So… it’s the Sakura season again! If you’ve been following Japanese social media groups on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or anyone who is travelling in Japan right now, you should know that they’re all boasting about the pretty sakura everywhere. I am so jealous.
Have you seen this? The most famous postcard photo of the Mt Fuji during the Sakura season. You’d be wondering, where exactly is this place, that has such a perfect view of Mt Fuji? And it’s none other than Lake Kawaguchi 河口湖! Any closer, you’d have to go climb the Mt Fuji yourself. But that would also mean, you can’t get the whole view of Mt Fuji, so… it’s up to you. 🙂
Here’s a little overview of Lake Kawaguchi: it’s located in Fujikawaguchiko, southern Yamanashi Prefecture near Mt Fuji. It’s one of the Fuji Five Lakes, and it’s the most accessible and developed of all. While some have argued that Lake Saiko, which is easily accessible via bus when in Lake Kawaguchi, offers a better view of Mt Fuji, I’d say they’re beautiful in their own ways from personal experience. The other 3 lakes are further out and you would probably have to rent a car to drive yourself.
Getting there: From Tokyo, you can head over to Lake Kawaguchi via train or bus. Bus is more common and the cheaper option. Depending on where you’re staying in Tokyo, you can choose to depart from either the Shinjuku or Tokyo station. These are also main stations in Tokyo so head over at least half an hour before your bus departure time to ensure you have enough time to get lost. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this, the Japanese themselves get lost as well because it’s really huge. Just wait till you get there. 😉 p/s I’m not kidding on this, the Japanese buses will leave on time so they won’t wait.
Transportation around Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Saiko: If you’re going on a 2D1N trip like many other travellers, you can simply get a 2 days Ticket in a form of a postcard and you can hop on and hop off around the 2 lakes on the Red-Line and Green-Line for the entire period you’re there! It costs 1200yen for an adult. Also, remember to note the bus intervals and check the bus timing at each stop. 🙂
Where to stay: If you can’t converse (or well enough) in Japanese, Lake Kawaguchi is the best option to stay since it’s the most developed. There are many English instructions everywhere and there’s a tourist centre at the Station per se where you can seek help. Therefore, it’s best to book a night of stay in the vicinity. Some ryokans do pick up for their customers at the Station, so if you want to know what time, you can ask the customer service people to even help you make a call / help you translate.
What to do:
If you don’t have a lot of time or you’re doing a day trip, here are some suggestions on the places to give priority to:
1. Viewpoint of Sakasa-Fuji (reflection of Mt Fuji in the lake) and the stops before/after it.
2. Sightseeing Ropeway to see Lake Kawaguchi and Mt Fuji from above. It’s also a good rest stop to have a meal.
3. Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum – a well decorated small area that makes you feel that you’re in Europe!
If you’re doing a 2D1N trip, in addition to the places above, you can also visit
4. Lava cave in Lake Saiko
5. Yachonomori Park in Lake Saiko
6. Onsen Town (there’s 2 to choose from), unless your ryokan provides onsen too!
7. Kawaguchi Herb Hall
hope this would inspire you enough to head over to Japan right now! how about you? have you been to any of the five lakes? I’d like to know! 😉