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10 Things to do in Kawaguchiko – A Fuji Five Lakes Itinerary

June 29, 2018|Lena
10 Things to do in Kawaguchiko. A day trip to Fuji Five Lakes and Mount Fuji. One of the best day trips from Tokyo. Learn where the best Fujisan viewing spots are and what kind of Japanese food to enjoy in Fujigoko. #TravelJapan #Thingstodo

In May of 2018, we made our fourth trip to the Fuji Five Lakes. This area located in Yamanashi prefecture lies 2 hours east of Tokyo and is a perfect day trip destination.

If you were looking for day trips to view Mount Fuji from Tokyo, you probably stumbled upon the following things: Fuji Kawaguchiko, Lake Kawaguchi, Fuji Five Lakes, Fujigoko. I am here to tell you they are all the same destination.
To make it easier to understand, here is a little explanation: the official name of the region where Lake Kawaguchi or Kawaguchiko (ko (湖) is Japanese for lake) is located is Fuji Kawaguchiko in Yamanashi Prefecture. This region is otherwise known as the Fuji Five Lakes area because there are five lakes: Kawaguchiko and four other lakes (Motosuko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Sojiko). The name for Fuji Five Lakes in Japanese is Fujigoko (富士五湖), again with the ko at the end.
I hope this made a lot of things more transparent and your research into this really fascinating region easier.

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Now that we are all on the same page let me introduce to you the top 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko on a day trip from Tokyo. The main reason you want to visit Kawaguchiko is probably to view Mount Fuji in all its beauty, there are many viewing spots in Fuji Kawaguchiko that you shouldn’t miss if the weather is good. But surprisingly (or actually somewhat unsurprisingly), even if the weather doesn’t hold its promises there are other things you can do besides viewing Fujisan.

Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji

Chureito Pagoda is part of the Arakurayama Sengen Shrine. The shrine is built at the foot of a mountain with roughly 400 steps leading all the way to the top where the pagoda is located. A path winding around the pagoda leads to the observation deck from where you have a fantastic view of Chureito Pagoda in the foreground, the city in the background and looming over it all: Mount Fuji.

On a day when Mount Fuji is not hiding behind clouds, Chureito Pagoda is my favorite place in all of Fuji Kawaguchiko. Unfortunately, even on days when it is sunny, and the sky is clear and blue, clouds seem to be as attracted to be near Mount Fuji just like the tourists are, making it impossible to see the mountain. This can be very frustrating, especially when it isn’t your first or second trip to the location. But apparently fourth time is the charm, and I finally got that fantastic view and even captured it on film (okay digital file) forever.

2. Fuji Shibazakura Festival

Fuji Shibazakura Festival in Kawaguchiko Japan

Next on my list of 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko is the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. This festival is held from April to May each year and is really popular not only with Japanese but also foreign tourists.

The Shibazakura only bloom around April and May and turn the park area into a sea of dark pink. And in the background, standing tall and majestic is Mount Fuji.

If you plan a visit in April or May and want to know more about the Fuji Shibazakura Festival follow the link to my post about it and learn about the best time to visit.

3. Lake Kawaguchi

Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko

A list of 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Kawaguchiko. The biggest of the Fuji Five Lakes and the namesake of the whole area. Lake Kawaguchi is the lake best developed for tourism and the entrance to Fujigoko.

Its many attractions include not only a fantastic view of Mount Fuji from its northern shore but also a ropeway going up Mount Tenjo where you will have an unforgettable view of Mount Fuji, multiple museums like the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art or the Kubota Itchiku Museum which features Kimono, and of course hot springs (but more about this later).

If you are visiting Kawaguchiko during cherry blossom season don’t miss the three cherry blossom viewing spots (one on the northern shore, one on the eastern shore and in between at Ubuyagasaki) on the other hand, there are also some beautiful spots to enjoy the fall colors, like the Momiji Tunnel or Momiji Corridor (both located on the northern shore of Kawaguchiko.

