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Road Trip with tokyo grapher

A trip to the Fuji Five Lakes in the early spring vol. 4

May, 31, 2016

河口湖湖畔の宿に1泊し、ロードトリップの2日目は4時半起きで精進湖からスタートする。
目覚めてすぐに窓外をチェックしてみたが、今日も霧には見放されたようだ。
精進湖は富士山の北西に位置する富士五湖のひとつで、その面積は五湖中で一番小さい。湖の北岸からの眺めは、富士山の手前に青木ヶ原の樹海が広がり、大きな建造物がないため絶景を誇っている。また、その形状は複雑で、南側に溶岩流で分離された小さな湖があるのだが、2つは地中でつながっているためにその海抜は常に同じそうである。
今日の日の出は5時半だ。昨晩は皆でしこたま呑んだのだが、出発時間の5時には13人全員が揃った。宿の朝食までには戻る予定で、薄明かりの河口湖畔を出発した。

Staying at an inn by the Kawaguchiko Lake, we woke up at 4:30 am on the second day of our road trip, starting from the Shojiko Lake.
I checked the outside from the window right after I woke up, but it seemed that our luck ran out because there was no mist.
The Shojiko Lake is one of the Fuji Five Lakes located in the northwest of Mt. Fuji, which has the smallest area of these five lakes. Having no large buildings, the view from the north bank of the lake is beautiful and picturesque with a vast sea of trees of Aokigahara spreading before Mt. Fuji. The area of this sea of trees is quite complicated in shape with two small lakes which were separated by lava flows on the south side. These lakes are actually connected underground, so that the above sea level between them seems to be the same.
The sun rose at 5:30 am. We enjoyed heavy drinking last night, but at 5 am, all 13 of us got ready to go. Planning to get back to the inn to have breakfast, we left the Kawaguchiko Lake side in dim light.


Time surrounded by morning silence


河口湖から西湖の北岸を走り抜け、青木ヶ原の樹海を横目に少し行くと精進湖の誘導看板が見えてくる。
最初の目的地は湖の北西部にある他手合浜(たてごうはま)と呼ばれるスポットで、ここは湖岸まで車を乗り入れることができる。
ここから眺める富士山は、手前にある大室山(おおむろやま)が重なることで、まるで富士山が子供を抱いているように見えることから「子抱き富士」と呼ばれている。あいにくこの日は樹海に立ち込めた朝靄に阻まれて、うっすらとしかその姿を望むことはできなかったが、ここでしか見ることのできない雄大な景色である。

When driving through the north bank from the Kawaguchiko Lake to the Saiko Lake, we found a sign that leads us to the Shojiko Lake shortly after going through the Aokigahara Jukai forest.
Our first destination is a spot called Tategohama located in the northwest of the lake where we could drive in to the lakeside directly.
A Mt. Fuji viewed from this location can be seen as if Mt. Fuji held a baby because of Mt. Omuro in front of Mt. Fuji. So it is called “Kodaki Fuji,” which means a Mt. Fuji holding a baby. Unfortunately, due to the morning haze veiling the forest, we were able to view a vague shape of this “Kodaki Fuji.” But this large panoramic view can be seen only from this location.



湖岸に車を着ける頃になると、富士山の左手から徐々に明るくなってきた。
空の色がゆっくりと藍色から曙色に変わっていくと、湖面に立ちのぼる靄がゆらゆらと幻想的に浮かびあがる。朝凪の湖は鏡のように景色を映している、車にもたれて景色をぼーっと眺めていると、まるで時間が止まっているような静寂感に包まれてくる。

When we pulled over at the lakeside, the sun gradually lit the left side of Mt. Fuji.
When the sky turned to bright orange from deep blue, the haze on the lake surface started to rise fantastically. The lake in the morning reflects the surrounding objects just as a mirror. Viewing this scenery leaning on the car, I felt a feeling of silence as if time had stopped.

