Japan’s Iconic Mountain
Mount Fuji is the highest and most celebrated mountain in Japan and conveniently located about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Known to Japanese people by “Fuji San”, it is an active volcanic mountain surrounded by an abundance of natural scenery that includes scenic lakes, caves, and waterfalls. The area is especially beautiful during the springtime cherry blossoms.
Mt. Fuji is one of the top three pilgrimage mountains in Japan and very popular among hikers, but people have also come to this site to relax and enjoy the hot springs in the surrounding nature. It is very spiritual and sacred place to the locals as well as for travelers. Notable pictures and drawings of Mt. Fuji appears in many Edo period prints of Katsushika Hokuai and other artists, Japanese and non-Japanese alike. Because of its cultural significance, Mt. Fuji is UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Getting to Lake Kawaguchiko
One of the best locations to observe Mt. Fuji is from Kawaguchiko in the Five Lakes area which can be accessed by taking JR train (Chuo line bound to Matsumoto from Tokyo) to Otsuki station and transfer to Fujikyu Line. Fujikyu Line platform is not to be missed as it’s well marked with signs in both Japanese and English.
Standard express train works well from Otsuki but to make your trip worth a while, plan ahead and reserve a seat at one of four luxury trains, Fujisan View Express, Fujisan Tozan Train, or if you have kids ride on the Fujisan Express or Thomas Land Train. The new Limited Express Fuji Excursion debuted in March of 2019 providing much needed direct access from Tokyo to Mount Fuji.
Kawaguchiko is the last station on Fujikyu Line from Otsuki and here are some of the highlights in the area.
Things to Do
Arakura Sengen Shrine
Hike up the hillside of Mt. Arakura for about 20 minutes to Arakura Sengen Shrine to see a panoramic view of Mount Fuji. Best to go there in April to see sakura on the back drip of the Mt. Fuji. To avoid crowds, get there early in the morning.
Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park
Kids and families can enjoy rides in the backdrop of Mt. Fuji.
Lake Kawaguchiko Excursion Ship
Enjoy European style cruising ship to make a 20 minutes tour of the lake.
Mt. Fuji Ropeway
Take a 3 minute ropeway to the park and enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji. A folk story “Kachi Kachi Yama” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa was based here.
If you are spending a night in Kawaguchiko, indulge yourself by booking a room at Ubuya Hotel. It is a traditional Ryokan with outdoor hot spring in many of their traditional rooms. Enjoy the wonderful hospitality and and the traditional Kaiseki Dinner.
What to Eat
This delicious yet low calorie dessert called Shingen Mochi is made from mineral water from Mt. Fuji and agar, resembling raindrops. The mochi is then sweetened with Kuromitsu, molasses like syrup and Kinako, soybean powder. Shingen Mochi was named after Shingen Takeda, a pre-eminent daimyo as it was his favorite dessert.