Japan & China, Day 5: The Day We Saw Mt. Fuji

Day 5 - Monday, 9/15/14

Well, this was probably the worst hotel out of the bunch, but the view couldn't be beat. Before even venturing downstairs for breakfast, we were admiring the view of Lake Kawaguchi from our hotel room.
After a breakfast of runny scrambled eggs and yogurt, we ventured outside to truly take in the view.

I LOVE mountains - I mean, who doesn't?, so this was a fantastic start to our day.  We boarded the bus to climb to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji.
It was an overcast day and a blanket of clouds soon enveloped Mt. Fuji. We could have got more pics before the clouds covered the mountain, but our guide wanted to take a group picture, and this ate into a lot of our time. It was very chilly here, but we were racing around a lot, taking pics and doing a bit of shopping in the short time we had here.
You could see the blanket of clouds beyond the parking lot.
There was also a Shinto Shrine here.
Then we began the long journey to Kyoto.
Nijo Castle was our first stop in Kyoto. We couldn't take pictures inside, but it was decorated with gold leaf and elaborate wood carvings. It featured "nightingale floors" in the corridors to protect the occupants from sneak attacks and assassins - the floors squeaked like birds as we walked through the entire building.  
We started walking through the Honmaru Garden, but we didn't realize how substantial the garden was. We were somewhere in the middle, and we realized we needed to be back to the bus very. very shortly. Luckily, there were three other tour group members in the middle of the garden with us, so we all stopped to study a map and hightailed it out of there. We ended up being about 10 minutes late getting back to the bus. :-P
Our last stop of the day was the Kiyomizu Temple (Clear Water Temple), which was in a very busy, touristy area of Kyoto. We walked down a narrow, congested street to reach the temple.
The route back to the bus was filled with shops, but everything closed at 6:00 PM, so places were closing up shop around us. Our bus was departing at 6:30, but our group was all back early since all the stores had closed on us. :(
We got checked in at the New Miyako Hotel, which would be our last hotel in Japan.
We headed across the street to the Kyoto Station, the second largest transportation hub in Japan that featured lots of shopping and little restaurants. We perused the plastic food displayed in restaurant windows to see if anything looked appetizing.
Nothing seemed particularly appealing to me, so we just ended stopping at McDonald's so I could try the Purple Sweet Potato Shake. I had seen a press release for this milkshake before leaving the States, and I was determined to try it if there was a conveniently located McDonald's. It was tasty!
We also ended up stopping at a little bread shop, and Francisco picked out four small bread products for his dinner. 


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