Kawaguchi-ko is the most developed and popular of all the Fuji Five Lakes (and arguably has the best views too). Kawaguchi-ko also sees the most tourists of all the Five Lakes thanks to having the easiest access from Tokyo (see Getting there ) and the most accomodation. That being said many people after planning a trip to the area do ask the question “What can I do here?”. Here is my list of the top things to do in Kawaguchi-ko without travelling anywhere!
Kachi Kachi Ropeway
The Kachi Kachi Ropeway has been entertaining visitors for many years. Based on the eastern shore of Lake Kawaguchi-ko the ropeway is only around a 30 minute walk from Kawaguchi-ko station (or accessible via the bus leaving from the station). Here you take a cablecar 1,075m up Mt Tenjo. The cablecar runs every 5 to 10 minutes from 9 – 5 daily (some seasonal variations) and costs ¥800 as a round trip. I’d highly recommend the trip up to get a magnificent view of Kawaguchi-ko and, if you are lucky, a view of Mount Fuji too.
Kawaguchi-ko Sightseeing Boat “Ensoleille”
You can get a ticket to cover both Kachi Kachi Ropeway and the Boat on Kawaguchi-ko for just ¥1,300. The boat pier is very close to the ropeway station so they make for a very convenient afternoon. The cruise lasts around 20 minutes and will take you across Kawaguchi Lake, under the famous bridge and bring into sight the whole of Mount Fuji- a truly breathtaking view on a clear day.
If mountains are more your thing, or if you have time for a hike, it is possible to continue from the Kachi Kachi ropeway to the peak of Mt Tenjo and then onto the impressive peak of Mount Mitsutoge. This peak offers absolutely spectacular views of Mount Fuji and a chance to get into one of the lesser populated areas in the Kawaguchi-ko region. Be warned, in winter months the hike does require proper gear. Even in summer the hike can take around 5 hours and covers roughly 7 miles- not to be undertaken on a whim.
If you would rather take things at a leisurely pace then hiring your own electric bike would be a good bet. From only ¥600 per hour the bikes are really reasonably priced. Thanks to Japans good road safety records it is a good place to go for a casual ride. The roads around the lake are wonderful and each new corner will offer a different vista of the lake, surrounding mountains and Mt Fuji. See here for where to rent the bikes.
Oishi park is on the northern shore of Kawaguchiko and is a great hit with tourists. The park offers stunning views of Mount Fuji, especially at sunset! The second biggest draw of Oishi park is their flowers, especially the 360 meter flower road! From April to October the park offers flowers in full bloom, starting with tulips and sakura in April, the vivid phlox moss in May, their stunning lavendar fields in June-July and then the vibrant red of the scoparia.
Oishi park can be accessed by bus from Kawaguchiko station. It is a great pit stop for the views but also for their delicious ice cream and well stocked souvenir shop.
Of course the number one thing to do when visitng Kawaguchiko is travel around getting all those picture perfect views of Mount Fuji! Each corner of Kawaguchi lake offers a different view of Mount Fuji, I’ve written about my favourites here.