In Japan there are many different kinds of bus tours running from Tokyo. My mother-in-law always talks about the exciting places she has been to using these buses. So I decided to try one out with my workmate. We decided to go on a tour with Hato Bus Tours around Yamanashi. Hato Bus Tours is the biggest bus tour company in Japan and they run some tours in English.
Our first stop was Mount Fuji. From Shinjyuku to Mount Fuji it took about 2 hours on the highway. We got right up close to the mountain. I think we were too close that it didn’t really look like Mount Fuji. But it was a warm beautiful day and the view from the top of the observation deck was fantastic!
When we got back to the bus, we got some Mount Fuji Bread for morning tea . The bread was very cute, shaped like Mount Fuji.
Robatayaki Lunch – Hot Coal Grill
Next was lunch. After about an hour on the bus we arrived at a Robatayaki Restaurant. Robatayaki is a cooking method where fish, meat and vegetables are put on skewers and grilled over hot coal. This restaurant was at an old traditional Japanese house. Inside they had a Japanese sunken hearth called “Irori” where we cooked our meal. I really enjoyed the cooking experience and the food was delicious.
Next on the list was grape picking. We went to a grape vineyard where we were able to eat as many grapes as we wanted. There were two types of grapes to choose from. Between the two of us we managed to eat 3 big bunches of grapes.
Our last stop for the day was a Sake Brewery. We got to see the process of sake making and did some sake tasting. To finish the day we had some sake flavoured ice-cream and got given a free bottle of sake.
We got told before the tour that there will be a TV crew filming the tour. This was for a morning show introducing different places around Japan. Basically my back made it on TV.
Overall it was a great tour but I was very tired by the end of it because there were so many activities packed in a one day. The tour cost around 10,000 yen for the day per person. We left Shinjyuku at 8:30am and got back at 7pm. I’d be interested in trying a few more bus tours while I’m in Japan.