Looking out our window early the next morning I was delighted to see that Mt Fuji was visible. Dan and I went up the exterior fire escape stairs to get a photo. After just a few minutes, clouds rose up and cloaked the mountain. We were very lucky.
Lake Kawaguchi is located in the center of the Fuji Five Lakes chain. After breakfast, we walked from our hotel through Fujiyoshida town, along a trail to the base of Mt. Fuji, and eventually along Lake Kawaguchi. It was rice planting season and the very neat homes in the town of Fujiyoshida had a plot of land on which rice had just been planted.
We visited the 17th century Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine set picturesquely in a woods of tall cedars. The trailhead to ascend Mt. Fuji from the north is located directly behind the shrine. Climbing season is July and August, and pilgrims walking to the top of Mt. Fuji stop for a prayer at the temple prior to beginning their journey. We continued our walk a bit farther along the Fuji Yoshida Hiking Trail through a 17th century red pine forest.
We missed cherry-blossom season, but azaleas and rhododendrons were at peak bloom.
This shrine like the many we later visited displayed colorful barrels of sake donated to the temple.
After hiking on the northern slope of Mt. Fuji, we bussed to Lake Kawaguchi and continued our walk with a stroll along the lake. Once again, we caught a brief glimpse of Mt. Fuji barely visible through the clouds.