Get a Spectacular View of Mt. Fuji from Mizuno Hotel

Situated merely 2 hours from Tokyo, a trip to Mt. Fuji can be completed within a day by leaving from Tokyo early in the morning and return in the evening. Yet somehow, my conscience told me otherwise, that I had to stay overnight in the area. If staying in a mountain view room and having onsen (hot spring) facing the mountain are my wildest dreams, I had to make it happen there no matter what.

I had to loosen up my budget too, leaving my comfort zone in that sense, by not staying in a budget hostel like what I normally do.  There’s always an extra cost for the sake of panoramic view, I got it.

Having stumbled upon several different websites, I finally booked Mizuno Hotel on Booking.com because it was the most affordable rate I could get for a mountain view room. Although the location is not exactly right in the lakeshore of Lake Kawaguchi, but on the hilltop behind other hotels before it, the lake view and Mt. Fuji are not blocked by those properties nearby. That’s what matters the most.

It was about $150 per night, non-smoking twin bed room with private bathroom. And I hope it’s worth it just like all the testimonials I read. The good news is Ollie agreed to give a shot.

mizuno hotel lobby
living room

Another good news is that the there’s a shuttle service that picks you up from Fuji Kawaguchiko station if you inform the hotel upon arrival. In our case, the chauffeur picked us up from Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi Station, situated 3 stops from Kawaguchiko Station. It helped us to save some money and energy, especially passing the inclined route to the hotel on foot could be exhausting.

HOMEY MANSION

A homey mansion was the feeling I got when I entered Mizuno Hotel lobby. I immediately drew my own conclusion that the main waiting room across the reception was a living room.

reading room mizuno hotel japan
reading / study room

Walking further, passing through a souvenir shop on the corner side of the lobby, we found a more secluded and bigger room with lots of old books, some magazines and an old typewriter on a coffee table. I assume that in real life, it was meant for a reading or a study room. Privacy was the limelight of the room, with the presence of curtain by the entrance that are not found in other parts of the room. Unlike the living room, the lighting was a bit brighter for reading comfort.

reading room mizuno hotel japan
reading / study room

A touch of classics in both rooms with sets of bulky leather sofas and a bunch of paintings decorating almost each side of the wall and pillar remind me of a family’s house who emphasize on displaying traces of their past life elegantly.

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the bar

F&B section was the next destination of our tour. The bar and lounge lighting were as dim as that of the living room, with a little spark of red and canary yellow illumination as seen inside the racks. The atmosphere was indeed very calming and cozy, the right kind of place where I could find my comfort zone either to be alone zipping my margarita or to meet my new love affair, or both. Although I finally didn’t do both and no hunk to hook up.

mizuno hotel restaurant japan

The dining room was a bit more “modest” than the rest of the rooms, especially the choice of lighter and more casual furniture design emphasizing on functional aspects to ease the staffs to keep it clean. Despite its simplicity, it was a comfortable place to dine in.

bar rack mizuno hotel japan

AVERAGE ROOM WITH SPECTACULAR MOUNTAIN VIEW

There’s no doubt that Mizuno Hotel totally gets the idea that a lobby crafts the first impression that lasts forever. But that good impression did not proceed well to our bedroom, that was much less classy and flashy than the lobby. Moreover, when the homey feeling was taken too deeply, it would create dullness like someone’s old room that needs a rejuvenation.

Not to mention that the shower hose was leaking when I washed my feet. The mechanic came to our room right away and did a little quick trick with it, as if it had happened many times before yet never been replaced.

The room had lack of plugs, therefore we could not charge our smartphones, a pocket wi-fi and a camera simultaneously unless we brought a travel adapter. Worstly, we didn’t realize that we charged the gadgets in one of the plugs that didn’t work at all and we only realized it the next day.

Overall, the room interior was simply forgettable that I forgot taking a picture of it. The one below, I got it from Agoda website.

mizuno hotel bedroom japan mt fuji
the bedroom. picture credit: agoda.com

Despite the drawbacks, they delivered the main selling point properly: a gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji by the window!

It took almost half an hour to get rid of the cloud in the evening, but we still didn’t get a clear view of the mountain. But at least, the mountain peak was visible enough.

mt. fuji at night, japan
Evening panoramic view of Mt Fuji from the hotel room

Only in the morning at 6 am did we get a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji in clear sky. We were overjoyed! It was a rewarding experience, especially the appearance of Mt. Fuji the day before was covered by cloud the whole afternoon.

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Mt. Fuji in clear sky

Besides, I noticed a unique hotel belonging in the corridor outside our room: a long wooden church chair. I wonder how it gets there.

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wooden church chair

MOUNTAIN VIEW HOT SPRING?

Unfortunately, the mountain view Jacuzzi (not hot spring) on the top floor costs $10 per person. Instead, we used the free onsenthe Japanese term of hot spring, on the second floor and it was a good experience too for first timers. Like many other hot spring places, standard amenities, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, combs and face lotion were provided.

