12:23 am – At Willerexpress bus stop
Around 30 minutes left before the bus arrives.
There were two things that kept me from getting bored that night. The first thing was just everything-watching. It’s like people-watching but not just for people. The second thing was the situation that these three random french people were in. I somehow got roped in because they thought I was Japanese and asked for my help or something.
I first saw them hurriedly crossing the street not on the pedestrian lane. Imagine them going through the barrier on the above image. At first they asked me if this was where the Willerexpress bus will be departing from. They even showed me their booking on an ipad. I told them they were on the right place. What I didn’t notice was that the departure time written on the booking had already passed. Couldn’t remember the exact time but lets just say they missed their bus by a few minutes (probably 10 or 15).
After the first time they asked, I just went back to watching everything around me. They, on the other hand were busy calling up Willerexpress to explain their situation (they needed to get to Tokyo the next day and was late because of the delays they encountered on the Gion festivities) and asked if they could get on a later bus.
A few minutes later one of them approached me, asking for help talking to the Willerexpress people (this was the part they thought I was Japanese). Lucky for them (and me) the person on the other end of the line spoke English.
Since we were in a bus stop, I suggested as another option, to ask the other buses going to Tokyo if they can be accommodated. My suggestion didn’t pan out though as all of the Tokyo-bound buses that stopped by were reservation-only.
I think things turned out ok for the three of them as they were able to talk to a Willerexpress personnel when one of their buses made a stop to pick up passengers going to a different place (not Tokyo). They said they’d be able to take a much later bus that will stop by. I couldn’t confirm if they were able to take the trip as my bus arrived before the one they were supposed to take.
12:53 am – Off to Higashi-Shizuoka
6:12 am – At Higashi-Shizuoka bus stop
The bus stop was near Higashi-Shizuka station.
Saw a cargo train go by while waiting for the train to Shizuoka station.
7:06 am – At Shizuoka station
Went straight to Shizuoka station because the hotel where I’ll be spending the night is closer. I left my stuff on a locker and proceeded to the bus station to get to Nihondaira.
7:48 am – Bus to Nihondaira
I was supposed to visit Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. There were two ways to get there, first is through the south side, getting off at Kunozan-shita bus stop and climbing approximately 1000 stone steps. The other option is to get off at Nihondaira and take the ropeway to the shrine. I chose to do the second option.
As I was on the bus, I noticed that the next few stops the bus will be taking weren’t on the route specified by Google maps. Fortunately the trip was still on its early stages and I quickly got off on the next stop.
I then walked the 1.1-km distance back to Shizuoka station.
8:22 am – At Shizuoka station, again
On the bright side, the correct bus was pulling over just as I was exiting the station.
The bus made a stop at Higashi-Shizuoka station on the way to Nihondaira.
9:07 am – Nihondaira ropeway
The car going the other direction.
A view of Suruga bay from the ropeway.
9:15 am – Kunozan Toshogu Shrine
How to get there: The easiest way would be to hop on a bus from Shizuoka station to Nihondaira (fare costs 580JPY one way) then take the ropeway to the Shrine (costs 550JPY one way, 1000JPY for the round trip ticket or 1650JPY for the round trip ticket, and shrine and museum admission combo). As I mentioned earlier, there’s a second option coming from the south, but I didn’t do it as it would go through around a thousand stone steps up the mountainside. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Suruga bay though.
Admission: 500JPY for the shrine, 400JPY for the museum. There’s also combo tickets: 800JPY for the shrine and museum, 1650JPY for the ropeway round trip, shrine, and museum.
They have no closing days and are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. But from October to March, they are only open until 4:00 pm.
If you come from the ropeway, you’ll first see this welcome sign.
The Romon gate can be seen right after the ticket booth.
You’ll see this torii gate after passing through Romon gate.
Going up the stairs through the torii gate leads here.
A few stone lanterns.
The path turns to the right after this one.
I have no idea what those were.
And here’s some more stairs leading up to the main buildings.
The entrance to the area with one of the main buildings:
This is located on the right side just prior to entering the area with one of the main building.
This is either the Haiden or Honden hall, not sure which.
Some lanterns hanging on the barriers enclosing the structure above.
The view from the gate up the stairs where the path turned right:
A weird tree.
The intricate designs on one of the main buildings (Haiden/Honden hall, not sure which).
The path towards Ieyasu’s tomb is on the above hall’s left side.
Some more photos of the hall’s left side:
More stairs going up.
The hall as seen from behind on a higher vantage point.
More stairs and stone lanterns leading to Ieyasu’s tomb.
Ieyasu’s tomb area.
On the way back. Here’s a picture of Romon gate from behind.
The ticket area as seen from under Romon gate.
I also went to check out the south side and went down a few of the thousand or so steps to get another glimpse of Suruga bay.
There was a viewing area beside the museum.
The path on the right leads to the stone steps from the south side.
10:55 am – Ropeway going back to Nihondaira
11:01 am – At Nihondaira
11:43 am – Bus to Shizuoka station
12:31 pm – At Shizuoka station
1:09 pm – Lunch (ramen, gyoza, and rice combo)
I was hungry.
1:42 pm – The search for Gatorade
I wanted to bring some for the Mt. Fuji hike. I searched high and low all over the nearby convenience stores and supermarkets but wasn’t able to find any. In the end, I went with a couple of Pocari Sweats then I headed to the accommodation for the night.
3:52 pm – At Shizuoka Victoria Hotel
Although a bit on the expensive side (for me). I chose this because it was the closest to Shizuoka station.
Just a few pictures of the room (and my stuff):
The information card located on the table mentioned that Mt. Fuji can be seen from the room. Too bad it was a cloudy afternoon.
I didn’t know which direction to look so I took pictures of both sides.
8:17 pm – Sleep