking on the Nature trail along Lake Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko has a nature trail running along the entire periphery of the lake. Entire trail is over 16km long but I will only walk 6km today. I met a few localities who were doing a full trail as well. That would have been a wonderful experience too. But you need to have a luxury of time for doing the full trail. I have to move to Tokyo today so can’t really take the plunge. Also my trail is accessible by public transport so I can hop on a bus, but it was not needed. I started on my trail at 11 AM. Cherry trees along the lake were in full bloom. There were hundreds of white and pink cherry flowers on display. Due to cherry bloom season I could see many people having picnic around the trail.

I will be missing Shibazakura festival narrowly. The festival was beginning on 16th April. As I have mentioned before, we can not win all battles. Have to loose a few. I would have loved to visit the festival. Area where festival takes place looks like this when in full bloom. Isn’t it amazing?

For now I would have to get contented with some local moss flowers and sakura flowers. Some images from the trail.

What an amazing place to go camping!

Visitors enjoying Sakura

Visitors enjoying Sakura

Fuji San amid Sakura flowers

Visitors enjoying Sakura

A wonderful landscape to just sit and watch.

Yours Truly. Describes the entire trip. Solo, backpacking, & Photography. After loosing 4 kgs in one week!

Onsen Experience, not for Shy ones

Trip to Japan is not complete without a visit to Onsen. Hot springs are known as Onsen in Japan. As Japan has abundant volcanic sensitive regions, thousands of Onsen can be found everywhere in Japan. Hotels and resorts have build the area in community bathing pools. Most of the hotels charge a fees for entry to onsens. Not all hotels allow non staying guests to enter Onsens. Here is a list of Onsens in Kawaguchiko area. Of all the options I liked Onsen at Hotel Mufujian mainly due to view of Mt Fuji and fees was also okay. Hotel charged me a fees of 1200Y for entry to Onsen and this included bathing facility (Hot shower before/after, Soap, shampoo etc) and towels as well.

Now some facts about onsen. As a tradition, you are supposed to enter without any swimwear in an onsen. Onsen are separated by sex so no problems of ogling ladies Men being very decent never ever see any “paraya“(Not belong to onseself) naked soul On a serious note, nobody in onsen notice you entering or leaving. Onsen operator would provide you with two towels. One for using after bath and other is a face towel. So you can keep the towel on your face once you enter the hot water. I didn’t bother to use it though. There were two pools. One covered (AC) and other was in open air. I liked open air one more. Another hey point to note is , some hotels/resorts restrict people with tattoos to enter Onsens. Tattoos are associated with “Yakuza”, gangs in Japan.

I loved hot water bath experience. My hostel last night had no hot water so I was missing a bath already. I spent some extra time for people to leave so that I can click a photo of the actual Onsen. It was 4PM when i decided to leave onsen and head to Kawaguchiko station to catch bus to Delhi of Japan, Tokyo. Tokyo is less than 3 hours from Kawaguchiko and there are buses every hours till 6 PM. One way bus ticket set me back by 1800Y. But not before some rice balls, Onigiri and coffee.

Hotel Mufujian has an amazing Mt Fuji view onsen, on top floor

VIew of Mt Fuji from covered Onsen

My Lunch for the day. Onigiri from local convenience store.

Time to say good bye to Fuji and head to capital of Japan, Tokyo.



Active Member
Super shots! The 'Fuji San amid Sakura flowers' picture pretty much captures the essence of Japan (along with Kyoto, of course).

Super shots! The 'Fuji San amid Sakura flowers' picture pretty much captures the essence of Japan (along with Kyoto, of course).
Thnaks Shaq. very true Fuji San is so dominating in entire area that you cant avoid it at all. No doubt in all my pictures clicked in Fuji five lakes area contain Fuji. And Sakura is really pleasing.

Japan is indeed very beautiful and your captures are damn good man .[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<[-o<
Thanks Venket bhai... Glad you liked my clicks :)
Rice balls vs Rice Dumplings vs Onigiri
What is difference between these ?
Taste ?
Steam cooked ?
Fried ?
Something Mudi Type ?
Something Idli type ?
Something Chiwra / Poha type ?

