When you think of Japan two things probably come to mind, Mount Fuji and cherry blossom! Here are my top pics for places to catch two icons of Japan in one shot.
Kawaguchiko is the entrance to the Fuji five lakes region, and has some of the best views of Mount Fuji.
The first stop on our cherry blossom tour is the eastern shore of Kawaguchiko. The eastern shore is a great place to see Mount Fuji and cherry blossom. Along the lake shore there are many cherry trees, including the most popular somei yoshino variety alongside some weeping cherry trees too.
The eastern shore is a 15-20 minute walk from Kawaguchiko station or a 15 minute ride on the retro bus from the station.
Further around the lake is the northern shore, here you can catch a view of Fuji without any obstructions. The cherry trees here are the somei yoshino variety too. This shore is accessible on the retro bus, 25 minutes from Kawaguchiko station.
2. Kawaguchiko Ropeway Panorama
Formerly called the “Kachi kachi ropeway” Kawaguchikos only ropeway up onto the neighbouring Mount Tenjo offers uninterrupted views. Somei yoshino cherry blossoms have been planted up here to beautifully frame Mount Fuji across the plateau. From Kawaguchiko station you can walk to the ropeway station or take the bus for 11 minutes on the red line.
3. Chureito Pagoda
Possibly the most instantly recognisable shot in all of Japan, Mount Fuji, cherry blossom, and a red pagoda.
Chureito pagoda is a must if you are in the area, still retaining its magic no matter how busy it seems to get. Simply take the Fujikyu railway line from Kawaguchiko station to Shimoyoshida station. From the station follow the signs on the paths to the pagoda on the hillside. Only 400 steps stand between you and this view! Do take into account that during cherry blossom season the viewing platform gets *full* so allocate extra time.
4. Gotemba Premium Outlets
More famed for its shops than for its view, Gotemba outlets actually offer a sneaky shot of Mount Fuji. So whilst you are getting a bargain you an enjoy Fuji and blossom.
Gotemba can be accessed from Kawaguchiko on the Fujikyu bus, or is accessible from Hakone and Tokyo.
Tanukiko is the sixth of the Five five lakes. Not included in the initial five as this lake is artificial, rather than being created by the lava from historic eruptions from Mount Fuji. A tranquil spot facing the western slopes of Mount Fuji, Tanukiko offers a return to nature and a quieter experience than Kawaguchiko.
Tanukiko is not particularly accessible by public transport, from JR Fuji station take the train to JR Fujinomiya then a 45 minute bus. If you want o visit Tanukiko renting a car is the easiest way.
6. Fuji View Hotel & Gardens
Not a normal tourist destination, the Fuji View Hotel offers stunning views of Mount Fuji and a great stay. If you want to stay somewhere to see Fuji and the cherry blossom from the comfort of your bed then this is a great spot!
The cherry blossom around Mount Fuji tends to reach full bloom in the middle of April. This will change slightly each year so keep flexible to try and catch them at full bloom. Different varieties bloom at slightly different times, for example weeping cherries tend to bloom a little later. Chureito pagoda is often a few days behind Kawaguchiko due to the increased elevation, so take that into consideration when making your plans. Most of all enjoy the magical view of cherry blossom and Mount Fuji.