I was given discount vouchers and advice about how to spend my day so I decided to go for a walk to the other side of the lake and took the ropeway up to an observation platform where I got a great view of the lake and on a clear day I'd also have gotten a good view of Mt. Fuji. Even after spending an hour waiting for the clouds to clear I realised that nothing would happen for a while. So I just took a couple of symbolic photos in the direction of the mountain covered by fog and ropeway-ed myself down to lake level again.
From here I made my way through souvernir shops and countless racks of "hello kitty" phone bling until I finally found Ide Sake Brewery. The hostel made a reservation for me to take a guided tour of the brewery and eventually the lady who owns the brewery came out to take me along as I was the only person who was going for a tour that day. It is a small-scale brewery and from what I gathered, it is the only brewery that uses the water from Mt. Fuji! She told me all about the brewing process and how they utilise every part of the rice casks to make crackers and use as flavouring in other foods as it contains lots of nutrients. I tasted three different kinds of sake from the brewery; they were all silky smooth and tasted nothing like the sake I have had at Japanese restaurants outside Japan (not even the sake I'd had elsewhere in Japan...)
Needless to say I bought three bottles of sake in different sizes to take home and one each for the guys who were away climbing :)
I walked back to the hostel with two huge bags full of booze and having wandered around for the whole day I was ready for an hour in the onsen before meeting up with the guys. The bath was a bit more crowded this time and I met two girls, Chihiro and Chika who are really lovely. We chatted for a while and it turned out that they had travelled from their hometowns to climb Mt Fuji the day before and were staying in the same hostel as us. We made our way back to K's house right before Trond and Michael and I had to leave for the bus to Tokyo. The guys were exhausted and sun burnt like nobody's business even on this cloudy day, each with bright red necks and Trond being the impersonation of Rudolph himself.
So after what seemed like the longest walk ever to the bus station we got on the right bus and were dropped off at the Shinjuku bus station two hours later. From there we got a little lost in what is known as the "world's busiest transport hub" before finding the right subway line to the Kikukawa station where we were met by Mr. Kamo who took us back to his flat where we were going to stay for our remaining time in Japan.
This way of ordering food became quite the norm throughout our stay in Tokyo- aka vending machine heaven!