Today was a relaxing day on-and-off the bus with our intrepid guide, Ms Ito and excellent driver, Mr Kato. First up was a visit to the mysterious and original Matsumoto Castle. The weather was magnificent and we were able to soak up the beauty of the surroundings.
A trip to Fifth Station on Mount Fuji was next and the team communed with the clouds as they shrouded the famous mountain in a soupy haze. After a delicious lunch and an explore, however, the clouds parted just long enough to get an excellent view of the peak on our way back down the mountain. Great photos Mrs Burgin! We were lucky!
In a JOE Team first, we visited the Hakone Open Air Museum and were treated to manicured gardens with famous and exquisitely placed sculptures and art installations – quite the unique experience. Before retiring to our ryokan (traditional inn) for dinner, we made one final stop at the Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field. A particular feature in the Hakone region, this natural wonder was a great adventure to end the day with as the team took a brief sampo (stroll) beside the tall, silvery grey stalks that stretched beyond their heads.
Dinner was a quintessential autumnal feast and traditional futons and pillows welcomed the grateful heads of the students after a full and rewarding day.