"OH MY GOD! It's so huge!"
I knew Fuji was beautiful and I had dreamed of seeing it for years, but when I finally got my first peek at it, I was blown away. It was way bigger than I thought, and the golden sunlight hitting the wispy clouds at the base of the mountain made for one hell of a first impression.
So those were the first words that came out of my mouth when I gazed at the 12,300-foot stratovolcano. Maybe I've uttered them before. But I never really meant it until now. (Sorry boys.) Maybe we were excited because the mountain had just been dusted with a foot of snow. Maybe we had too much coffee that day. But one thing I know for certain: This mountain was just as gorgeous as I imagined it would be, and I was head over heels.
We made it to the top of the Chureito Pagoda (400 steps, to be exact), but rather than shooting the famous stacked shrine with Fuji in the background, I decided to go back down the stairs and get off the main path. There weren't a ton of leaves left on the trees, but I was able to find a few full branches on the walkways that shot off from the stairway.
We weren't sure what restaurants were open and we didn't feel like spending a ton of money, so we did dinner at 711 tonight. And it was kind of amazing, because the 711 stores here are NOTHING like what we have in the states. For $10, I got dumplings, salad and a small container of veggies with miso dip. Oh, and some $2 wine. I'm already digging Fujiyoshida.