entrance to itchiku kubota art museum
After spending 4 nights in Kyoto, and a second night in Tokyo we hopped on a train to Kawaguchiko, a tourist town near Mt Fuji. One of our most memorable moments of the trip happened while our taxi driver was taking us to our hotel. He drove us around a bend near the lake to what must have been his favorite view of the mountain where he suddenly exclaimed "Fuji-san!". Even though he probably does this multiple times daily for tourists, his excitement was genuine. We looked up and there it was, our first unobstructed, up close view of Mt Fuji. We couldn't believe our luck in having a perfectly clear day where we could see the entire mountain. We had read that some visitors stay for days and see nothing but clouds.
This was the splurge portion of the trip where we intended to relax a bit. We spent two blissful nights at Fufu Kawaguchiko, a serene hotel surrounded by nature with jaw-dropping views of Mt Fuji from every room. The design of this hotel was impeccably done, with an elegant mix of organic pieces and sleek, modern details. After walking all over Kyoto and Tokyo for the previous 5 days, it was great to chill out here with our own private onsen. Due to a winter special that was running when we booked the room, we were able to experience a traditional Kaiseki dinner that was included with our room each night. Upon our arrival to dinner, we were greeted by what seemed to be the entire restaurant staff. We were then seated at a private table where each party is separated by brick dividers. There are 4 tiers of tables stadium style, all facing the window, each with a view of the mountain. Needless to say the atmosphere was magical. The level of service and the variety of food was out of this world. Each dish was a work of art and we tried a lot of things we would never normally try. Some dishes we loved , others we would never try again (raw squid), but we ate everything they gave us, so we were a bit proud of ourselves for embracing the unknown. It was an experience we'll never forget.
One of the reasons we chose this hotel was its' close vicinity to the Itchiku Kubota art museum where you can explore his gardens, art studio and experience his collection of intricately hand-made kimonos up close. We had seen Itchiku Kubota featured in a documentary years earlier, which led to us purchasing his book and casually mentioning how we'd like to see his studio in person one day. It was definitely a bucket list experience for us and a highlight of our trip to Japan. Due to the time of year, late November-early December, Mt. Fuji hiking trails were closed, but we did visit the maple corridor, a 15 minute walk from our hotel.
itchiku kubota art museum garden
kimono as art the landscapes of itchiku kubota
hotel lounge & bar
view of fuji-san from our room
mt. fuji inspired sake glass
All photos by Laura Larson.