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Mount Fuji – Five Lakes Area: 3-day trip

Guide
The Fuji-Five Lakes is a pretty popular weekend gateway for the Tokyoites. Though the Kawaguchi area can be sometimes crowded, there are plenty of other places where you can enjoy serene nature.
Day 1
  • Chureito Pagoda
  • Fuji-Q Highland
  • Kawaguchi Lake
Day 2
  • Saiko Bat Cave
  • Oshino Hakkai
Day 3
  • Choanji Temple
  • Hakone Open-Air Museum
  • Tenzan Onsen
This 3-day trip will first take you to some of the most famous sightseeing spots around the Kawaguchi area. Then, you will discover some cultural beauties out of the traditional path, before finishing with a relaxing evening in one of Hakone’s most popular onsen.

Day 1: Wonderful Views of Mount Fuji

This is probably one of the most spectacular view of the area: the Chureito Pagoda with the Mount Fuji in the background. The location is very easy to access from the Chuo Expressway. It is part of a larger complex: the Arakura Sengen Shrine. From the shrine’s main hall, it takes about 400 steps to reach the pagoda.

Built as a peace memorial in 1963, the Chureito pagoda remained unknown for quite a long time. It is only recently that it became one of Japan’s most iconic photo spot. With over 650 trees planted in the Akura Sengen park, about halfway of the mountain summit, the best seasons to visit the pagoda is during the cherry blossom. However, whenever you go there, you are almost certain to catch a beautiful memory of Japan.

From the Chureito Pagoda, Fuji-Q Highland is only a few minutes away by car. The park is a paradise for roller-coasters lovers. The most popular attractions are Dodoponpa, Takabisha, Eejanaika, and Fujiyama. One can reach 180km / h in just 1.56 seconds and let you experience the world’s largest loop. Another has a maximum falling angle of 121 degrees, also a world record… making Fuji-Q Highland a very popular sightseeing spot for both tourists and locals alike

Although not a roller coaster, one more “not to be missed” attraction is the Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear. Spreading on several floors, it is Japan’s most famous horror house. A place where it is said that horrible human experiences were conducted…

From Fuji-Q Highland, another 10 minutes’ drive will bring you to the Lake Kawaguchi area. The best views of the Mount Fuji are on the northern shores. Tourist attractions include cycling around the lake, which takes about two to three hours to complete (20km). Another popular activity is the pleasure boat. It costs 930 for a 20 minutes ride and, at that price, you are sure to take some amazing pictures.

From the Kawaguchi lake, it should take about 25 minutes by RV to reach the camping ground.

Stay: Pica Fuji Saiko Lake
Pica Fuji Saiko Lake is a very popular camp with everything you need for a perfect camping day. Toilets, kitchen, and public bath are available free of charge. You can fish and cook rainbow trout at a nearby pond, and enjoy some canoe kayak on the Saiko Lake.

Day 2: Wonderful Views of Mount Fuji

Just a few minutes’ walks from the campground, you will find the Lake Saiko Bat Cave. Despite its name you might not see real bats during your exploration of the cave, as they are sleeping during the day. However, this sightseeing spot has plenty of other things to offer. The cave is 350 meters long and has multiple chambers and tunnels that awaits to be explored. You can discover how the ropy-lava rock was formed during Mount Fuji’s last eruption, observe stalactites and almost have to crawl to access some of the parts. Between early December and end of March, the cave is closed to preserve the bats.

After visiting the Saiko Bat Cave, and if you have the chance to travel on a clear day, you should definitely make a stop by the Lake Motosuko. If you look at a 1.000-yen bill, it will give you a good idea of what you might expect, as the design was adopted from a photo taken in this area. The exact spot is called Koanso, and is located on the lake’s northwestern shore.

On your way to the camping ground, you should make a stop to Oshino Hakkai. A long time ago, the area was known to be the home of the Lake Oshino. With repeated eruptions from the Mount Fuji, it ultimately dried out several hundred years ago. However, some springs received water from Mount Fuji underground water reservoir. Oshino Hakkai is home to eight of them. Each is crystal clear and has unique features. One even allows drinking water straight from the source.
A small open-air museum, Hannoki Bayashi Shiryokan, surrounds the largest pond. For 300-yen admission fee, you can observe traditional farming tools, household items, samurai armors and weapons.
The village also has several restaurants and souvenirs shops worth checking.

From there it takes about 20 minutes (10 kilometers) to reach the camping ground.

Sleep: Odakyu Yamanakako Forest Cottage

Another very popular camping ground in the area, Odakyu Yamanakako is set on forested grounds along lake Yamanaka. The camping ground is divided between cottage houses and RV spaces. It features free bathing facilities, shared kitchen, playground for children and barbecue area.

Day 3: Hakone Area (Hakone Shrine, Choanji Temple Onsen)

A 50 minutes drive South from the Lake Yamanakako, the Choanji temple has the advantage to be quite remote and, as such, not crowded with tourists. One of its features is the 500 statues that are spread in the surrounding forest. Each of them has a unique facial expression and represent a monk that lived and trained in the temple. This gives to Choanji a mystical atmosphere that is difficult to find in the more crowded tourists spots. Once you are done exploring, the next spot is a short drive to the South-East.

Art surrounded by nature… The Hakone Open Air Museum was opened in 1969 and is Japan’s first of its kind. It features thousands of sculptures and works of art, from worldwide renown foreign and Japanese artists. The museum is divided into different sections and exhibition spaces, both outdoors and indoors. Outside, expect to walk around a verdant park dotted with abstract sculptures – some in which kids can play -. Another must-see is the Picasso exhibition, which features more than 300 of its later works.

A few minutes’ walk away, the “symphonic sculpture”, one of the largest installations in the museum grounds, provides a unique view over the park. Surrounded by colorful stained glass, you ascend this tower-like sculpture through a spiral staircase that leads to a viewing platform. After a long day walk, don’t miss the free foot bath!

After a long day walking and driving around, the best way to relax is definitely going to an onsen. For tourists with a tattoo, there is one hot-spring around Hakone that you can experience without worries: Tenzan Tohji-kyo. Men and Women’s area consists of several indoor and outdoor baths. Each comes at a different temperature which will make sure that you will feel rejuvenated and relaxed. A sauna is also available. This hot spring is very popular, so beware that it might feel a little crowded on weekend or during Japanese holidays.

Once you finished, you can enjoy the charms of Hakone in one of the many traditional restaurants, or simply go back directly to our Funabashi office.

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