4. Lake Motosu

Mount Fuji and Motosuko in Kawaguchiko Japan

Motosuko is the westernmost lake of the Fuji Five Lakes. It isn’t really developed but a road leads around the whole lake, and there is a campsite at the northern side of the pond, as well as a Mount Fuji viewing area. This viewing area is where you want to go. It is one of the most famous views of Mount Fuji because this is the view depicted on the Japanese 1000 Yen bill. And I can tell you, it is a really magical view.

5. Oshino Hakkai

At oshino hakkai with a view of mount fuji

Moving on to activity number 5 on our list of 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko, a visit to Oshino Hakkai. I am sure the name doesn’t make any sense to you so just remember that there used to be a sixth lake in the area, which dried up and left behind 8 little ponds which are fed with snowmelt from Mount Fuji. This small area is called Oshino Hakkai.

Oshino Hakkai is so popular because of the clearness of the water in the ponds. You can see not only the plants growing at the bottom but also the beautiful koi fish swimming in the waters. While Oshino Hakkai is definitely worth a short visit, be aware that it is a place developed for tourism with souvenir shops and restaurants, and if you expect a place of untouched nature you will be disappointed.

6. Caves

One of the caves in Kawaguchiko

Another fascinating place in Fujigoko and a great place to learn a little bit about what life used to be like here a hundred years ago, is a visit to one of three caves called Ice Cave, Wind Cave and Bat Cave (or all of them). These caves formed by the lava of the eruption of Mount Fuji stayed cool throughout the year and used to be used for storage of perishable goods or ice for use throughout the year.

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At the entrance to a cave, you get a helmet, to protect your head because the ceiling can be quite low in some places and then you can make your way through the caves. Some areas are quite slippery so pay attention where you are stepping and going can be slow and difficult, sometimes you even need to use your hands for balance.

Mainly in summer, these short tours through the caves can be a nice place to cool off for a couple of minutes before going on to do the next activity on your list of things to do in Kawaguchiko. Eating Japanese soft serve ice cream can be another great way to cool off in summer.

7. Hoto

A big serving of Hoto at Hoto Fudo in Kawaguchiko

Now that we are already at point 7 of 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko let’s talk about local food. In my opinion, you haven’t been to Kawaguchiko properly if you haven’t had some Hoto. Hoto is a one pot filled with ultrathick white noodles (even thicker than Udon) and a variety of vegetables (including pumpkin, mushrooms, cabbage, and leek) and other ingredients like Aburage (fried Tofu).

We always go to the same Hoto restaurant, but there are actually multiple, you can’t really miss them. At Hoto Fudo the portion size is so big that we didn’t manage to finish the first two times, so for our third and fourth visit, we just ordered one Hoto for both of us and some Japanese pickles as a side dish.

By the way, the restaurant we go to is designed like an igloo from the outside and very spacious on the inside. They do have English menus with pictures so don’t be afraid to visit.

Name: Hoto Fudo (ほうとう不動)

Opening hours: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Address: 401-0301 Yamanashi Prefecture, Minamitsuru District, Fujikawaguchiko, Funatsu, 2458

Google Maps

8. Fuji Q Highland Amusement Park

Fuji Q Highland Amusement Park with Mount Fuji in the background

Maybe you shouldn’t visit Fuji Q Highland after you have eaten your fill of Hoto because one of  the roller-coasters in this amusement park used to have a world record for being the fastest and highest when it was opened in 1996.
There are other amazing attractions like the haunted house which used to be a real hospital (spooky) and of course more rides.

Your whole experience is made even better because of the fantastic views of Mount Fuji as a backdrop for your crazy roller-coaster rides.

I haven’t been to Fuji Q myself, but friends told me that it was an entertaining amusement park and definitely worth a visit, especially because of the haunted house. You can get your tickets to Fuji Q Highland at a discount from klook.com

9. Hot Springs

Don’t you think it is also about time to relax after all this activity? Me too! That’s why my number 9 of 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko is a visit to an Onsen, a Japanese style hot spring. Because of the volcanic activity in the area, there are many natural hot springs for you to enjoy. Even for day visitors, it is possible to experience Onsen at one of the following establishments.

There are many rules and customs surrounding an Onsen visit, that you should know about before your first visit. Have a look at my Japanese Onsen Etiquette guide.

I have never been to an Onsen in Kawaguchiko (but I still really want to go) and if I did go to one, I would choose an Onsen with a view of Mount Fuji like the Benifuji no Yu.