Onigiri are balls of rice, usually wrapped with nori seaweed and containing a meat or vegetable filling. Much like sandwiches in the West, onigiri are readily available in convenience stores across Japan and are great for a quick and easy snack. Aesthetically pleasing and really tasty, they are a fun and filling alternative to sandwiches for lunch.

Classic Snack Gets New Lease on Life
January 21, 2003
Rice balls (onigiri) have long been a staple of Japanese picnics and lunch boxes. Made by wrapping dried seaweed around a triangular-shaped portion of rice, normally with a pickled plum, piece of grilled fish, or other filling inside, onigiri are simple and quick to prepare and perfect for taking on outings. There is evidence that soldiers of the Heian period (794-1192) used to carry them, so they have a long history. The triangular shape of most rice balls has not changed. But recently there have been major changes in consumption patterns. In the past, onigiri were usually made at home and eaten by family members, but now they are a top-selling product in convenience stores, and some cafes have even opened with onigiri as their signature dish.

Changes Began in the 1970s
The traditional image of the onigiri is of a bulging clump of rice, perhaps filled with grilled salmon or kelp, that has been lovingly shaped and wrapped in dried seaweed by a mother. It was the advent of the convenience store that altered this image decisively. Right from the start of the convenience-store era in the 1970s onigiri were one of the stores' key products, and they retain that status today.

The development of packaging that separates the rice from the dried seaweed, keeping the seaweed crisp, and that allows consumers to do the wrapping without the rice sticking to their hands, has helped to make store-bought onigiri popular. So has a wider range of fillings, some of which add an overseas touch to this venerable Japanese food. Chopped tuna and mayonnaise, for example, has been a hit ever since convenience stores began selling rice balls with this filling. At around ¥100 ($0.83 at ¥120 to the dollar) each, store-bought onigirihave become a staple of life.

The Quest for a Superior Rice Ball
The latest development in the rice-ball world has been the appearance of onigiri cafes. These specialty outlets are a product of the cafe boom that has been in full swing for several years and of the general revival of interest in Japanese style. Fashionable onigiri cafes have been appearing all over the place. In the Oji area of northern Tokyo, the fast-food chain First-Kitchen has opened an onigiri eatery called Onigiri Kitchen Om's, while in the central Tokyo district of Aoyama, Reins International, the firm that runs the yakiniku (Korean-style barbecued beef) chain Gyukaku, has launched an onigiri cafe called Ony.

The options for working women seeking a light meal had previously been limited to traditional fast-food restaurants or cafes offering little more variety than sandwiches and spaghetti.Onigiri cafes have struck a chord with young women and - unusually for fast-food stores - with middle-aged people, who are often reluctant to enter hamburger restaurants. The cafes offer a level of service not available in convenience stores. In some, for example, fresh rice balls are shaped by hand after the order is taken.

Rice-ball fillings are another area in which the quest for that something extra is gathering pace. In department-store basements, whose rich selection of foods make them havens for gastronomes, onigiri made with only the finest ingredients are selling well. These deluxe treats are made with top-quality rice transported direct from where it is grown. Even the water in which the rice is cooked is specially selected, and luxury fillings like bamboo shoots, aromatic matsutake mushrooms, and crab deliver a truly classy taste that differs markedly from that of machine-made onigiri. Convenience stores, too, are looking to tempt customers with higher quality. The 7-Eleven chain has launched a new line of gourmet onigiri that cost around ¥150 ($1.25), a little more than the chain's standard rice balls, and are handmade using select ingredients. Varieties include rice cooked with sea bream and charcoal-barbecued mushrooms.

Satisfying Health-Conscious Consumers
Another reason for the recent popularity of rice balls is that they now appeal not only to people seeking a tasty, convenient snack but also to the increasing number of consumers who are concerned about health. Many fast foods, including hamburgers, are cooked using oil, which inevitably makes them high in calories. The main ingredients in onigiri, on the other hand, are rice and seaweed. Even if they contain fillings like meat or mayonnaise, rice balls are modest in size and therefore unlikely to expand the waistline.

But what may be the most subtle attraction of rice balls is their handmade feel. The normal fare served up by fast-food chains looks and tastes the same no matter where you go. But when you have onigiri prepared just for you or add the seaweed wrapping yourself, you get the warmth of the personal touch.