Eventually, our guide began to explain that Shizuoka is near the best sites to see Mt. Fuji, and at that name, I did more than merely "perk-up". This was exciting! But my hopes began to wane as our guide warned us that Mt. Fuji is a very shy mountain which rarely shows itself. Indeed, she told us, March to October are the worst times to see the mountain. During those months it hides behind the clouds almost all the time. A sighting, the guide went on, is very unlikely.
Well, I thought, at least we will be in the right area and will know that we are in the presence of this almost mythical mountain even if we can't see it. Of course, I was also hoping, hoping, hoping to see this fabled mountain.
You may have to look hard, but up, almost floating in the sky, here's what we saw:
Mt. Fuji, Japans largest mountain at 12,833 feet tall, is visible over the town at the edge of Suruga Bay. Below is a closer look at the town.
Just in case you thought crows are seen only in the U.S., here's the Japanese crow looking pretty regal if you ask me. It has a much heavier bill, and I think is an even bigger bird.
Lest you lose sight of the excitement of the day, this was the view from the room where we had lunch. Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms, what more could one ask for? We may not have had the full view of the mountain but to have seen anything at all was special enough!
The look out-area on Nihondaira Hill, not to be outdone by a mere mountain, had lovely plantings of spring flowers.
Okay, another photo of the mountain! I have to keep pinching myself, even now, that we really saw it, but I also have to keep reminding myself that this venerable mountain is also a volcano. It hasn't erupted since 1707 (most likely as the result of an earthquake to which Japan is prone), but seismologists think it is under great pressure. In their view, Mt. Fuji could easily become active.
Just as a bit of change of pace; here is a cargo ship and a fishing vessel on Suruga Bay. We walked the Miho Beach which is pebble strewn and from which one can get wonderful views.
It really did have beautiful stones, and I was quite in love with the many different shades of green stones that I saw. I would have liked to have taken some home, but not only would they add too much weight, they are also part of a World Heritage Site, so it wouldn't be right to take anything away.
The fishing vessel obligingly came closer to shore so I could get a photo for painting reference purposes!
The last vista of beach and Mt. Fuji
But there comes a time when we have to go.