Saturday, July 22, 2023

Japan tourism guide: "How to See Fuji, Hakone"

"How to See Fuji, Hakone" is a 32-page staplebound booklet that was published by the Japan Tourist Association. There's no date of publication, so I'm going to guess the early 1960s. Shown above is the illustration by Shin Kurihara, featuring Mount Fuji in the background, that spreads over the front and back covers. (There was a Shin Kurihara (1894-1966) who served as one of Japan's official war artists, according to Wikipedia, though I'm not sure if that's the same person.) 

Four regions are covered in the booklet, which features a fold-out map in the back. They are:

Hakone: This is described as "an extensive mountainous region between Mt. Fuji and the Izu Peninsula" and "one of the most celebrated holiday resorts in Japan."1 That's due in part to the numerous hot springs, and it also doesn't hurt that area is bucolic, with rolling hills, grassy fields, a lake and lovely views of Mount Fuji. The booklet provides the specific seasons that are best for viewing cherry blossoms, maple trees and azaleas. Also mentioned is the Daimonji-yaki end-of-summer festival in which spectacular fires are lit to help guide ancestral spirits back to the afterlife

Five Lakes District: "The Five Lakes District, lying at the north base of Mt. Fuji, is so named because of the five lakes embraced within the area," the booklet notes. "The lakes, in the order of their location from east to west, are Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, Saiko (also called Nishi-no-umi), Shoji, and Motosu." The area is known for scenery, camping, swimming, skiing, skating and duck hunting. The lakes have their own festivals, the modern incarnations of which are featured in this post by Japan Wireless.

Mount Fuji: The booklet offers information and advice for those wishing to climb the 12,000-plus-foot volcano. For example: "Foreign climbers are advised to take food and drink with them as the supplies sold en route may not suit their taste. A raincoat and a sweater, or a woolen shirt or two to wear at night or in the upper part of the mountain are indispensible. Waraji (Japanese straw-sandals), put on over the shoes, will save the soles from the wear and tear of the cinders strewn on the paths.)" Fuji is typically a two-day hike, but this guide says that some people start at 4 in the afternoon and ascend throughout the night so they can reach the peak in the early morning and witness sunrise. This can still be done, but it's not the most advisable approach. 

Izu Peninsula: It's another area of hot springs! This region is quite the hot spot for tourists from home and abroad. "Owing to its historic associations, its hot springs and seaside resorts, and its wealth of natural beauty, the Izu Peninsula is a favorite region for visitors all the year round," the booklet gushes. Among the spa towns noted is Shuzenji, which dates to the 9th century. That town no longer exists by that name, as it was merged with other locations to form the city of Izu in 2004.

Here are some of the mid-century photos from the booklet...
1. Hakone is the topic of this 2015 post.

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