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Our tour guide was Yumi and she was friendly and took good care of the participants.
The driver was friendly and dropped us and picked us up on time.
The whole itinerary was well planned, such that we were able to experience many things in this trip.
At the start of the trip, we were picked up and brought to 5th station.
The trip to 5th station took longer than usual due to it being on a Saturday and coinciding with summer vacation.
I would recommend going on a weekday and avoiding summer vacation if possible.
5th station was beautiful, but crowded due to the above reasons.
Next, we were brought to lunch, where traditional hotpot was served. This was probably the most disappointing part of the trip.
Lunch was rather average, and bordering on awful. It was a miso soup base, filled with vegetables and noodles. Fried chicken was served separately. A bowl of rice and a tiny grape jelly was served together with them. Firstly, fried chicken was cold when we arrived and it tasted hard maybe stale?. Next, the miso soup was on the blander side and there was no meat in the hotpot, only vegetables and it was filled up at the bottom with noodles. Basically, carbs overload rice noodles!!!.
After lunch, we were brought to the ropeway. We were only provided 40mins at the ropeway including the queueing for the ropeway ride so there wasn't much time to explore the mountain. I would suggest that you avoid climbing to the top of the mountain if you were short on time. Stay at where the ropeway ride dropped you and explore the shop and little activities there. The climb to the top took 15mins one way and the sight was not as good as expected. To view the landscape, go to the second floor of the shop, this is better.
Next, we went to a patch of land to pick our peaches. We are only allowed 2 peach per person. The plot of land was tiny and 5-6 people had to crowded around a tree to pick their peaches. Not as ideal as I would have expected.
Then, they brought us to the fruit farm to enjoy our unlimited peaches. The peaches provided were those slightly bruised and riped ones. We had expected pretty peaches, so were slightly bumped that they were bruised. Anyway, they still tasted sweet and yummy.
Lastly, we were brought to the winery. The winery experience was slightly novel as this was the first time we tried Japan's wine. Unfortunately, I will recommend you not to have high hopes for their grape wine if you are a wine connoisseur. They make sweet wines better, and their dryer ones are rather strange in my opinion. Do give their peach wines a try though, as it is their specialty.
Overall, the amount of activities in this tour is rather worth the money. Do choose a good uncrowded day to go and pray that the skies are clear when you go.
Disappointing. The guide/s had no skill in dealing with the crowd of people who assemble at the hotel pickup. I did wonder if this was the first group to be taken out by the young female guide. The male English speaking guide offered about 10 sentences. It was snowing so the 50 minute stop at the 5th station became a 12 min stop at the 4th station I understand this is the risk that is run in going to Mt Fuji the 12 min stop then extended to sitting on the bus for a further 20 mins waiting for people who opted to go to the toilet as the bus was about to leave. The part of the tour which could have become a highlight was not explained and it was only by going up the cable car that the tour group realised they would get an excellent view of Mt Fuji. Now was the 15 - 25 wait at the cable car explained.Again, the tour guides did not offer useful information.
We had the most amazing weather. A few days prior, Mt. Fuji was covered with fog and we were lucky at the time we went. It was a public holiday and we had the most horrible traffic. Our guide, Mr. Shin, was fabulous and kept apologizing about the traffic conditions. He was very organized with the seating arrangements and the in-bus shopping. Also, he was very clear with the times that we should be back in the bus to resume the tour. It is quite difficult to manage a big group but Mr. Shin did a very good job.
We loved our mid-morning snack at the 5th Station, had amazing views of Fuji-San and the surrounding mountains. We went to Lake Shinagawa and were given passes to the Ropeway but the queue was too long. We decided to walk around the beautiful lake and sample the local fare. The cheesecake was delicious and so was the refreshing matcha and melon ice creams. The authentic Japanese lunch that was part of the tour was OK. We enjoyed the grape picking as well as the wine tasting. Overall, it was a wonderful tour. We were running late for our Robot Cabaret Show and Mr. Shin did his best to get us there on time as well as ring the restaurant to reschedule our booking. He did all he could do to help us and that meant a lot to us. Tour company and guide are highly recommended.
We rerouted to the fourth station due to bad weather conditions. It was a waste because there was nothing much to see and do there, except to visit the toilet. At Kawaguchiko, we went for Houtou at a reserved restaurant and went up Mt Tenjo on the Kachi Kachi Ropeway. The food was well-prepared and tasty and instructions for the railway was clear. This is the best part of the trip - with good view of Mt Fuji and the lake in the restaurant and also food at the top of Mt Tenjo. Good for taking photos and snacks. However, the duration spent there could be longer because the queue for the ropeway was rather long. At Misaka farm, the grapes were not as tasty and plenty when we were there. I think we were the last batch to visit the farm for grape picking so most of the fruits were already plucked, leaving the less tasty ones at the far end. Finally, we went to the Katsunuma winery for wine tasting. The wine was okay, but the experience was subpar. I would suggest to give this place a miss and make more time for Lake Kawaguchiko and 5th station.
Overall, the tour was average because it was quite rushed. That said, the bus was very comfortable and warm. The bus guides were also very friendly, helpful and understanding. The mandarin-speaking guide was okay, but the english-speaking guide was speaking very unclearly so I couldn't understand him most of the time. Still able to get through the tour with no problems though. Would recommend if you only want a glimpse of Mt Fuji. If possible, plan a two-days trip on your own to fully utilise your time at Mt Fuji so that you can enjoy and explore the place at your own pace.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Mt Fuji 5th station. The weather was great with clear skies and it was cold but not freezing. There wasn't much snow on Mt Fuji but it was mesmerizing to see the snow being blown off the mountain by the strong winds, which almost toppled me at one point. The hotpot lunch was delicious and the views of the Lake Kawaguchi while enjoying our meal was very nice. Since we were delayed in getting to Fuji due to a traffic accident, we had very little time to enjoy the ropeway and views atop Mt Tenjo. The grape picking in Misaka was very disappointing since the grapes were not good at all. It was the end of the season so the grapes were small, mushy and did not meet our expectations of delicious fresh fruit that Japan has to offer. I'm sure the tour company knew this so they should have replaced this portion of the tour with something else. Another huge disappointment was that the narration was almost entirely in Chinese, where the Chinese speaking tour guide spoke for several minutes and the English speaking tour guide spoke maybe 2 sentences at most. This same situation happened on a prior tour we took and we are beginning to feel that Viator tours cater primarily to the Chinese. If there is a problem with finding a tour guide that can speak adequate English to keep us well informed like the Chinese, then Viator must seriously consider playing a pre-recorded narration of what the Chinese speaking guide is saying, or seriously conducting separate tours for Chinese and English speaking guests.
This is one of the best tour we ever joined in viator. A lot of places to visit and the tour plan went well as per schedule. Our tour guide, Shin, is very attentive although at first we're having problem with seating arrangement which anyway was settled nicely. So many souvenirs, delicasies, fruits, and wine to take home. From Mt Fuji, lunch, fruit picking, and wine tasting were so great experience! Surely will take the same tour next year with my kids and grandchild.
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