15 July 2016

Postcards from Yamanashi: Fuji Shibazakura Festival & Narusawa Ice Cave!

Second time visiting Yamanashi Prefecture, and had a really good time just like the first one (click here). Yamanashi is just so fascinating. It never ceases to amaze me with its clean-air and clear-sky's beauty. Visiting Yamanashi surely makes me rethink about how great it feels to breathe fresh air, direct from the nose, without any breathing apparatus. Life's good, thank God.

Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Went here on May 7th, it was the peak of Shibazakura or Moss Phlox season. Well, the shibazakura season itself was the very reason why we (Lina, Thwe and I) traveled to Yamanashi! Since it was still in the mood of golden week, you couldn't expect anything else than a great great crowd. But still, it was an extremely enjoyable day! <3 Anyway, the entrance fee to the park was 600 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.

Don't know why I look like I'm so sleepy here xD

It's always a pleasing scene seeing everyone's enjoying a day out! Woohoo! :D

I guess I have a lucid dream of living in a house with Moss Phlox as the floor and Wisteria as the ceiling. Ah! What a perfect combination of eye candies.

It was pretty cloudy when we arrived (around 10-ish), but the weather started getting clearer at noon. And yep! We could see the beautiful Mount Fuji after being quite pessimistic that we wouldn't be able to see it. We were so luckyyy ;)

Lina's looking so cute xD


Being sooo happy since it was the first time seeing Mt. Fuji after a month living in Tokyo. I never got the chance to see Mt. Fuji on a daily basis here. Just so you know, Mt. Fuji used to be my everyday view when I live in Fujisawa-shi three years ago. Hence it felt extremely weird when I have got back to Japan (Tokyo) but wasn't able to see it. Feels like something's not complete?

Guess I'm obsessed with the lilac ones!

 After wandering the park for around 1,5 hours? (I'm not sure tho..) we decided to grab something for lunch!

You can choose various menus for lunch here at the festival venue. As you can see, there are food trucks and food stalls that sell many different kinds of food with reasonable prices. Like beef skewer, hot dog, roast chestnut, adzuki beans bun, etc. Pictures above are only a few of them. I was too busy to decide on what to eat, so I didn't take decent pictures of how the overall food stalls looked like. So sorry!

By the way, here's what we had for lunch:

My messy fish and chip, lolol (600 yen). The sauce and mayo are self-service. You can clearly see how hunger has ruined my sense of aesthetic. Pouring the sauce and mayo way too emotional xD

Matsuzaka beef skewer (1,200 yen). This one's quite pricey, lol. Me and Lina bought this one and shared for two.

Lina's Shibazakura Ramen (700 yen). I just don't get it why they name it that way. It doesn't even look like a field of shibazakura tho. Hmm...

As for Thwe, she was having a pork bun. The size was quite big! But Thwe finished eating so quickly without even giving me a chance to snap it properly. xD

Done with our lunch, we headed to the Mount Fuji observatory deck. From here, we could enjoy a wider view of the festival venue from above! So beautiful! 

This one is breathtaking! Major love!!

Perfect pair!

And here's the other flowers that we enjoyed, besides shibazakura ;)

Oh, and we can also buy the shibazakura in a pot for only 200 yen each! :D But I didn't buy one since I had no idea where I should plant it. 

So, that's all of what we did at the shibazakura festival back then! The park was huge, so we walked a lot! (and took photos a lot as well haha). Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring an adequate amount of drink. Well, you can buy one in the venue. But considering the distance from the entrance gate to the food stalls area was quite far, I guess it's wise enough to bring/buy one before entering the park!

As for the best time to enjoy this view, it usually starts from late April to mid May. However, for this year, the first week of May was the best time! The peak season might change from year to year, but you guys can ascertain about this thing through the Fuji Shibazakura Festival official homepage here. You can check the condition of the flower from the live cam in the website too, so you can decide the best date to visit! I guess you can start checking it around early April. 

