Japan – Cruise Part 7 – Shimizu/Mt. Fuji

Our last stop was Shimizu/Mt. Fuji. When the mountain is covered by clouds, the locals say “she is being shy”. The header photo of this post was pretty much our only view of Mt. Fuji early in the morning when we arrived. 

The first stop on our tour was the Shiraito waterfalls about 60 minutes from the port. The area is well known for their green tea growing. Actually, the majority of green tea produced in Japan is grown in this area. Persimmons are also a big crop of Japan. 

Shiraito falls is really quite spectacular. The falls are in a semi-circle with the largest one at one end. It’s like a gorge that is accessible from the top in two different entrances.
One is mostly for the handicapped as it’s just a short walk to the edge where you can look out over the falls and on a cloudless day there’s a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. From there one has to walk down some fairly steep stairs through a bamboo grove to get to the falls. Either way there are a lot of stairs down to get the best view of them. If the light is just right one can catch a rainbow in the falls. 

There was the most delicious ice cream stand at the end of the visit that sold wasabi cream. Wasabi is grown locally and watered with Mt. Fuji water. Pay no mind to Joe’s face as it was totally delicious. Really tasty, so unique with just a hint of wasabi. 

Our next stop was at Hong Sengen Tashi Temple. This temple is very significant for the climbers of Mt. Fuji. the climbing season is short (July and August) and the trailhead is at the back of the temple after the climbers have cleansed themselves in the waters that are pictured here. On clear days Mt. Fuji is visible behind the shrine. 

There were a number of blessings in the temple. Families come to the shrine for a blessing when their children are 30 days old. There were also families celebrating the 3-5-7 age tradition. Boys at age 5 and girls at age 3 and 7. 

Our tour guide told me about the stand inside the grounds where you can have priests write messages on the prayer cards or draw a message in our stamp book. Obviously I had to leave it to them as far as what to write as I hadn’t prepared my google translate app to translate a message of my choice. Photos of our stamp is included below. 

Our last stop of the day was the World Heritage Site of Miho-no-Matsubara pine grove. There are centuries old pine trees on the beach that, on days when Mt. Fuji is not shy (which, unfortunately was not today), has incredible views. {I included a photo from one of those days below.} The pine trees had the same wooden supports as we saw in the park in Tokyo. Pollution has killed almost half of the ancient pine trees in the grove. Therefore the parking lot is a 20 minute walk to the pine grove on the beach via a wooden walkway. 

There was also a memorial to a French singer who performed the children’s story of the legend of Hagoromo. Sadly she died before she came to Japan to perform it. According to her wishes her husband brought her ashes to Japan to be buried here under this memorial the Japanese people constructed in her honor. 

Tonight was our last night eating at the specialty restaurant the Tuscan Grill. I started with crispy calamari, Joe with meatballs that he said were delicious. He had beef short rib and mushroom fresh pappardelle pasta that he loved also. But it was the desert course that was decadent…Pistachio stuffed beignets with a cherry glaze and ice cream, the ship gave me a Happy Birthday (belated) cake; Joe chose the creme brûlée and the waiter threw in the limoncello cheese cake because he heard him debating between the two. I think my expression in the photo says it all. We departed late in the evening and the city of Shimizu gave us a royal send off complete with drummers, dancers, and fireworks. 

Tomorrow we return to Yokohama for an overnight onboard prior to our disembarkation.