How to see Mount Fuji at its Best
Mount Fuji, the tallest and most iconic landmark in Japan that is held in the highest respect and sanctity by Japanese, is a mountain known for its renown beauty. Rising almost 3776 metres above sea level, it projects its different unique personalities in all four seasons from different viewing vantage points, making it one of the most sought-after photographic-points and tourist attractions where everyone hopes to be able to catch sight of the pure essence of this majestic mountain standing tall in front of them and holding them in awe.Of course as we all know, Mount Fuji’s splendor can at many times be veiled, keeping its beauty as a suspense only for those patient enough to wait it through. So when is a good time to view Mount Fuji if one only has a few limited days passing within this vicinity and being one of the hopeful? According to the research done from 1991 to 2003, it seems that winter is the best season to view Mt. Fuji clearly, likely due to low temperature and humidity, significantly reducing the possibility of cloud formation due to evaporation. The graph below shows the viewing likelihood by month / season. Today, with the advance of technology, we have tools too that can help us predict in advance with decent probability if we should make the trip today, or reschedule the trip to Mount Fuji to the next day or a few days later. The tool I am talking about is a weather checker: http://www.worldweatheronline.com/. It’s just 3 easy step to using this tool to determine if we will have good visibility to see Mount Fuji.
Step 1: From which viewing location will you be going to see Mount Fuji? I have used a map below with 5 areas highlighted as the best spots to go to. Anywhere further generally might still see Mount Fuji on a very clear day but visibility drops drastically with distance especially when there is cloud cover.Step 2: Use the http://www.worldweatheronline.com/map-search.aspx link provided to go automatically into the interactive map search. Or alternatively, if one is bad in the geographical location, zoom-out the map to locate Japan (east of China), and then Tokyo. Mount Fuji is just south-west of Tokyo.
Step3: From the location of view to Mount Fuji, on the interactive map, click on the area between both location and select “Detailed Forecast”. Check for timings where you could get Cloud percentage <30%. 20% or less – One will get perfect to very good visibility of Mount Fuji. 21-30% – One will get a partial view or less distinct visibility of Mount Fuji. Greater than 30% – Low to no visibility of Mount Fuji the further away one is viewing from.Of course seasons does matter as well, bearing in mind the chance of catching a good view if one ain’t able to stay around this area for long. Spring is where cherry blossoms are abundant happens from middle of March to beginning of May. Summer the warm season starts from middle of May to beginning of September. Autumn where the kaleidoscope of autumn colors occurs happen between middle of September – beginning of November. White winter beauty comes during middle of November to beginning of March.
Combining the viewing probability by months of the year and the weather forecasting tool, we now know when is the best time to see Mount Fuji. Next, we look at where is the best place to see Mount Fuji. Close proximity with good scenery is always the best. Referring to the map above:
Region A:Lake Motosuko: This is the west-most of the Fuji Five Lakes, retaining much of its wilderness as there is little development here. As such, it is probably not the easiest site to reach by public transportation.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, there is a bus to Lake Motosuko with waiting intervals between 1 to 2hrs. The buses here head towards for Shin-Fuji, Shimobe Onsen or Motosuko. The bus trip takes about 30-45 minutes and costs around 1100 yen. All buses will stop at Motosuko-Iriguchi bus stop along the main road, a five minute walk from the lake’s eastern end.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, there is a connecting shuttle called the Shibazakura Liner, that brings visitors to the Fuji Shibazakura Park. It takes about 35 minutes and cost 1900 yen for a round trip including admission. The intervals between bus is between 1 to 2hrs.
- From Shin-Fuji Station or Fujisan Station, there is a regular bus service to Fuji Shibazakura Park every 1 to 2 hrs as well.
Region B & C:Lake Kawaguchiko: This is the lake with the easiest access by public transport (trains or buses). While it is developed for tourism on the eastern end of the lake, the northern and western end remains fairly untouched by development. This location especially during Cherry blossoms season and Autumn colors, offers one of the excellent spots for the complementary seasonal views with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. Kawaguchiko is also one of the base for the hike up Mount Fuji.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, the “Kawaguchiko Line” operates along Lake Kawaguchi’s eastern and northeastern shores, while the “Saiko Line” operates along Lake Kawaguchiko’s southern shore and around Lake Saiko (note: the view to Mt Fuji is blocked from here).
