Many people visiting Japan want to “go to Mount Fuji” but there are a number of ways you can enjoy Mount Fuji. The most famous postcard views of Mount Fuji are rarely ever from Fuji herself. These scenic vistas can be found in the surrounding lakes and mountains.
Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) is often considered the entrance point to Mount Fuji and the Fuji five lakes region (Fujigoko). With direct access points from Tokyo city, Narita airport and the Tokaido shinkansen line (from Mishima) there is no reason not to visit this jewel of natural Japan.
Kawaguchiko is the second largest of the five great lakes and, as you can see, the shores are quite urbanised, yet still surrounded by soaring mountains. With such easy access and stunning views Kawaguchiko is the perfect spot to appreciate Mount Fuji. Here are my top tips for getting that perfect shot!
Kachi Kachi Ropeway
The Kachi Kachi ropeway is a tourist favourite for those who visit Kawaguchiko. The gondala will take you to 1,075 on Mount Tenjo and offers stunning views of the lake and Mount Fuji on clear days. It can get super crowded at the top, there is a viewing platform but after 10 tour buses start pouring in, so go early! Don’t simply go straight back down either, keep going up through a wooden gate and you will find more secluded vistas further up. If you keep going even farther (for a few hours) you can reach Mount Mitsutoge.
Access: To get to the ropeway base you can walk from Kawaguchiko station, it will take around 20-30 minutes, or take the bus.
The lake itself offers stunning views, so going for a 30 minute ride across this famous lake is a great way to spend some time. The view of Mount Fuji on a clear day is stunning. You can get a ticket which combines both the ropeway and sightseeing boat tickets, and saves you some money too! Again the boat can get very crowded. The first trip of the day sets sail at 9am… this is the best time to go!
Access: The pier which the boat leaves from is right on the eastern edge of Kawaguchiko which can be accessed by bus or on foot from Kawaguchiko station
Oishi park is a very popular spot on the northern shore of Kawaguchiko. The park is part garden and part souvenir shop/snack shop. All year round Oishi park has different plants at their peak. In spring the cherry blossoms burst open, in summer fields of lavender grace the shores, cosmos following and then the pampas grass and fall leaves come in autumn.
Access: Oishi park is near the end of the red line on the Kawaguchiko sightseeing bus
Of all the five lakes of Mount Fuji, Kawaguchiko is the only one with a bridge, the Ohashi bridge. Although the main role of the bridge is obviously to allow people quicker travel around the area it also offers great views of Mount Fuji from the eastern walkway.
Access: There are a few bus stops which will get you near to one end of the bridge or the other or even drive you over the bridge. Obviously walking over allows for better shots!
Although mostly considered a transport hub, Kawaguchiko station also offers views of Mount Fuji and also opportunities to buy some local treats, such as Fuji cookies, Fuji water and even Fuji air (quite literally a tin sealed on Mount Fuji).
Access: Simply walk out the front of the station and turn around to see views of Mount Fuji on clear days
Walk across the bridge, heading away from Kawaguchiko station and turn a sharp right once the bridge ends, then you can head down the rocky shore to great views of Fuji and the rest of Kawaguchiko itself. If you then walk counterclockwise you can find a small shrine on top of a rocky hill with views of the mountain too! This is Ubuyagasaki shrine! Each year on the 25th of April this shrine is visited by a portable shrine during an annual matsuri!
Access: Accessible by walking across the Ohashi bridge from Kawaguchiko station side or along the northern shore of Kawaguchiko.
On the less developed northern edge of Kawaguchiko is Rusugaiwa rock, the setting of a tragic tale of two lovers which ended in their deaths. This spot is great for photos as you can climb onto the rocks and have an unobstructed shot of Fuji with fewer buildings along the coastline.
Access: The bus routes around Kawaguchiko do not go as far as Rusugaiwa rock. You can, however, walk or cycle from Oishi park, or there is a small parking lot on the mountain side of the road.