When we get up around am 6.45, after a very wet night, it is overcast but dry and much brighter over Mt. Tateyama. After our usual breakfast, we walk 5 minutes to Tateyama station and buy round trip cable car and bus tickets. We wait, only about 10 minutes, and board the cable car at 8. 30am. As some bus groups have already arrived, it is fairly busy.
The cable car ride takes only 7 minutes and, after another short wait, we are riding a bus to Murodo. By now, the sun has strengthened and the morning is clear and bright. Mt. Tateyama stands out, starkly, against a blue, blue sky in snow capped majesty.
On arrival at Murodo and, clear of the bus station, the crowd thins out in various directions. There are people about, on the paths we choose to follow, but no sensation of crowds.
Our route passes the jigoku, or Hell, an area where low level volcanic activity means steam and sulphurous fumes are leaking through the surface of the ground. The closest section of path is closed. Excessive gas is being expelled and the fumes are rendering the area dangerous. We walk around the lake, Mikurigaike, which takes about 40 mins. and climb to various viewing points and are quite satisfied.
The views are wonderful for, although there are only remnants of snow underfoot in places, the peaks have a good covering and their flanks are dusted. All very beautiful in the bright sunshine.
We attempt to climb to one of the more attainable peaks but it is too much for us and we, probably sensibly, give up before getting very far. Descending to more everyday tourist levels we have lunch, the inevitable onigiri, and then take the bus down to Midagahara.
＊cable car (Tateyama st. – Bijodaira), bus (Bijyodaira – Murodo) ; 7380 yen / adult for return
Here we follow the wooden walkways through the upland marsh. As you must book your return bus, you are locked into a limited period. So, choosing which route through the marsh you can complete in time is important. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your attitude, the times stated for completing the variety of routes are overly generous. We found ourselves having completed our route well before our bus was due to arrive. Consequently, we found ourselves killing time while there were other places we would have liked to walk.
The wetlands are beautiful in their way and the surrounding views wonderful. From time to time, we could see the clouds sweeping in and it would seem we were soon to be enveloped. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen, the cloud just drifting by us in wisps until it dissipated. The glimpses of the peaks we had just left, showed them still bathed in sunshine but at this slightly lower altitude the weather was beginning to break.
At about 2.30 our bus arrives and we descend to the cable car station. On the way I was pleased to catch sight of a Nutcracker, (a white speckled Crow) perched on an outcrop of rock. I had never seen one before.
Far more people are on the cable car going down than were on the one coming up. Back at the station we pick up the car and drive to a supermarket for supplies. Here as always, the tablet search function is invaluable locating a local supermarket. We never would have found one otherwise.
Green Park Yoshimine Onsen
After a trip to Green Park Yoshimine where we have an overdue bath, we head back to Tateyama Station car park. Green Park Yoshimine onsen, though signposted, is a little hard to find but worth the perseverance. It is spacious and most of the washing stations are individual cubicles, so you are not so aware of your neighbours. The rotenburo (outside bath) is large and surrounded by huge boulders – very nice – but without a view. I liked the place a lot but D., though happy, was not ecstatic. The water quality was not up to her standards. Clean, we drive back to Tateyama Station for a second night in the car park. On this drive I am familiar with where I am going and it is not raining so an easy end to the day.
＊Green Park Yoshimine onsen ; 620 yen / adult
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.