Still amazed at the reality that we’ve just gotten engaged, we take our bewildered, smiling faces downstairs to inquire about bike rentals. There doesn’t seem to be anyone at the desk so we look around for someone. Wow, the bar is super cool. It’s like an olden time study with tons of books, massive comfy armchairs, a fireplace, a grand piano, and a bunch of hidden nooks to sit in privately. Very very classy library theme. We’ll definitely be checking this out later. Cozy and suave.
We find the front desk guy who originally checked us in. I’m loving this Japanese dude with his British accent, he speaks English very, very well. He hands us a couple of keys and we mark our names and room number in a little ledger. Good to go!
We go around the side and find the bikes where Accent Guy said they’d be. And we’re off down the steep slope from Mizuno and into the Fujikawaguchiko streets.
Wow is it a beautiful bike ride. The scenery is astounding. The weather perfect. It’s simply stunning, I can’t believe it.
Damn is this gorgeous. Ok, but we should find and get up this ropeway so we can have time to enjoy it up there before our reservations at High Spirits.
Here’s a timelapse of us biking around the cute town of Fujikawaguchiko and looking for the Kachi Kachi Ropeway. Success!
There’s a bit of a lineup but it shouldn’t be too bad. We pick up some tickets and wait on some steps.
Halfway up we notice a cartoon story is being told in panels on the wall leading up to the cable car. We catch up with the story around panel 5. A rabbit looks like he’s torturing some poor tanuki. (Tanuki are a type of Japanese raccoon dog. They are depicted as mischievous tricksters and boisterous drunks with massive testicles. I really really like tanukis and the search for the perfect Japanese tanuki statue continues). In panel 5, the rabbit lights a bundle of wood the tanuki is carrying on fire and it burns his back. Man, what a dick. In panel 6 the rabbit drops a beehive on the tanukis head. This asshole rabbit! Panel 7 sees him sinking the Tanuki’s raft in the raging currents of some river. Did this jackhole rabbit kill the Tanuki? This is some heavy stuff for a kid friendly cartoon at a touristy spot. Weird. Poor tanuki.
We get in the cable car leading up to the mountain and manage to score a perfect front row seat at the window. The view on the way up there is stellar. Another timelapse?
Yup, as expected the view up here is great. It’s not overly busy either, so we get right to the railing and snap a shot of Mt Fuji behind us.
Also at the top of Kachi-Kachi Ropeway are a number of superstitious shrines, a gift shop, and a cafe.
We hit the rabbit shrine first. Wait, is this the asshole rabbit from that kid’s story who was torturing that poor tanuki? He gets a shrine? Maybe we need some more info on this guy. We take a second to look it up. Here we go, Kachi-Kachi Yama.
Ahhhhhh, ok the first part of the story is kind of messed up. So a farmer catches a tanuki in his fields and ties him up. While the farmer is away the tanuki charms his wife into letting him go. She was making mochi at the time (Yes, they sell mochi at the cafe here, we’ll get some). The tanuki kills the wife and makes a stew out of her. Then he shapeshifts into the form of the wife and waits for the farmer to come home. When the farmer gets home the wife-disguised tanuki serves up a fresh bowl of dead wife stew. After the farmer eats it, the tanuki reverts back to his original form and leaves the farmer aghast with a belly full of dead wife. I guess we missed out on this part of the story on the way up. Kind of important.
This is where the rabbit comes in, who was friends with the farmer and his wife. He vows to avenge the dead wife and befriends the tanuki. Then comes all the torturing stuff and eventual sinking of the tanuki’s raft to kill him. That’s a pretty dark and twisted children’s story if you ask me. But hey, why not create a little park out of it and make some money.
Let’s go pet some stone bunnies
Might as well hit the gift shop while we’re here. Not sure where else you can get Mt. Fuji Hello Kitty socks, Kachi-Kachi-Katcher nail clippers, and throwing stars. We pick up a few fun items for stocking stuffers.
Looks like they have a special mochi at the cafe too: Dead Wife Mochi!! No just kidding, it’s some sweet sauce or something. We give it a try with some green teas. They’re good!
Whelp, not much else to do up here. Might as well get some more pics. The panorama is fantastic. Ok, one more Fuji pic.
By the stairs leading down on the other side there is another shrine. There’s a little pamphlet to tell you about it. It’s called Kawarake throwing. You drop a donation, get some ‘auspicious pottery’ discs and try to whiff em through the rope circle. If you make it you are guaranteed to have the best relationship on Planet Earth forever.
Alright, let’s do this. I rub the rabbit’s foot for good luck. So now it’s a two-fer. Relationship and good legs for walking. I really want this engagement thing to work out.
I step up and baseball pitch it as hard as I can. The pottery disc nails the wooden shrine thing and explodes into a million pieces. A Japanese couple start laughing as soon as it happens. Oh shit, I have an audience. Ok, I’d better make this good.
For my second attempt I choose a more delicate Frisbee toss approach. The wind catches the disc instantly and whips it into the dirt to the left of the ring, smashing it to pieces. Damnit! The couple also laughs at this. There’s another guy watching now too.
Ok ok, I pony up some yen on a couple more discs. I can’t have this Kawarake thing ruin my relationship after having just proposed. I have to make this throw!
I rub the other rabbit for good luck this time. Strong mind. Let’s go. I sidearm the first disc straight into the wood again. Shit! <Chuckles from the onlookers>. There are a few more watchers now. Ok, pressure’s on for this last throw. I step up and move my arm in the Frisbee toss motion. Yeah, I think this is the best technique. I wait for the wind to die down a bit. The onlookers hold their breath. I delicately toss the disc, it wobbles awkwardly in the air but soars through the ring. Success! Relationship saved. Mind strengthened!
Ok, Queenie’s turn! She gets two Karawake discs and rubs the Rabbit’s legs for good luck and strong walking. She’s ready.
“Huhhhn!”, she makes it first try, no problem. The Japanese couple claps for her. Then she just nonchalantly whips the other one right through the ring like a tanuki ninja. Jeeeesh, guess we’re a match!
Ok that should do it for Mt Kachi-Kachi. We make our way back down to the gondola boarding area.
I’ve never seen a ‘Wanted! Not dead and it is alive’ poster. I guess this would be a fun game for little kids and social media whores.
There are little rabbits on top of the gondola. I didn’t notice those on the way up.
We head down the ropeway again and back to the bikes. There’s still a good amount of time and light left in the day. We decide to bike down to the lake where there is a path leading around it and back to the hotel. With the clear sky and the golden hour of the sun setting through the autumn colors along the lake, the whole scene is just tremendous.