[Taken from Lake Yamanaka, Photo Credit Lyhon Chiu]
Lake Yamanakako: This is the largest lake of the Fuji Five Lakes and it offers excellent views of Mount Fuji especially along its northern shores. Panorama Dai, an observation point southeast of the lake offers a view of both the mountain as well as the lake can only be reached by foot via the “Mikuniyama Hiking Course”.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, buses operate once to twice per hour to Lake Yamanakako taking about 30 minutes and costs ~ 900 yen. The buses serve only the lake’s western end and southern shore as far as Asahigaoka.
- From Shimo-Yoshida Station, Chureito Pagoda can be reached in approximately 20 minutes, passing by Arakura Sengen Shrine along the way.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, take any bus headed towards Gotemba. These buses would pass by Oshino Hakkai.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, there are buses that traverse between this station and the ropeway station taking about 15 minutes for 410 Yen (1-way). Alight at the Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi bus stop. It is also possible to walk from Kawaguchiko Station to this ropeway station in about 15-20 minutes.
Region D:Moto Hakone: This area is located at Lake Ashinoko, a caldera formed 3000 years ago when Mount Hakone last erupted. The best view can be obtained from Moto Hakone, located on the eastern side of the lake, beside the Hakone Detached Palace.
- From Odawara, buses connect frequently via Hakone-Yumoto with Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi at the southern end of Lake Ashinoko. The journey from Odawara takes roughly 50 minutes and 1180 yen. From Hakone-Yumoto it takes about 35 minutes and costs 960 yen. The Hakone Free Pass is valid only on Hakone Tozan buses.
- Owakudani is a station along the Hakone Ropeway between Sounzan and Togendai. Sounzan is accessible from Hakone-Yumoto by the Hakone Tozan Railway and cablecar with a transfer at Gora Station.
- A free shuttle bus operates every 20 minutes between Gotemba Premium Outlets and JR Gotemba Station.
Region E:This area has the Tokaido Shinkansen passing through between Tokyo and Osaka and provides a reasonable view of Mount Fuji (on the right side of the train if coming from Tokyo).
Which brings us to the last question of where would be an ideal accommodation to allow us to either catch Mount Fuji with convenience or maybe even right at the accommodation. Below are some recommendations that you could strongly consider with good proximity as well as fantastic views of Mount Fuji.
Mount Fuji Recommended Accomodations
|Photo||Name of Hotel||Hotel Description|
|Hotel Green Plaza Hakone||A 3-minute walk from Ubako Station on the Hakone Ropeway, Ashinoko Lake and Pola Art Museum are both about a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Ubako Hot Spring is a 10-minute drive away, and Hakone Yumoto Train Station is a 35-minute drive. In addition, this hotel offers direct view of Mount Fuji in both its outdoor Onsen as well as within its premises.|
|Palace Hotel Hakone||The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Gotemba Interchange on Tomei Expressway, and a 50-minute bus ride from Odawara Station Bus Terminal. Ashi Lake’s ferry terminal is a 15-minute walk away. It's also one of the few hotel that boasts spectacular views of Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi.|
|Hakone Lake Hotel||The hotel is situated a 5-minute walk to Lake Ashi. Owakudani is a 15-minute ropeway ride away. Hakone Yumoto Train Station can be reached within a 40-minute bus ride. It is also a 3-minute walk from Togendai Ropeway Station. While it only has good mountain views (not Mt Fuji), its close proximity to Mount Fuji makes this a good starting point.|
|Lakeland Hotel Mizunosato||Situated right on the shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Lakeland Hotel Mizunosato offers a great view of Mt. Fuji. Kawaguchiko Train Station is a 6-minute drive away. Fuji-Q Highland is a 10-minute drive away, while Mt. Kachikachi Ropeway is located a 6-minute drive away. Fujiomurosengen Shrine is within a 15-minute walking distance and Lake Sai is a 14-minute drive from the property.|
