Hato Bus Day trip – Fuji Five Lakes Lavender Garden/Eat all you can Cherry picking

hato bustour
My first foray to a local bus tour with my classmate since we were both interested in fruit picking but since most of the fruit farms were inaccessible, joining a bus tour would be almost hassle and dummy proof that we won’t need to worry about train connections etc. The only bane with joining a bus tour is that you only get to spend a limited time at the places of interest and off you have to go to the next destination.

Hato bus tour also have their tours conducted in English and Chinese, but I joined their local Japanese group. Upon boarding the bus, we were given a tag to identify ourselves since Yamanashi is breaming with tourist for their various fruit picking this season. It was so popular that the Tokyo departures were all fully booked that we had to join the Saitama bus group departure. Upon departure from Tokyo, we were stuck in traffic for about 30 minutes. Welcome to the traffic jams in Tokyo, mainly due to the fact that most of the roads leading out to Tokyo are 2 lanes motorways which is definitely not enough to cope with the Tokyo Traffic.

hato bustour
Halfway out, we were served hot green tea to refresh ourselves and the pretty bus lady guide would show the time card to remain all the passengers what is the next time departure time.

Summary of the local bus tour (8480JPY per person):
07:50 Assemble at Minamikoshigaya Station
08:00 Punctual departure
10:30 Arrival at Fuji Five lakes Herb Festival with Lavender Garden (40 minutes stop over)
11:50 to 12:50 Lunch (1 hour stop over)
13:30 to 14:10 Fruit platter dessert at Fruit Farm (40 minutes stop over)
14:40 to 15:30 Vegetable picking at local supermarket and souvenir shopping (50 minutes stop over)
15:50 to 16:30 30 minutes Eat all you can cherry picking
16:40 Return to Tokyo
20:40 Arrival back at Minamikoshigaya Station (original timing was between 19:00 to 20:00 but return was late due to massive traffic jam)

kawaguchiko flower festival
It started drizzling when we arrived at Fuji Five Lakes so we can’t get to see Mountain Fuji 😦

kawaguchiko flower festival
Then the skies cleared up a little but still no sight of Fuji. Many people were eating their lunch boxes around the lake or doing some fishing.

P116075kawaguchiko flower festival 6
Catching the tale of Spring in Yamanashi.

kawaguchiko flower festival
Here is what we came here for, Lavender flowers.

kawaguchiko flower festival
The bees were busy. The lavender patch was actually quite small but still the strong lavender smell was still strong.

kawaguchiko flower festival
There were actually 2 types of lavender patches in this garden.

kawaguchiko flower festival
I created the illusion for myself that the patch was vast so that I can convince myself not to go to Hokkaido that soon 😛

kawaguchiko flower festival
Many festivities to celebrate Mount Fuji’s inclusion in the world Heritage series. The Japanese were all so proud and many related souvenirs were on sale there.

kawaguchiko flower festival
Lavender was not only the only star as there were many different types of flowers too.

lunch
This tour was about 1000JPY more expensive as lunch was at a local western restaurant instead of a bento box lunch. I would say that the lunch at 四季の香り (Shiki no Kaori) was quite nice.

lunch
Started off with some cold cream soup, a roll of sweet bread and garden salad, they claimed that all the food they used were local produce.

lunch
Chicken cutlet which was juicy. We were all puzzled with the lack of dessert and the tour guide said that dessert would be fruits at another fruit farm.

fuji traffic
The traffic signals at the Fuji area is symbolized with the Mount Fuji, another new sighting.

fruits
Fresh platter that was waiting for us, the honeydew in Japan is always just so tasty…..Shizuoka and Hokkaido ones are always the top of my list but they are just too expensive.

peaches
Peaches are in season too, but we didn’t join in the peach picking tour so we can only look.

vegetable picking
Vegetable picking at a local super market, how it works was that in a big case were 3 types of vegetables – egg plants, potatos and onions. We were all given a small white plastic bag less that 8cm by 5 cm and it is all up to us how we can squeeze the vegetables into this bag. I thought only Singaporeans were kiasu but man, the ladies on board were much more ferocious than I thought. I was still trying to figure out how to arrange these vegetables into the small bag, the more expensive egg plants were almost gone were I even realize it and I only managed to get 3 and gave one to my friend who didn’t even manage to get one. Ended up we had a bag of cheaper onions and potatos. hahahah….

flowers
Even flowers in yamanashi were cheaper here according to my friend. No wonder everyone was busy with buying fresh produce back.

cherry picking yamanshi
Finally! Finally! Arrived at the Japanese cherry farm…..the main highlight of the day.

cherry picking yamanshi
Japanese cherry also nicknamed “red jewel” is reddish orangey and lighter in color compared to the deep red American cherries.

cherry picking yamanshi
Trees filled with cherries, cherries from the top of the trees are supposedly to be much more sweeter. Cherry picking usually cost about 2000JPY a person for 40 minutes.

cherry picking yamanshi
Look how much we picked off fresh from the trees.

cherry picking yamanshi
Ladders were provided for us to pick the cherries, it was a little scary due to the steep ascent.

prunes
However, I thought the prunes which was playing a second fiddle was much more tastier and juicy. They were cheap too, a big bag of it was only 500JPY and so I got a bag of them to go back.

healthy cows
Cows feeding on grass before we say good bye.

fuji bread
Mount Fuji custard cream bread…..Then it was a long journey back to Tokyo with us smelling nice from the lavender and tummies full of cherries! 🙂

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