Day 2 Morning
3:00 am: Wake-up
I was super sleepy, but it's worth it for the event.
As soon as I got ready, I headed to the venue of this event, "Hottarakashi Onsen", by taxi. (If you want to save on taxi fares, you can take the train from Isawa-onsen station to Yamanashishi station and grab a taxi from there. But you need to check the train schedule.)
Hottarakashi Onsen is the only hot spring in Japan where one can overlook the beautiful night scenery, Mount Fuji, and the sunrise all at one place! “Hottarakashi” literally means “Do self-serve”, thus, it’s very different from the luxury onsen experience you would imagine. But I enjoyed the simplicity and the “zen” time – it was as if I am alone in the galaxy. Admiring the real Mount Fuji while soaking in a hot spring, it's one of the most extravagant experience I’ve ever had!
After enjoying myself at the hot spring, I went back to the hotel at 6:30am and went back to sleep until it was time for check-out. At 10am, I embarked on the the main event of this trip, the "Yamanashi Wine Taxi Tour"!
Day 2 Afternoon
There was a reception desk of this tour at the Isawa-onsen station. If you had already made a reservation online, you just need to tell them your name and you will receive a tour pass. The transaction was very simple. With this tour pass alone, you will get a tour to visit four major wineries in the region, just like the name of the tour suggests. You will also be driven around in a taxi without any surcharges. Superb!!
The taxi arrived soon after I finished the procedures at the reception. (There was a car sticker labeled "Wine Taxi" so it was really easy to recognize!) Even though taxi drivers weren’t fluent in English, they could understand some simple phrases. Besides, the course is fixed, so drivers could take you directly to your desired destinations. It's quite the VIP experience!