There’s only one item on my itinerary today and that is to go visit Mount Fuji. Fortunately, there’s no need to climb over steep slopes or trek long distances to reach the active volcano. Just a long bus ride out of Tokyo to one of the Fuji Five Lakes and you can enjoy the extraordinary view. You can't go to Japan without seeing it.
Kawaguchiko is one of the most convenient and breathtaking locations to view world famous Mount Fuji. There are many different locations to capture memorable photos of Fuji, but Kawaguchiko is one of the most accessible locations from Tokyo to capture water reflections as you take photos. Kawaguchiko is the town and it surrounds Lake Kawaguchi, which is one of the renowned Fuji Five Lakes.
Cherry blossom is short-lived beauty and fortunately, I caught the full bloom period in Tokyo. The cherry blossom around the Fuji Five Lakes typically peak around mid april. Therefore, I decided to visit one of the five lakes, Lake Kawaguchi, hoping to catch a glimpse of Japan’s famous cherry blossom season.
Mount Fuji, itself, needs no real introduction, but for those of you who don't know, here is a little background information on it. It is Japan's highest mountain and in 2013, Mount Fuji and the surrounding area (including Lake Kawaguchi) were added as a Cultural site to the World Heritage List. It is an active volcano which last erupted in 1707.
My journey started from Shinjuku at the Keio Highway Bus Terminal where I took a bus directly to Kawaguchiko Station. The 2-way journey cost 3500 yen (SGD 39) and takes 1 hour 50 minutes from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station in good traffic conditions. Once you purchase your ticket, just board the bus outside the ticketing office 10 minutes before departure time. The bus will stop at a few stops before reaching Kawaguchiko Station, but there will be announcements on board so you don’t have to worry about missing your stop. Alternatively, you might want to consider taking the Fujikyu Railway to Kawaguchiko Station.
For the return back to Shinjuku, you wait at this same place. No need to fret or figure out if you need to board from an opposite bus stop or anything like that.
There are two types of buses that could take you to the tourist spots in Kawaguchiko. First is the “Red Line” which will bring you to areas around the Lake Kawaguchiko. The second one, the “Green Line”, will bring you to areas around Lake Saiko.
The trip up to Kawaguchiko takes you through many sleepy rural towns and as the train sped past I had the feeling that I wanted to come back one day and just spend a day or two wandering around a couple of them.
With a large circumference, the lake can be explored and enjoyed at a leisurely pace. The view from Lake Kawaguchi is spectacular on a sunny or clear day. Mount Fuji can be seen overlooking the lake. With flowers blooming in spring, it is a popular photo spot for photographers from all over Japan and overseas.
Lake Kawaguchi offers swan boats. Out on the water, fishermen await their catch while pleasure boats cruise slowly along the water. On the shores, visitors take a stroll or look out over the scenery in quiet contemplation. It is also a great area for jogging, and many athletes can be seen exercising outdoors.
Even on overcast days, the view of the lake and surroundings is simply breathtaking. With the cool breeze coming off the water, it’s difficult to not fall in love with Lake Kawaguchi.
These are really the popular spots where you can see cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji in the background.
Lake Kawaguchi is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance. It's quite difficult to describe the feelings I had looking at Fuji. If you ask people from all around the world what they think of when they think of Japan, most people would say sushi, geisha, samurai, ninja and Mount Fuji. The moment I first looked at Fuji, the breath caught in my throat and I couldn't breathe the rest of the way in for a few moments. To see something so iconic, so famous and so majestic does take your breath away. The white cap on top, the sun shining off of it's slopes and the white misty cloud of snow being blown from the top of the mountain was something to behold.
Making my way back to Tokyo, I was so happy to have been able to go to Kawaguchiko and take in the beauty of Mount Fuji. If you ever make it to Japan, or if you are in Japan, I think you should make every effort to see Fuji. The pictures here don't go anywhere near showing the splendour of Mount Fuji. For the full experience, you really have to see it for yourself.