There is one question I get asked even more often than “How come you live and work in Japan?” (which by the way I answered →here←) and that’s “What do you recommend to see / do in Tokyo?”. There are endless websites with bucket lists, must-go spots etc. so I don’t think I can tell you more than you can find on your own, even if your Google searching skills are limited. However, if you searched “What to do while I’m in Tokyo” and Google decided to show you my blog, here’s my recommendation:
OSHINO HAKKAI 忍野八海
(*which is actually not in Tokyo)
How to get there?
It’s super easy to get there and trust me, it’s totally worth the two hour bus ride. I know it might not be the most convenient form of transportation for those with terrible motion sickness (like myself), but the views from the bus window will make it up to you! They’re spectacular!
All you have to do is:
* go to Shinjuku
* find the Shinjuku Bus Terminal (map and more info)
* buy a ticket to Oshino Hakkai (here’s a timetable and some more info)
* get on the bus…
*… get off at Oshino Hakkai station and have a great day!
I visited this amazing place when the cherry blossom trees were still blooming… Lucky me!
Oshino Hakkai is a lovely little town located at the foot of the majestic Mount Fuji. It’s a place with picturesque views on literally every corner. It’s pretty quiet (even with countless groups of tourists) and simply perfect for those tired of Tokyo’s dynamic character.
What is Oshino Hakkai famous for? You can read about it → here ← but if you’re feeling particularly lazy, I’ll summarize it for you in a few words. The name says it all — Hakkai 八 海 (which literally means ‘eight seas’ but) could be translated here as ‘Eight ponds’ and this is exactly what’s special about this place. Eight ponds with crystal clear water coming straight from Mt. Fuji. The water has this amazing azure colour (just like the sea, hence 海 in the name I guess) and the koi fish just add even more beauty to it.
The place is full of cool things — just look at these traditional thatched houses! I had the opportunity to stay in the house you see below about 2 years ago, when my parents visited Japan. The houses are authentically old and spending a night in a place like that is definitely a great experience.
If you ever find yourself in this magical place, I highly recommend trying some delicious ice cream. And there’s so many flavours to choose from! I decided to munch on the ultimate Japanese flavour — matcha ice cream!
You can’t come to Yamanashi Prefecture and not try soba! I guess it’s the water that makes it so delicious — even the most basic type of soba, without any toppings, is to die for!
Surimi fish cake with scallop, mayo and lots of other ingredients (here’s some Wikipedia for those more interested in the topic)
Here’s an idea for those who want to get the most out of their day in Oshino Hakkai. Find a taxi station in Oshino Hakkai and hire a cab! It’s a bit costly I admit, but you get what you pay for — convenient transport, great service and a guide who will take you to the best viewpoints and tell you a bit about each of them!
CAUTION! I have terrible motion sickness, especially in cars — a private tour is a great thing, but if you can’t stand winding roads up hills, think twice before hiring a cab. I managed to complete the tour without a bigger accident, mainly thanks to the super nice and understanding Mr. Taxi Driver, who stopped every time I felt dizzy.
1 hour ride → ¥6500
2 hour ride → ¥13000
Here are some of the scenic spots Mr. Taxi Driver took us to…
What can you do right before hopping on the bus taking you back to Tokyo? Shop for souvenirs! There’s a wide selection of absolutely adorable accessories, cute Mt. Fuji, Hello Kitty in kimono, Mt. Fuji chocolate cookies, countless cat accessories, funky KitKats available only in Japan etc. Loooots of absolutely kawaii things you won’t be able to leave behind.
Have you ever been to Oshino Hakkai? No? Be sure to put it on your bucket list when you come to Japan!
Thank you for reading ♥