Another option is, of course, staying for a night at a Japanese Ryokan in the area and enjoying the hot springs to the fullest. Have a look at the beautiful Ryokan of Kawaguchiko:

Booking.com

10. Strawberry Picking

Strawberry picking in Kawaguchiko

And for my last tip in my list of 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko I recommend you go strawberry picking. Strawberries are super popular and delicious in Japan, and from January to May each year, it’s strawberry season. During that time you can pick your own strawberries and eat as much as you can at one of many strawberry farms in the Fuji Kawaguchiko area.

Usually, there is some kind of time limit, so, for example, you pay 2000 yen and can then pick and eat as many strawberries as you want for 30 minutes. For me, this sounds a lot like heaven, and for my last trip I really wanted to go, but unfortunately everywhere I look it was already booked solid.

Strawberry picking is included in some of the tours to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival (see number 2). Have a look out for tours like that when you are booking your tour.

By the way, strawberries aren’t the only fruits you can pick in Kawaguchiko. There are other fruits, so no matter what season you visit there is a fruit you can pick.

Impressions from our last day trip to Kawaguchiko

How to get there

Getting to and around Fuji Kawaguchiko is super easy. You have so many options, I am sure you will find one that fits exactly your travel style.

By Car

Way to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo

We love exploring Japan by car, and Kawaguchiko is easily reached by car from Tokyo. The 10 things to do in Kawaguchiko I talk about are most easily explored by car. You can rent a car in Tokyo even as a foreigner if you have a valid international driver’s license. This driver’s license cannot be issued in Japan, you will need to get it before you leave your own country.

A day trip to Kawaguchiko by car from Tokyo coast about 16.000 yen (160 USD), this includes the rental, road fees, and gas money. If you are two or more people, this can already be cheaper than other options.

By Bus

Way to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo

Many highway buses leave Tokyo heading to Kawaguchiko, either from Shinjuku, Shibuya or Tokyo Station. Most buses make a stop at Fuji Q Highland before arriving at Kawaguchiko. During the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, there are special buses that go there directly from Shinjuku Terminal.
A ticket to Kawaguchiko costs  about 1700 Yen (17 USD) per person one way. And from Kawaguchiko you can take other highway or local buses to reach your destination.

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By Train

The JR train from Shinjuku will take about two hours to reach Kawaguchiko Station, from which you can then take other trains to reach or respective destination. If you are a Japan Railpass holder this is the cheapest option to get to Kawaguchiko. Without a Railpass the one way trip will cost 2500 Yen (25 USD) one way. So get your Japan Railpass before your arrival in Japan. You can book it here and have it delivered to your home. If you were looking for more information on the Japan Railpass you have to look no further. Everything you need to know is right here at your fingertips.

By Tour

There are many tours leaving from Tokyo to the Fuji Five Lakes area. Here is a selection from Get Your Guide. If you don’t want the hassle of planning for yourself this is the most convenient way to explore the area.

In Conclusion

With so many things to do in Kawaguchiko you can easily spend 2 or 3 days in the Fuji Five Lakes area and not get bored. If you want to experience all the activities I mentioned, I really recommend you stay a night or two at a lovely Ryokan with Onsen. 

Another amazing day trip with lots of culture and history is Kamakura. And if you are planning a couple of days in Tokyo check out my 5 days in Tokyo itinerary with many amazing activities (for example a visit to an Onsen in Tokyo).

Pin this list for your Japan travel plans!

10 Things to do in Kawaguchiko. Viewing Mount Fuji, Onsen, Strawberry picking, Oshino Hakkai and much more should all be on a day trip to Kawaguchiko. During your visit to Fuji Five Lakes also called Fujigoko there are so many thing to do that you wont get bored. #TravelJapan #Daytrip #Thingstodo
10 Things to do in Kawaguchiko. Viewing Mount Fuji, Onsen, Strawberry picking, Oshino Hakkai and much more should all be on a day trip to Kawaguchiko. During your visit to Fuji Five Lakes also called Fujigoko there are so many thing to do that you wont get bored. #TravelJapan #Daytrip #Thingstodo

Lena

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Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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