Posts Tagged ‘yamanashi’

The Fujiyama Garden Hotel: Image Tour

Here are some photos taken at the very location of the former Yamanaka Lake Hotel and comments by our official Haikyo & Urban Explorer, Wye-Khe Kwok, who visited the area last weekend.

It was a strange sense of disappointment and awe that crept over me as I walked up the freshly-laid concrete driveway of what is now a former Haikyo site. As efficient as the Japanese machine is when it comes to cleanups (evident in their handling of train jumpers), the whole concrete shell had been wiped clean and renovated up into a pretty slick and grand resort hotel in less than a year.

It so happened to be the opening ceremony when I walked in through the glass archway entrance with cap and backpack, sticking out amongst the suits and Kimonos like a rusty nail in a pile of shiny tacks.

The bar was open, blue note jazz wafting about with the odor of new carpet and glue, and the gift shop displayed the usual generic assortment of overpriced but useless souvenirs and Hello Kitty trinkets.
So it is with great regret, that we commit what was once a great concrete skeleton Haikyo to the category of just-another-boring-hotel-by-the-lake hotel.

(Click on the thumbnails to enlarge image.)

As you could see, it’s no longer abandoned and they have high hopes to make it a one-stop-sightseeing for anyone wishing to visit glorious Mt. Fuji.

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author


First Expedition: Alternative Choices (aka Back Up Plan)

To all participants,

It seems like the Almighty is againt us and it is very likely it will rain this weekend.

In order to make your experience worth the cost, we would like to hear your opnion about what you would prefer to do in the event of rain on June 5.

Our friend YK has come up with a few choices. You will be able to see these choices and vote by accessing the link below.

Click here to cast your vote.

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

First Expedition: Exploring Aokigahara

Hello and welcome to our first Official Expedition in the land of samurais.

In our very first expedition, we will be exploring the forest of Aokigahara in Yamanashi, Japan.

For those who are not that familiar with the forest, Aokigahara (aka Jukai or Sea of Trees in English) is a 35km forest that lies at the base of Mt. Fuji and contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. The forest is also a well-known place for suicides in Japan and supposedly the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

According to the suicide report released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department last week, 10% of all suicide cases in 2009 occurred in that forest.

This trip is NOT for the faint of heart! Please bear in mind that some visitors have reportedly seen dead bodies, haunting and even heard unexplainable noises in a forest that is also known for its eerily silence due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and absence of wildlife.

These are a few related sites that I found for your reference:
• CNN Report –
• Weird Asian News – (contains some graphic images, viewer discretion is advised)
• Haunted American Tours – (contains some graphic images, viewer discretion is advised)

When are we going?
Saturday, June 5th 2010. Based on the weather forecast for that weekend (at least for now), the sun will be shining high in the sky on the 5th (fingers crossed!).

What are we doing?
Our trip will not be only about hiking, we will also visit at least one of the caverns (TBD) and do some dining in the Lake Motosu area.

Who will be joining us?
We will rent a car with capacity for 9 passengers. So, the first 9 individuals who reply ‘Yes’ will be joining us on this trip. For now we have 4 confirmed participants and if I get a lot of responses then I will try to squeeze in one more person, totaling 10 participants.

How are we getting there?
This is our plan…

06.00AM Pick up the car
06.30AM Meet with everyone else at Shinjuku Sta. West Exit
09.00AM Arriving at Aokigahara
02.00PM Leaving Aokigahara
     | free time to visit other spots and eat
07.00PM Return to Tokyo
09.00PM Return the Car

How much will it cost?

Car Rent ¥20,000 (1-day hire)
Gas ¥10,000*1
Toll ¥ 6,400*1 (round trip)
Total ¥36,400*1
Total p/ Person
(with 8 participants)
¥ 4,550*1
Total p/ Person
(with 9 participants)
¥ 4,044*1
+ Personal Expenses ¥ 3,044

What to wear?
First and foremost, we must protect ourselves. So, wear long pants (jeans should be fine) tucked into your socks and hiking shoes that come well above your ankles.
Please mind that even if the weather is fine, inside the forest will be swampy.

So, would any of you guys be willing to sneak out for an ultimate adventure in the dark forest of Aokigahara on June 5?

We are taking all precautions to make this trip a safe one to all of us. And if you wish to join us, please reply by May 26.

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Alex Kawano.
Official HE Blog Author

*1 Estimated costs. The final cost might differ slightly.