10 Close-Up Spots to Seek the Best View of Mt. Fuji (and how to get to them)
The famous reflection of Mt. Fuji on the Fuji Five Lakes. I managed to find an unfrozen patch on Lake Shoji in winter to get this reflection shot.
Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko): This is the most accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes and the one you will hear about most. It has the most facilities and hotels to choose from, but it's also the most touristy, and you'll have to pay an arm and a leg if you want a room with a view.
How to get there: The Red Line of the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus departs from in front of the station every 20 minutes. The Kawaguchiko Museum of Art (23 mins) is a good point to get off and just keep walking along the shore from there.
Lake Yamanaka (Yamanakako): The largest and second most developed lake, Yamanakako also offers great Fuji views, also from its northern shore, and is actually the closest of the five lakes to Mt. Fuji. Go here if you want to hop on a bike; there's a dedicated biking path all the way around the lake.
How to get there: Take the Fujikko-Go bus from Mount Fuji (Fujisan) Station to Mt. Fuji Yamanakako stop (40 min). You can rent a bicycle near the stop for 1500-2000 yen for 4 hours.
1. From the Shores of the Fuji Five Lakes
2. Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway
Lake Motosuko: This lake is the least accessible if you don't have a car. The bus only stops at the entrance to the lake and one more stop 2 minutes in, but if you want to get to the famous 1000-yen-bill viewpoint, you are looking at a 1-hour walk in each direction along the side of the road.
How to get there: Same as for Lake Shojiko. The famed viewpoint is next to Motosu Central Lodge and Koan Campground on the northwestern side.
looking for a short, easy hike with no people and this view? Try Koyo-Dai!
A long exposure shot from the western shore of Lake Shoji, taken around 6pm in winter
Mt. Fuji from the western shore of Lake Shoji, where I stayed during my visit.
How to get there: Take the blue line of the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus or the regular Fujikyuko bus (same buses for Lake Shojiko and Motosuko), with about a dozen departures per day from Kawaguchiko. Get off at Koyo-Dai Entrance stop (27 minutes), which is one stop before Narusawa Hyoketsu (Ice Cave) and two stops before Fugaku Fuketsu (Wind Cave).
After getting off the bus, walk north along the little road, and this will lead right up to Koyodai. You can budget an hour return (or less for faster walkers), plus however much time you'd like to spend up there.
The Green Line for Lake Saiko and Iyashi no Sato (see #5 below) also stops at the Wind Cave. For Fuji Yurari Hot Spring, get off the Blue Line at the Michi-no-eki Narusawa (roadside rest and shopping area) stop, one stop before the Koyo-Dai Entrance stop.
Hey, I'm Nick!
I first left home with a backpack in 2001, and I've been living in Taiwan for the last 10 years. I am especially drawn to religious centers, spiritual sights, and natural attractions.
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Lake Sai (Saiko): Undeveloped Lake Sai only offers views of Fuji from one section of the western shore, which is near Iyashi-no Sato (see #5 below). Come to this lake for outdoors activities and camping. There are two other amazing Fuji views near Lake Sai (see #3-4 below), which are easily combined with a visit to Lake Sai.
How to get there: Take the Green Line of the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus from Kawaguchiko to Nenba Minshuku stop (37 minutes, leaves every 30 minutes).
Lake Shoji (Shojiko): After doing lots of research, I decided to stay at Lake Shoji when I visited the Fuji region. It's the smallest of the five lakes, but offers what some say is the best view of Mt. Fuji. I chose it because it is remote but still connected by bus, has Murahamasou Minshuku, an incredible guesthouse with amazing food and super hospitable hosts, and of course for the Fuji view.
How to get there: The local Fujikyu bus that runs all the way from Shin-Fuji Station to Kawaguchiko and Fujisan drives around Lake Shoji on the way, passing by four times per day, with a few more services per day that start at Lake Motosu. The blue line of the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus adds another four services per day. Get off at the Panorama Observatory stop for the Panorama Dai hike, Kodaki Fuji View stop for the western shore with Fuji views, and Shoji stop for Murahamasou Minshuku. It isn't far to walk between the stops.
Note that the last bus of the day from Lake Shoji back to Kawaguchiko or Fujisan departs at 5:36pm, which gives you enough time to catch the early stages of the sunset (in winter especially), but not the full thing.
A shot from the road leading around Shojiko, near where you'd get off the bus
Yamanakako: the best of the Fuji Five Lakes for cycling
How to get there: Take the red line of the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus from Kawaguchiko to “Pleasure Cruiser/Ropeway Entrance” stop (16 min, departs every 15 min) or walk (20 minutes). The ropeway runs 9am-5:10pm (9:30 to 4:40 in winter), ¥800/450 return/one-way.
3. Koyo-Dai (紅葉台)
Like my selfie skills? I set my timer and ran into this shot. Took a couple tries...
4. Sanko-Dai (三湖台)
How to get there: Follow directions for #3 and continue another 10 minutes.
5. Iyashi no Sato
How to get there: There are eight buses per day from Kawaguchiko on the green line of the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus, taking 40 minutes. Iyashi no Sato is one stop (or a short walk) past Nenba Minshuku stop, where you would get off for a view of Mt. Fuji over Lake Saiko.
These buses also go on to Fugaku Fuketsu (wind cave), making it possible to combine your trip with #3 and 4 on this list.
6. Fuji Q Highland
How to get there: If you visiting the area just for Fuji-Q, you can take a direct bus from Shinjuku on the Chuo Highway Bus Fujigoko Line (100 min, ¥1750 one way). There are also direct connections from Haneda Airport, Osaka, and Kyoto. The regular Fujikyuko bus from Shin-Fuji connects Kawaguchiko, Fuji-Q, and Fujisan (Mount Fuji) stations. See all the transportation details here.
About to crack a jar of Mt. Fuji Sake while enjoying the Mt. Fuji view before getting on the direct bus to Narita Airport
7. Rooftop of Fujisan (Mount Fuji) Station
How to get there: The station is a major gateway to the Fuji Five Lakes region. Upon arrival, take the elevator in the station up to the rooftop observation deck.
Perhaps the most iconic view of Mt. Fuji. Google Chureito Pagoda to see tons of pro shots way better than mine :)
8. Chureito Pagoda, Arakura Sengen Shrine
How to get there: Catch a 10-min train from Kawaguchiko to Shimo-Yoshida. From the station, follow the signs for a 10-minute walk to the shrine. The steps up to the Pagoda are just before the shrine.
Who would have though you could get one of the best views of Mount Fuji from a train station?
9. Shin-Fuji Station Platform
Pretty good, I think, for a shot through a glass window at a train station!
How to get there: Shin-Fuji is on the main Toyo to Osaka route.
To get from here to the Fuji Five Lakes, there are four Fujikyu buses per day (departing 7:15am, 9:45, 11:45, and 1:45pm. Don't miss the last one! These buses pass Lakes Motosuko, Shojiko, and Saiko before arriving at Kawaguchiko and Fujisan. For the bus fares, schedule and route, see here.
Not a "close-up" Fuji view, but Hakone must be mentioned because it is easy to get to an one of the most popular places to view Mt. Fuji!
10. Hakone and Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)
How to get there: From Tokyo, the fastest way is by Shinknasen (30 min, ¥3500). The Shinjuku to Hakone limited express takes 85 minutes (¥2280), or you can take a slower train with one transfer at Odaware in two hours (¥1190). Check train times on HyperDia. You can also take a bus from Shinjuku to the Ashinoko area (2 hr, ¥2000).
I never travel without a good guidebook. These are my favorite. E-book version available!