Marines, sailors explore Mount Fuji during tour
COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER, CAMP FUJI, Japan -- From ancient shrines to the peaks of Mount Fuji, the beauty of Japan has attracted visitors for centuries.
Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, toured unique historic and natural sites of Japan Feb. 4 near Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, while participating in Artillery Relocation Training Program 13-4.
The battalion is with 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Japan is our ally, and its citizens are our neighbors,” said Lt. Col. Jason P. Brown, the commanding officer of the battalion. “It’s important for us to explore the nuances of Japanese culture to gain insight.”
The Marines and sailors first toured the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha, also known as the Fuji Shengen Shrine. The shrine makes a significant spiritual impact on the community and is the site of more than 150 festivals a year.
“There was grandeur about it,” said Cpl. Darryl C. Forbes, a field artillery fire control man with the battalion. “It looked like we stepped back in time.”
After a meal along the coast of Kawaguchiko Lake , the most popular of the Fuji Five Lakes, the Marines traveled to the Narusawa Ice Cave.
The naturally formed cave, comprised of winding pathways and small tunnels, is covered in ice throughout the year.
“It was a completely new experience,” said Pfc. Juan M. Duran, an embarkation logistics specialist assigned to Headquarters Battery with the battalion. “I was in awe about everything down there.”
The final stop for the Marines was the Fuji Visitor Center. The Marines learned about how the mountain was formed and the multitude of natural life that reside there.
“It was definitely interesting learning about the history of Mount Fuji and the wildlife,” said Duran. “I’ve climbed it twice, and the information gave me an appreciation of it.”
As the Marines departed for Camp Fuji, they expressed an interest in learning more about the culture of Japan during a future visit, according to Brown.
“Every Marine that I’ve talked to has said they enjoyed today,” said Brown. “They appreciated the ability to go out and do something they normally wouldn’t be able to do.”