Three days in Gunma: Day 3 and Mount Harunafuji


Mount Harunafuji, an inactive volcano, is one of Fuji-like mountains in Japan. The shape is just a beautiful perfect cone, with a caldera lake on its foot, lake Haruna. Driving from Maebashi to Takasaki and going up the winding road, we arrived about an hour after sunset and stayed in an old inn on the west shore of the lake. The inn is run by a family. It is claimed as the first inn built around lake Haruna, pretty historical. The room was Japanese style and quite spacious. The window overlooked the mountain. Since there was no indoor bathroom, guest were expected to go to a nearby public bath, a nice hot spring, according to my husband. But you have to get there before 8 pm.

Before going to bed, I set my alarm clock at 4 am to catch the sunrise. We woke up at the magical hour, seeing the first light from behind a range of small mountains situated on the right hand-side of Mt. Harunafuji. The mount was a mere silhouette with smaller pointed mountains on its both side. From afar, I could delineate the lines of cable car and its pole on one of its side. Slowly, the faint yellow light becoming bright pink, shone on the surface of the lake. The air was cold, I tried to capture the mist on its way up, freeing itself from the lake. It was so tranquil and mystical. Both of us clicking our cameras in trance. And then we stopped, just silent, absorbing the the view, chilling a bit by the gust of a moment like this, words are futile..

We had breakfast in the inn, typical Japanese breakfast, which me and my husband love so much (I’ll surely miss it when the time comes to go back to Indonesia). Then, we went down to the lake, decided to rent a small boat to enjoy the lake instead of cycling in a pink goose.

Having enjoyed twenty minutes lazy rowing, our little touring group checked out of the inn, drove to  the cable car station and made our way to the top of Mt. Haruna. As this is Japan, we can always find a shrine at the top of any mountains. In a sense, Japanese are religious people. Mt. Haruna was no exception. I noticed that the professor always threw some coins, rang the bell, and clapped his hands to pray when there was a shrine in our excursion path.

The landscape view from the top was vivid. Rugged mountain range seemed to hold the land in place. Smooth snake-like road slipping between their legs. The sky was a bright blue linen with cotton white cloud flowers. What a perfect anticlimax for the day. Time to go down the road again, heading for Fukiware falls, a dramatic falls of Tonegawa river, a smaller scale of Niagara (my next posting).


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