|Nishimiyasou||Located just steps away from Lake Kawaguchi in the Mount Fuji area, a free shuttle is available between 15:00 and 18:00 from Kawaguchiko Train Station, which is about a 10-minute drive away. Nishimiyasou Inn is a 15-minute drive from Fujikyu Highland and a 3-minute walk from Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine.|
|Togawaso||Situated right next to picturesque Lake Kawaguchi, Togawaso is a Japanese-style accommodation boasting great views of Mount Fuji. It is a 10-minute drive from Kawaguchi Station, and free shuttles are available from the station with advance reservation. Yagizaki Park that looks out to the lake is a 1-minute walk away. Popular Fujikyu Highland Amusement Park is a 17-minute drive from the property.|
|Kawaguchiko Urban Resort Villa||Kawaguchiko Urban Resort Villa offers accommodation in Fujikawaguchiko, 900 metres from Lake Kawaguchi and a great view of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is 18 km from Kawaguchiko Urban Resort Villa, while Shimobe Hot Spring is 26 km from the property.|
|Fuji Onsenji Yumedono||Luxurious ryokan Fuji Onsenji Yumedono is located just 500 metres from Lake Kawaguchiko. It features traditional Japanese cuisine, suites with in-room hot springs and a garden with a Mount Fuji view. This hotel is just a 5-minute drive from Kawaguchiko Train Station. Nagasaki Park and Oishi Park are both a 10-minute taxi ride away and offer magnificent views of Mount Fuji.|
|Fuji View Hotel||Overlooking Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, Fuji View Hotel offers spacious accommodations surrounded by gorgeous Japanese gardens with lush greenery and cherry trees. The hotel offers free shuttles to/from Kawaguchiko Train Station, a 10-minute ride away. Historic Asama Shrine is a 15-minute drive away, while popular Fuji-Q Highland amusement park is situated a 20-minute drive from the property. A daily Japanese and Western breakfast buffet can be enjoyed at Fuji View Lounge, which offers views of Mount Fuji.|
|Fuji Premium Resort||Surrounded by lush forest in the scenic Mount Fuji area, this resort provides free shuttle transports for guests to/from 2 nearby stations. Rental bicycles are also available. The Premium Resort is a 20-minute drive from the scenic Kawaguchi-ko Lake. It offers a free shuttle to/from Kawaguchiko Station 15 minutes away, and Fujikyu Highland Station 10 minutes away.|
|Shoji Mount Hotel||Offering magnificent views of Mount Fuji and Lake Shoji from every room, Shoji Mount Hotel features 2 large public baths, which are open 24 hours. Kawaguchiko Station is a 35-minute drive away. The hotel is located a 5-minute walk from the serene Shoji Lake. There is a hiking trail, a 5-minute walk from the hotel, to the popular Panorama-dai observatory.|
|Tagaogi||Nestled on Lake Yamanaka, Tagaogi is located in Yamanakako with a great view of Mount Fuji. The ryokan is 1.5 km from Lake Yamanaka. Tokyo Haneda International Airport is 85 km away.|
|Hotel Mt. Fuji||Hotel Mt. Fuji features a hot spring bath with views of Mount Fuji, a sauna and a karaoke room. The garden overlooks Lake Yamanaka-ko. A free pick-up is available from bus stop Mt. Fuji Yamanakako. Hotel Mt. Fuji is centrally located to interesting spots such as amusement park Fujikyu Highland, the Fujiyama Museum and the Fujiyama Onsen Hot Spring, all a 20-minute drive away. Mount Fuji Train Station is also a 20-minute drive.|
|Fujikawaguchiko Onsen Konanso||Featuring great views of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, Konanso offers indoor and outdoor hot spring baths, a private-use bath (charges apply), and a foot bath on the rooftop. It is only a 2-minute walk from a ferry stop, where guests can board sightseeing cruises. The property is a 10-minute drive from Kawaguchiko Train Station. A free pick-up service from the station is available upon request. Mount Fuji 5th Station for climbing is a 1-hour bus ride from Kawaguchiko Station. Popular FujiQ Highland Amusement Park is a 5-minute drive away, while Gotemba Outlet Shopping Mall can be reached within a 40-minute drive.|
[Note: There are links on this page that are affiliate links, that will at no cost to you, earn me a small commission to sustain the cost of keeping this website healthy and useful. Regardless of whether I am paid commission or not, I personally only recommend products that I have used or researched and found to be good. If you have any feedbacks or questions about these products, feel free to let me know.
Cheers! 😉 ]