Unless you are planning to hike Mt Fuji itself, the best way to see Mt. Fuji is probably from one of the five lakes that surrounds Mt. Fuji. You may have heard of Fujigo-ko which literally translates as Fuji’s 5 lakes. Aside from the 5 lakes, you can also see Mt. Fuji from Hakone which is a National Park known for its hot springs. Initially, we had planned to visit Hakone because there’s more activities to do there. However, due to a possible volcanic activity, most of the main areas of Hakone has been closed off from public since mid 2015. The last I’ve checked, the place is still closed off. Therefore, we went with a different option, and that is to go to Lake Kawaguchiko.
It is about 1.5hours drive to Lake Kawaguchiko from the heart of Tokyo. If you have read my previous post, you would know that we had rented a car pretty much last minute due to the good weather. The drive to Lake Kawaguchiko was pretty decent. There was hardly any traffic and you get to see a different side of Japan along the way. We were very thrilled to see snow piling up the sides of the roads as we weren’t expecting to see any in February. You will also pass by Fuji Q Highland on the highway before reaching Lake Kawaguchiko. Fuji Q Highland is a pretty famous amusement park with various thrilling roller coasters. You can see some of the roller coasters peaking out from the highway. As it was only a day trip for us, we opted not to go into Fuji Q Highland. However, if thrilling rides are your thing and you have planned to stay overnight or a few nights around Kawaguchiko/Fuji area, then you could definitely check them out. It is pretty famous after all.
We were directed to a free parking area in Lake Kawaguchiko by the GPS set by the car rental staff. She was really kind to us and offered to search for a free parking area. The free parking spot was located at Oishi Park over looking the lake. I’m not very sure if the other parking spots we’ve seen along the way are free or not, but I think Oishi Park is a pretty good spot for seeing Mt Fuji anyway. The view from Oishi Park was magnificent! And, thanks to the clear weather, we got to see Mt Fuji very clearly. Not a single cloud in the sky! Though the sun may be a little harsh for the photos, I was really happy to see the famed Fuji-san at last! I can’t stress enough to plan the perfect day to see Mt. Fuji if you’re planning a visit. I have a few friends who went on a cloudy day and were so disappointed as the famous snow tip was covered by clouds. Even on other sunny blue skied day when we passed by Mt. Fuji on a shinkansen on our way to Kyoto, the mountain was covered by clouds. So do look at the weather if you do not want to be disappointed. Alright, I’m not gonna say more about the Lake. A picture speaks a thousand words after all. Hope you enjoy some of the photos we took at Oishi Park in Lake Kawaguchiko.
We would have definitely explore more of the lake if we had the time. In fact, there’s a few tourist attractions around the lake. As we didn’t have any internet with us (being the first actual day in Japan and not having our pocket wifi yet) we weren’t able to explore where to go much. I know we should have done a little bit more research on the area, but for a day trip, I think whatever that we have done was sufficient. We had an amazing local Houtou noodles for lunch which is very famous in Lake Kawaguchiko. After which, we walked it off by hiking up the stairs of Chureito Pagoda to absorb the breathtaking view we often see in Japan tourism posters – Mt.Fuji with a red pagoda and often with Sakura. Of course, it’s in Feb and its too early for the cherry blossoms. Having said that, the view was still pretty awesome! Stay tuned as I will be updating blog posts on those very soon!
Til the next post, keep experimenting!
PS: Lake Kawaguchiko offers quite a number of well know ryokans. At one point, I was very eager to book ourselves a night at one of the luxurious ryokans, Kozantei Ubuya. It offers private onsen tubs at the balcony of your own rooms overlooking the lake and Mt.Fuji. It comes in a pretty hefty price of about 360AUD per night per person. The package will also includes a traditional kaiseki dinner. I was very tempted to do it, in fact, I was going to book the hotel. However, making a reservation with them was pretty unsuccessful. From their main website, there is an english site for reservations. You can then choose the dates you want. I have tried booking it about 1 year in advance and at that time, I’ve realised that dates for advance reservations are only available 6 months prior to your arrival. I then tried my luck every month since then and it still doesn’t have any available dates for February even though I’ve checked them 6-5-4 months in advance. I tried emailing them but they never replied. Sigh. I gave up eventually and decided to do a day trip instead for this time. Hopefully we will have a better chance in securing a room with them in the future. If anyone have had similar experience or have successfully booked a room with them, please let me know how! 🙂