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to the hot spring room

BUDGET-CONSCIOUS DINING

As budget -conscious travellers, we saved money on food to compensate the hotel rate. We had a dinner in Konami Restaurant, situated 5 minutes from the hotel. We shared egg benedict for breakfast at the hotel that cost us $18 per portion, so we only paid $9 each. I think the taste was quite okay, though not very special. Please note that you need to order the breakfast the day before at the reception.

egg benedict
egg benedict

IN A NUTSHELL

We had a pleasant stay in the hotel although there are some aspects that need improvements. The staffs were friendly and speak English pretty well. I realize that Mizuno Hotel is a three-star hotel, not a five-star one, after all. I can’t expect much of glamour inside the room, but the most important thing is that it has a perfect location for a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji.

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Two Stranded Girls, a Fine Gentleman and a Broken Public Phone

For the sake of getting a room with a panoramic view, Mt. Fuji, I purposely didn’t stay in a budget hostel like what I usually do. Fortunately, Mizuno Hotel has a relatively affordable rate to make my dream come true. I was happy that Ollie agreed to join the experience with me.

Plus, the hotel has a pick-up service for all guests at Kawaguchiko Station as the meeting point. Nonetheless, I just realized it after finishing the boat trip around Lake Kawaguchi and returning from the the 400-meter-observation deck with Kachi Kachi Ropeway. So, at that time, we were already stranded at Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi Station.

My bad. I didn’t read the booking itinerary carefully in advance.

lake kawaguchi japan

 

At 5 pm, nearly all stores and tourist spots were already closed. We hardly or did not see any buses and taxis on the road either. Google Map predicted that it took 18 minutes to reach the hotel on foot. But let’s round up to 20 or even 30 minutes. Not to mention if we got lost and how long we could get back into the right track.

Free shuttle service was such a waste unless we used it. So, Ollie decided to claim our right by contacting the hotel using a public phone nearby to pick us up since none of us had a Japan SIM card, despite the doubt that the receptionist could speak good English.

The response was an automatic voice message that ceaselessly said, “Mungo, mungo, mungo….”.

At least that’s how she thought how it sounded like. After third attempt to dial both hotel numbers appeared in the booking itinerary, the phone couldn’t stop saying mungo-mungo thing. Oh, forget it.

If phone a friend didn’t work, ask the audience would be the last option.

A very few people passing at the station, but the hope to find the right person to bring the solution still rose. I started a quick search for someone having a local (Japanese) look and being familiar with the area.

About 10 minutes later, I hurriedly ran into a man wearing a black blazer carrying a briefcase who walked fast. He seemed to be familiar with the surrounding in the way that he carried himself. I got a feeling that he was on the way back home from work. Additionally, he looked Japanese enough to me.

“Are you Japanese? Do you speak English?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m Japanese.” He replied.

Thank God. He had no idea how much it made me feel relieved.

ropeway lake kawaguchi japan mount fuji

“Could you tell me how to use a public phone?”

Suppose anybody tells you that, “There’s no stupid question, only a stupid answer”, think again.

He frowned instantly, puzzled. Still having a deep thought why I asked such a question, he answered, “You just need to take the phone and press the numbers.”

Deep down my heart, I really wanted to laugh. Of course I know how to use a public phone. I’m a city girl, but it’s not the case. I briefly told him that we tried to call the hotel with a public phone, but it didn’t work.

I lead him to the phone booth and perhaps, he would gave us some instructions on how to  use a public phone in Japan that might be different from other public phones. Instead, he asked me the number we were trying to connect and tried to dial it himself.

He subtly shook his head, expressing something went wrong with that public facility. He took his smartphone out of his pocket and pressed number for us. As soon as he did it, we saw a very familiar picture of the lake view and triangle-roofed dark brown building on his phone screen right away, with an inscription “Mizuno Hotel”.

“This one?” He showed me the image on his screen before pressing the green button with the white phone logo. I nodded.

I had no idea how come that picture appeared on his screen although (I think) he didn’t save the number. And I’m sure he didn’t open it on Google Chrome. Wow, magic!

 

Moshi moshi….” he started a conversation to the other party. I heard him mentioning “… pinku parka…”. I guess he was talking about my pink jacket.

Hanging up the call, he told us that he already gave our descriptions to the receptionist, such as what we were wearing and all that, so the driver could later recognize us.

We thank him for what he did for us. Without a single effort to engage us with a small talk, he nodded, waved his hands, and crossed the street right away.

We finally managed to burst out, laughing at our own stupidity. Feeling relieved, Ollie went back to her “shell”, the phone booth, because she was freezing. I begged her to leave her comfort zone for a while, worrying that the Mizuno chauffeur would not be able to identify us as described by the fine gentleman.

lake kawaguchi japan mt fuji

Seeing a big empty bus approaching us seconds later, I said to Ollie cheerfully, “Hey, that’s the one!”

“Duh, I don’t think so! Who do you think we are? That bus is way too big just for the two of us.”

She was right. The bus just needed some space for making a u-turn to change the lane.

It felt like forever to wait for the shuttle. I prayed that the chauffeur would not forget us.

After a while, a dark blue minibus approached and stopped in front of us. We saw an inscription “Mizuno Hotel” appeared on both sides of the car. A sliding door automatically opened for us.

That’s our ride!

We couldn’t thank the gentleman enough who was willing to give some of his little time to help the lost foreign girls. He was our hero of the day.