More Than Just a Fantastic View: The Magical Mountain Fuji
1. The Itchiku Kubota Art Museum
Itchiku Kubota is one of the most well-known Japanese artists, particularly when it comes to primitive arts and crafts. His shrine of nature museum is located right at the foot of the mountain, presenting you a wonderful chance to discover some breathtaking artistic creations. The museum building is Gaudi-inspired and surrounded by a beautiful garden developed by the namesake himself. At the heart of the building is his former workshop where you will be allowed to sit and enjoy tea as you take in the view of Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji.
2. Fuji Hakone-Izu National Park
You will best experience the natural beauty offered by the mountain by taking a stroll around the most treasured natural monument in Japan. We're talking about the Fuji Hakone-Izu National Park. The park is approximately a 10-minutes' walk distance from the mountain and serves as a home to waterfalls, trees, and shrubs. Nothing quite rivals the calmness of the Otodome Falls and the magnificence of the Shiraito Falls. The latter was even listed in the World Heritage List as well as in Japan's Top 100 Waterfalls.
3. Lake Shojiko
The lake with the best canoeing sites amongst the five Fuji lakes would have to be Lake Shojiko. It simply a must-visit for those who love fishing. The lake is only about 0.51 square kilometers wide so you can take a leisurely walk around it. British hiker Harry Stewart Whitworth even ranked Lake Shojiko as the most beautiful lake in the world due to its breathtaking landscape. We have a feeling that you will agree with him after visiting the place.
At the heart of Fuji Go-Ko is Oshino Hakkai, a set of eight natural ponds that draw their water from the melted snow that comes from the fountain. The water is filtered by multiple layers of lava for decades and trickles down in the clearest spring you will ever see. You will have a chance to drink fresh and naturally clean water as well as enjoy the aquarium experience from the coolest freshwater plants and monster fishes. If you can cope well with crowds, then line up for juicy osenbei and other traditional foods in the outdoor grills located around the ponds.
5. Aokigahara Forest
On the northwest side of Mount Fuji is this 'sea of trees” that stretches for approximately 30 sq. kilometers. The most interesting thing about this forest is that it grew on the hardened lava that resulted from the volcanic eruption— the trees basically grow on volcanic rocks! As if that's not enough, the lava formed several globally recognized caves. For anyone seeking solitude, this forest is the best place to be because the porous volcanic rocks are good sound absorbers.
6. Fuji Sengen Shrines
The Fujiyoshida and Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha shrines are located on the South and North sides of Mount Fuji. The entrance to these shrines is defined by dense cedar forests and ancient stone lanterns that make the scenery extraordinarily beautiful. When visiting the Hongū Sengen shrine, you will be greeted by a pond Wakutama-ike and sengen-zukuri style gate tower that has existed since the early 17th century. On the other hand, the wooden torii gate leading to the Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine is said to be sacred and traditional hikers even believe that passing through it on their way up Mount Fuji will bring them some luck.
How to Get Tickets?
For the climbing tickets, you will be required to pay about 300 yen for Fuji stamps at the foot of the mountain. If you only wish to enjoy the view, visiting Mt. Fuji is generally free. However, some attractions will charge a fee so do your research beforehand.
How To Get Around?
After alighting at the 5th station, the best way to get around would be to walk or take a taxi to the Fuji Go-Ko.
What Should I Wear?
You will need warm clothing, sunglasses, hiking boots, and a hat. If you're going on a camping trip, we also recommended bringing a quick-drying underwear, a full camelback, and a headlamp. If you intend to go past the 9th station, you might need an oxygen can to avoid headaches and nausea that result from low air pressures at high altitudes. Also, remember to carry hiking sticks to aid in your climbing.
Best Time to Visit
Will I Need a Guide?
No. The trails to the summit and back have clear signs so you can never get lost. Second, there is a medical center along the trail where you can always check into in case you feel unwell. Thirdly, the mountain sees hundreds of hikers during peak seasons so you won't have a reason to feel unsafe. Lastly, you will find many huts on your way up where you can always take a nap when the need arises.
How To Get There?
If you are coming from Shinjuku, book the Holiday Rapid Fujisan train which charges only about 2,500 yen one way to Kawaguchiko, then take a taxi from there. A bus ride from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th Station will cost you about 2700 yen one way and 1500 yen for kids. A taxi from Tokyo to the 5th station, on the other hand, charges 5000 yen on average. The JR Tokaido line from Tokyo Station will take you to Kanagawa, where you will then take the JR Gotemba Line to Gotemba Station.