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  • Shona McCarthy

Mount Fuji From The Shinkansen

Seeing Mount Fuji when you're in Japan might be easier than you think.

One of the things I did on my last trip in Japan was I got onto a Shinkansen or Bullet Train between Kyoto and Tokyo, also known as the Tokaido Line. I had learned by reading around online that if I sat on the left side of the train and kept an eye out, I could see Mount Fuji. So, I did this, and boy was it worth it. Let me tell you the details so you can do it, too one day. Covid-19 can't last forever. But please note, this only works during the day. At night, you can't see much of anything out the windows, and the train gets too busy with commuters for you to be able to find the right seat with reliability.

When you buy a shinkansen ticket, you can buy it in many places. Many JR Main train stations will sell them. You can buy them online. I think it was once possible to do it via Klook but it doesn't seem to be the case now. It's important to note that even once you buy the ticket, you may have to go to a special ticket office to select your seat. However, once you have the ticket, you are able to choose one of multiple services that travel between Kyoto and Tokyo. The Tokaido Line follows an old tourist and trade rout. So, any of the stations along it can be interesting to visit. I didn't get out at any of them on my journey. But I did deliberately choose the slowest shinkansen on the line, the Kodama, so that I could make the most of the journey. This meant that the service stopped at every stop along the way, allowing me more time to look out the window and take photographs. If you want a faster trip, you could take the Hikari or Nozomi services. They cost more but they are worth it if you really want to save time. I cared more about relaxing, so I went Kodama. I wanted to try Shinkansen food, so I bought a little meal box at a shop on the platform before I got on the train. If you'd like to get out and take a closer look, you could at Shin-Fuji station. I'm currently unaware of what this costs, and I imagine Covid-19 will change the prices.

I had seen Fujiyama on many posters and in many paintings and never really understood why people made such a big deal about it. But, seeing it in person, I finally understood. It wasn't just the size of the thing, though it was immense. As I mention in my Instagram post, there is something about the colours and textures. The way it looms on the horizon. One of the mugs I will release in my store will tell the story of a man who travels into a cave on Mount Fuji and meets the spirit of Mount Fuji itself. Having seen it, I can understand why people would feel there is something mythical and spiritual about it. Even now, thinking of how I felt when I saw it with my own eyes, a shiver runs down my back. I may return one day, though I'm a little afraid to, since I fear that seeing it again won't feel as awesome and reverent as my first sighting felt. I had expected it to simply whip by as the train passed. Instead, the train seemed to curve around it, showing the most famous side, and the other, less attractive side. I think maybe I want that moment of my life to remain as a precious, singular memory; irreplaceable. However, I may settle for visiting Mount Fuji virtually.

(Image borrowed from Pexels.) Below is what claims to be a live feed of Mount Fuji, but most of the time it seems to be covered by cloud or darkness. But still cool if you want to see a live feed of something in Japan.



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