Shadows and ripples


この朝活で撮りたかったのは、霧に幻想的に浮かぶ富士山だったのだが、晴れてしまったのだからプランを変えるしかない(笑)
日が出て間もない時間の光は、低くてものの陰影を強く浮き上がらせる。被写体の向きを上手くしないと、影ばかりになって真っ黒になってしまうが、サイド光が作ってくれるグラデーションのトーンは美しい。思い切って暗部がつぶれるぐらいにアンダーの写真も印象的で好きだ。
もうひとつやってみたのが、波紋を作って撮るという方法。長靴を履いてきた友人に浅瀬に入ってもらった。低い光が波紋の輪郭を浮かび上がらせてくれて、自分でもお気に入りの一枚が撮れた。

In this morning, I actually wanted to take photos of this Mt. Fuji in the morning mist. But the whether was fine, so we had to change our plan.
The light immediately after the sun rose strongly relief the shades of objects. When shooting photos around this time zone, the angle of the object needs to be adjusted carefully, otherwise the whole photo blackens. But the side light makes very beautiful gradation tones. I also like those underexposure photos in which shadows are completely black. Such photos are quite impressive.
One thing I wanted to try was to take photos by making ripples on the lake surface. I had a friend wearing high rubber boots go into shallow water. I was able to take my best photo where a low light etched the shapes of the ripples.

皆の目が覚めてくるにつれ、朝活はなかなか盛り上がった(笑)
小さなほうの精進湖には、結局朝食の後にまた戻ってきた。ここは観光地化していない場所で、溶岩流の流れがそのまま残る荒々しい景観に魅力を感じている。ここは昨年見つけた場所なのだが、その時は霧に包まれて、まるで太古の昔にタイムスリップした感覚になった。
今回は快晴で、すでに太陽が高く上がってしまったのが残念だ。あまりのベタ光に皆の写欲が湧かず、早々に移動することにする。

As we awoke, our morning photoshooting session warmed up.
We returned to the smaller lake, the Shojiko Lake, again after having breakfast. This place has not been developed as a sightseeing spot where rough lava flows still remain the same, fascinating me very much. I found this place last year. When visited this place for the first time, I felt as if I slipped back in time to the ancient time because of mist.
But this time, the whether was quite fine and the sun already rose higher. There was too much flat light and we just lost our appetite for taking photos, so we decided to move.


To our final destination, the Yamanaka Lake


富士五湖を巡る2日間のロードトリップは、山中湖から三国峠に向かう途中の高台、パノラマ台が最終地となる。
ここは初めて訪れる場所なのだが、天気に恵まれれば夕暮れ時に一面が真っ赤に染まるのだそうである。また、山中湖を前景にした雄大な富士山が望める場所らしい。
ただ、どうもツキに見放されたようで、辺りの空には雲が増えてきた。到着した時にはすでに富士山は雲に隠れており、皆のテンションがちょっと下がる(泣)
早朝から動いているので、そろそろ疲れも出てくる時間なのだろう。ちょっと小腹も空いてきた。ここは早めに切り上げて、山中湖畔で珈琲タイムにして散会することにする。

Our two-day road trip to the Fuji Five Lakes was concluded with the visiting of an observation platform which is located on the way to the Mikuni Pass from the Yamanaka Lake.
We visited here for the first time, and it is said that this area will turn bright red when the sun sets if the whether is fine. This place also seems to be a good spot to see a panoramic view of Mt. Fuji with the Yamanakako Lake in front.
But again, we ran out our luck. The clouds started to hang low in the sky. Mt. Fuji had already been covered by the clouds when we arrived. This made us downhearted.
Maybe we became tired taking photos and traveling from the early morning. We also felt hungry. So we decided to cut our visit short and enjoy some coffee in the lakeside.

パノラマ台のもうひとつの魅力は、一面のススキの野原なので、辺りを散策しながら少し写真を撮ることにした。
相変わらず富士山は意地悪をして、その裾しか見せてくれない。だいぶ西に傾いてきた日差しが、ロードトリップの終着点を優しい色で照らしてくれた。

Another attraction of this observation platform is the surrounding field covered with silver glass. So we took a walk taking some photos.
Mt. Fuji was still mean, showing only its foot. The sunshine falling towards the west lit the final destination of our road trip with its soft color.

To be continued “Return round”

Text by Koichi Miyase / Photography by Koichi Miyase and Akihito Nagata
Photographic equipment / iPhone 6S + tokyo grapher, Canon EOS 5D Mark2