Rising over 3,700 meter from the sea to touch the sky, Mt. Fuji stands proudly as Japan’s most iconic symbol. The picturesque mountain holds both cultural and religious significance to the Japanese, and has inspired artists and poets for centuries.
Mt. Fuji remains an active volcano, although its last eruption was in 1707. Often called ‘The Border Between Heaven and Earth,’ as well as ‘The Shy Mountain’ because of the clouds and fog. And as picturesque as Mt. Fuji can be, it can be hard to get a clear view of the mountain. But with the right timing, there are a number of great nearby spots and attractions that will let you explore and drink in the mountain view.
Lake Kawaguchiko is instantly recognizable, lying just at the base of Mt. Fuji. Among the Fuji Five Lakes, it’s the closest to the mountain and is the most accessible by train and bus from Tokyo. Even from afar, you can see Mt. Fuji reflected fully onto the lake.
In the spring, head to the its seaside promenade for stunning cherry blossom views. If you’re visiting in autumn, head to the the lake’s northern shores by Momiji Tunnel to see the bright fall foliage.
Mt. Fuji’s Secret Caves
Eruptions over the centuries have created several interesting caves by Mt. Fuji’s northern base. And while they don’t exactly offer you a view of the mountain, each cave is worth the side trip.
True to its name, the Narusawa Ice Cave stays below freezing—even during the summer. Marvel at the unique ice formations, but be sure the watch out for the low ceilings and slippery stairs.
The Saiko Bat Cave brings a certain comic book character to mind, but it’s really named after its former winter inhabitants. Bats would hide out here during the cold months, after lava flows carved out a multiple chambers and tunnels; The Bat Cave is the largest and most extensive cave you can explore.
The last one is the Fugaku Wind Cave, which can almost get as chilly as the Ice Cave. The cave’s cool temperature and high ceilings made it an ideal storage place for acorns and silkworms; it’s still being used as a storeroom today. Of all the caves, it’s the most walkable.
From Mt. Fuji, make your way to Oshino Hakkai, a quaint little village in the Fuji Five Lake region on the site of a former sixth lake that dried out centuries before. Snow melt from Mt. Fuji feeds the scenic eight ponds, giving life to unusual plant life and fish. Enjoy local delights from villagers who grill roasted sweet potato and toasted rice crackers.
There’s a lot worth exploring by the beautiful Mt. Fuji. And it doesn’t take much to head here. Take this easy, convenient day tour from Tokyo. Don’t head to Japan without seeing its most iconic attraction!