From April to May each year in Fujikawaguchiko in Japan, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival (富士芝桜祭り) is held. In the middle of May, we made our way from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko for the fourth time, this time to enjoy this beautiful flower event. In this post, I put together all the information you might need so you can also enjoy the Fuji Shibazakura Festival in all its beauty.
We made our way by rental car from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko in Yamanashi Prefecture on a Saturday morning. The ride is supposed to take about 2 hours, because of a little bit of weekend traffic and a bathroom break we needed about 2 and a half.
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If you arrive at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival location by car, and especially on the weekend it can be quite crowded, but after about 10 minutes of queuing in front of the parking lot entrance we finally got in and found a good parking space not too far from the exit.
Pro tip: Try to park at the first parking lot, the second is really far away from the entrance to the park.
So, we got out of the car, equipped with a sunhat, sunglasses and my camera and made our way to the entrance. There are some booths selling food and local products as souvenirs, but we ignored them for the time being. Souvenirs are for when you leave a place, am I right. We paid the entrance fee of 600 Yen (6 USD) per person and went in.
The park where the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is held every year is much smaller than I thought, and I was unimpressed at first glance. Many of the flowers were already withered, and there wasn’t much pink (or even green) left on the ground.
But while the entrance area isn’t too impressive the view of the observation deck with the little flower Fujisan in the foreground and the real Mount Fuji in the background is really quite remarkable. After a couple of snapshots from different angles, we descended the observation area and continued on our way.
From every part of the park, Mount Fuji is an impressive sight and the flower in the foreground even if they aren’t as beautiful as they could be because we visited so late in the season made for a pretty picture opportunity. And I took countless pictures while strolling through the Fuji Shibazakura Festival.
About halfway through the park, there is a little café called Fujiyama, selling Mount Fuji and Sakura themed sweets, and even some big tent selling Japanese festival food. We bought a Sakura flavored soft serve ice cream, and decided to have lunch soon, we were getting hungry. There were many people (mainly Chinese tourists) having their meal sitting around on the many picknick benches or on the floor and enjoying the fantastic view.
Nearing the end of the parks route you come to a pond which also looks very nice on pictures, especially together with the flowers and Fujisan.
All in all, we spent a little over an hour at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. If you decide to eat lunch, there and walk slower to take some more pictures, it might take a bit longer than that. On the way out we paid 500 Yen (5 USD) for parking, had a look at the souvenir shops in front of the exit/entrance (we didn’t buy anything) and made our way to the next destination of the day: Lunch!
During our visit, we were in luck, and the weather was fantastic. There were no clouds in the sky, it was sunny, it was warm, but not too warm. Being able to see Mount Fuji really depends on luck and the weather. But if you want a better chance to see it try to visit very early in the morning.
According to other people, the best time to take pictures at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is in the afternoon. So, all I can really tell you so try your luck, but don’t expect to see the mountain on a rainy day, and even on a sunny day, Mount Fuji likes to hide behind clouds at around noon.
Like I mentioned before, many of the Shibazakura and other flowers in the park were already wittered when we came to visit in the middle of May. I assume going even later than that won’t make for a better experience.
So I guess the best time to visit would be around the end of April, but be warned, a visit during the Gold Week holiday (usually starting on the 29th of April) is not recommended because it will get super crowded with Japanese visitors.
A visit on the weekend, especially during the most beautiful time in April also attracts many visitors and so, in general, a visit on a weekday, and especially in the morning is your best option to avoid the crowds.
Here is all the general information about the Fuji Shibazakura Festival at a glance for you:
Like I said earlier, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is fun to visit for about an hour or two, so what should you do with the rest of your day? I have a couple of options for you! You could visit other famous Mount Fuji viewing spots in the area. I have even written a blog post about the things you can do on a day trip to the Fuji Five Lakes area, check it out!
Lastly, some information on how to get to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival from Tokyo, either by car, bus or tour service.
As mentioned, we made our way to Kawaguchiko by rental car. It is the most flexible and also fast way to get around and make the most of your time while you are in the area. We paid about 8000 Yen (80 USD) each including the 12-hour rental, gas money, and road fees.
If you want to drive as a tourist in Japan, you need an international driver’s license which you have to get before you leave your country. I would also like to remind you that the Japanese drive on the left side of the road and usually use automatic shift geared cars.
The cheapest way to get from Tokyo to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is by highway bus. During the festival period, buses are leaving from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko with a connection to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival area. The bus from Shinjuku will cost you 1750 Yen (17 USD) one way, and the connection to the festival area an additional 2000 Yen (20 USD) as a return ticket including the 600 Yen admission to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival.
Be advised that these busses are very popular and you should make sure to reserve your tickets between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko in advance. You can book your bus online.
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Your last option to experience the Fuji Shibazakura Festival and also other activities in the region is to participate in a tour from Tokyo. Some tours include strawberry picking or other stops in the area.
Since the 2018 season is just over check early enough for tours in 2019. And for the time being check out these tours to the Fuji area (they don’t include the Fuji Shibazakura Festival)
Have a look at these tours below or head over to Get Your Guide.
I had a great time at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, even though the flowers weren’t in full blossom anymore. If you come on the right day at the right time, your experience will be even more magical. Let’s just hope that the weather is your friend and the sun is shining down on you during your visit so you will have a fantastic view of Mount Fuji from the Fuji Shibazakura Festival and all the other destination you visit during your day trip.
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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.
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Lena is the creator of the Social Travel Experiment. Planning her trip around the world took a lot of effort. To make it easier for future world travelers she has made it her mission to teach others how to have an unforgettable trip around the world, through short stays with locals, without wasting valuable time or money.