17 March – Day 1 [Lake Kawaguchiko]
Hotel: Asafuji , we booked this via Agoda or Expedia for $374.31 for 1 night, and this included dinner and breakfast which was – we concluded the best meal we had in Japan.
The day started with our arrival at 730am Tokyo Narita Airport.
We bought tickets at the JR office for the round trip Narita Express costing 4000yen
Took the 813 train and expect to arrive at Shinjuku at 9:55am
You can read here for more information or check for the train time tables here. There are NEX trains at every 30minute intervals.
The return ticket was an open ticket. All seats on the train are reserved – meaning you’re allocated specific seats.
The train was comfortable – and you can pack food to eat in it. We were in a huge hurry to get to Shinjuku to catch our highway express bus that sets off at 1030am to Kawaguchiko hence we didn’t have time to pack food. I wasssss by then – pretty hungry.
The cost was 7000Yen for 2 pax to and fro Kawaguchiko station. Hence it was about $45 per person for the 2hr journey to and fro per way, we only made the booking about 3 -4days before arrival and there were almost no tickets left!
If the routes and fully booked, you can try booking the same bus however with the pick up at Shibuya instead.
More info via https://www.highwaybus.com/gp/foreign/frgSelectLine?lang=en
Then we checked into our lovely Ryokan called Asafuji which overlooked the lake and mount fuji. The ryokan has about 13 rooms, its cozy and the service was immaculate, in-fact it felt really personalized, the staff speak english and are really accomodating too.
And the food – the food was superb.
More on that later , because upon a quick check at 2pm – off we went to the craft park and kawaguchiko music forest museum to make the full use of our day. I must add the Asafuji staff were very kind as they sent us to the craft park with their shuttle. Amazing service really, as we were going to take the bus there but because we didn’t have small change and our smallest note was 10000yen , they decided to take us there . I’m so touched.
The craft park opens till 5pm daily and not only can you try your hands out at the amazing craft with instructors to guide you, you can also do your shopping there.
We spent an enjoyable 2hrs at the musical forest museum which opens daily year round from 9am to 530pm, the Kawaguchiko Music Forest is a small theme park and museum that is devoted to automatic musical instruments. There’s even a store within it that sells some hefty priced musical boxes for collectors such as the one here which cost over $7362 SGD gasp.
It houses some really really eye-opening grand automatic instruments. Ie:
An organ hall built by Belgium Motiere Company around 1920 Belgium Mortie C.1920
The Organ Hall is an underground hall that was made around 1920 in Belgium, this dance organ has approximately 800 pipes and an assortment of percussion instruments. There are also 43 dolls holding fully functional instruments strewn around the hall. This dance organ alone is capable of making music equal to that of an orchestra with 30 – 40 people. These dance organs were originally placed in dance halls, hence the name dance organ.
Here’s a snippet of the organ hall magic
In the History Hall, there lies one of the valuable orchestrions in the hall called the philharmonic orchestrion -Titanic model. This orchestrion was supposed to be installed in the Titanic but was cancelled right before the installation and thus was saved from sinking to the bottom of the sea along with the ship itself. Alot of how orchestrions work, are explained during the session. Built by the Welte Company of Germany Welte Company in 1912. It was planned to be placed on the the first class passengers on that British luxury liner “Titanic”, however completion was not in time for departure, so it miraculously avoided that miserable accident . Using 263 pipes and large drums incorporated in the orchestra.
There’s actually lots to do there and you can even rent a princess costume for a photoshoot in the park, or have your wedding photos taken. You can also build your own music box…and watch sand art performance with live music
Address:3077-20 Kawaguchi, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0304, Japan
Entry fee per adult : 1500yen
A little steep but worth it considering how many artefacts they house and the cost of these instruments.
Tip: Entry fee drops to 500yen if you enter at 4pm, last entry at 5pm , as the park closes at 530pm
Closer to home, we have in singapore a music box museum by a mister Orui-san who’s a collector, here’s a detailed write up by another blogger about his visit to the Singapore Musical Box Museum. http://www.ckphoto.net/blog/2015/12/singapore-musical-box-museum
The onsen hot-spring baths tho have views of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, and the rooms in Asafuji Inn have Shoji paper screens and a low table with floor cushions. Each room includes a private toilet, and Japanese-style futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor provided.
The wonder onsen opens from 06:00-09:30 and from 15:00-23:30 daily, so for as long as you like, or as many times as you wished! LOL however i reckon 20-30min soak is good, if you don’t want prune skin that is.
The next morning we awoke to an amazing view of mount fuji and of course the best breakfast! We woke at 445am so we could walk to the lake and take photos of Fuji-san lol.
Breakfast is served! We took breakfast at 7am or so and then we went to the Onsen for a soak once again lololol , at 10am we bid goodbye to our wonderful hosts at Asafuji, which i gifted some stationery to as appreciation, and I was pleasantly surprised that in return they gave us postcards of Mount Fuji. With that , we left to Kawaguchiko station once again to take the highway express bus at 1130am back to Shinjuku.