This torri gate was at the entrance of the path up the mountain.

There’s no question that Japan is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. I told myself at the beginning of this study abroad program that I wanted to see as much of nature as possible. On June 12, one of our class’ unstructured days, a small group of us took a two-hour bus ride to the base of Mount Fuji. The road to our destination was surrounded by rolling green hills and hidden villages. It looked a little similar to Colorado, but less rocky and more trees.

This was our view as soon as we got off of the train.

We arrived at our stop, and took another short train ride to the walking path. As we got off the train, it felt like I walked onto a movie set. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. The weather was a bit chilly, but I was so happy to be there that it didn’t matter. We followed the path uphill and quickly ran into some torii (gate) and shrines on the mountainside. We stopped for some photos before heading onward.

Many of these little shrines were dotted along the trail.

About 40 minutes into our hike, it started pouring rain. I quickly packed my camera gear and ran to find cover with the others. We were all completely drenched, but it didn’t dampen our spirits at all. To me, just being in such a serene location made it all worthwhile. We ended up making the most out of our situation by sneaking in a fun little photoshoot on the mountainside.

Photo by Tyra Williams.

After the rain died down a bit, we made it to a famous lookout facing the beautiful Chureito Pagoda along with Mount Fuji in the background. While we didn’t actually get to see Japan’s most famous mountain thanks to cloud cover, it was still a magnificent view to behold. With everyone cold, wet and hungry, we then decided to hike back down.

The Chureito Pagoda, with a faint Mount Fuji in the backdrop.

Once we made it back to the station we warmed ourselves up with a hot meal. I hungrily chowed down on some delicious udon noodles. The long bus ride home was the perfect opportunity to rest after our adventurous excursion in the mountains.

This day was incredibly special to me. Getting out of my comfort zone and seeing such a magnificent place in person will easily go down as one of my favorite memories in Japan.

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