Narusawa Ice Cave

Done with the shibazakura viewing, we decided to drop by to another attraction nearby, that is the Narusawa Ice Cave! The cave was formed by the lava flows of Mt. Fuji's past eruptions. Now, it has been developed for tourism and tourists can explore it without any special equipment or guides.

 It takes around 30 minutes by local bus from the shibazakura festival venue to reach here. The entrance fee to the cave is 300 yen!

Is it really zero degree inside the cave? Let's prove it!

As soon as we arrived in this area, we could feel the chill in the air from the cave's mouth.
It was indeed chilly, but pleasantly refreshing at the same time!

Let's go deeper inside the cave!
- Be careful of your head, since some areas got low ceilings.
- You will be walking on the ice, so some areas might be slippery.
- Don't bring the ice outside the cave.

The ceiling's getting lower and lower, hence the only thing we can do to continue the journey is by crawling! So fun and thrilling since the floor is quite muddy and slippery!

Here's how the "basement" or the ice chamber of the cave looks like. It is said that the cave has been used for storing ice since early 1900s! Fyi, the Narusawa Ice Cave has been designated as  one of Japan's National Natural Monuments.

The lit-up natural icicle stalactites and stalagmites are looking magical.


1.) Well, it was cold inside but not extraordinarily chilly. So I kind of doubting whether that zero degree Celcius shown at the entrance gate is accurate. But still, you need to wear warm clothing coordinates. Oh, and remember that I came here on May so it has started getting warm to some extent. Things will be surely 180 degrees different if you visit the cave during winter, right? ;)

2.) The cave isn't that long, as it's only approx. 153 meters in circular walking motion. But, some areas got (very) slippery passages, low ceilings and steep stairs at the beginning and the end of the course. So be careful and don't rush! 

3.) If you don't frequently stop and struggling to take pictures (in low light, it was surely a pain in the ass, at least for me, lol), you can finish the course in just 10 minutes or even less! Of course it depends on the crowd at the time you enter the cave. Felt not yet satisfied with the first round, Lina and I decided to explore for the second time! haha. We did make the 300 yen entrance fee count xD Yeah, because the first one was literally felt like a blink of an eye while I actually expected for a longer course!

4.) Is it worth visiting? Well, if only for a side itinerary, then I may say yes! Anyway, if you're a cave enthusiast, there are also "Wind Cave" and "Bat Cave" that you might want to check them out! These caves are located adjacent to each other.

Mount Fuji Err Thang Souvenirs :p

Got out of the cave and back to the upper layer of the earth, we stopped by a souvenir shop. It basically sells all sorts of Mount Fuji related stuffs, just like what I snapped below.

Mt. Fuji cookie

I guess these ones are also cookies

You know what this one is? It's Mt. Fuji soap, ladies and gentlemen.

I guess the 19 year-old me would scream and buy these socks right away. I was a big fan of Hello Kitty and Sanrio's other characters back then. Well, I still like them, but the degree has dramatically decreased now, lol.

Rilakkuma x Mt. Fuji key chain.

Hahaha I couldn't stop laughing when I first saw these. Gosh, come on, give us foreigners a break... The producer has taken all of this Mt. Fuji thingies to a whole next level. Washing dishes would feel much meaningful now with these Fujisan sponges, wouldn't it! xD They're cute tho! It's just that they're existence is beyond my imagination capacity. 

And this one indeed caught my attention as well xD (it's outside the ticket counter tho..)

So, which one will you bring home if you're visiting this souvenir shop in Narusawa Ice Cave? xD They're all cute, and tasty (for the cookies) and useful (for the sponge!). 

Whoop, we have reached the end of this blog post! That's all about my last trip to Yamanashi prefecture last May. It was surely a fun day filled with natural beauties and memorable adventures. Psssst... I'm going to Yamanashi again tomorrow for another flower viewing trip! Can't wait to share the story with you guys! <3

Have a great day, and see you on the next post! 



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