Lake Kawaguchiko & Mt. Fuji, Japan

I’m off on summer holidays in a few days to the south of Spain then to Switzerland but I still have lots of catching up to do on blogging. Taking a break from packing to blog about the beautiful Mt. Fuji! There were no sakuras blooming at the time that we went but it was still a beautiful place to visit. We were lucky enough to get very nice weather while we were there. After a lot of research, I decided the best place to view Mt. Fuji would be from Lake Kawaguchiko. The hotels and ryokans there were all insanely expensive since it was peak season, so I ended up booking us an airbnb there. Our airbnb was really nice and big – 3 bedrooms that sleep 7, a traditional kitchen/dining area, 2 bathrooms with separate showers, and a back patio with great views of Mt. Fuji. The price of the airbnb was very reasonable and located about 5 minutes from the main bus/train station. It is a bit of a trek to the north shore of the lake (which offers the best views of the mountain), but since my parents and I don’t mind walking, we thought it was fine.

We got to Kawaguchiko via direct bus from Yokohama (about 2.5 hours). Since we were traveling at noon, we stopped at the food court at Isetan to pick up some bento boxes for the ride there. Upon arrival, we headed over to our airbnb to drop off our things. Airbnb in Japan is heavily regulated and in order to check in, you need to provide the passport information of all the guests. Our airbnb had a door with a code (super convenient to not have to worry about keys and locking up!) and a handy little tablet for checking in. After check in, we immediately walked over to the lake to see Mt. Fuji. We walked from the town to the north shore of the lake which took about 45 minutes. We then decided to just keep walking and cross over the bridge to loop back to town. The weather was perfect and watching the sunset by the lake was so nice. There isn’t a lot to do there and many of the restaurants either close early or are super expensive so we ended up eating at the restaurant in the station (which was actually quite good), doing some souvenir shopping at the station (again, also quite good as it had a large selection and wasn’t so expensive), then heading to 7-11 for some snacks before heading back home to sleep since I wanted to wake up early to go to the lake.

Bentos on the bus
My sushi box only cost $6!
meanwhile these bananas cost $4…
Sign for our airbnb!
Parents and Mt. Fuji
contemplating life
tempura udon for dinner
Houtou (or Hoto) noodles, a traditional dish from the Yamanashi Prefecture which we were in. Made up of a thick noodle similar to udon, pumpkin and other seasonal vegetables and served in an iron pot with a miso based broth.

The next morning, we woke up at about 6am to head back to the north shore of the lake. I wanted to try to get a photo of Mt. Fuji and it’s reflection in the lake. Unfortunately we had made it there a bit too late and the water was not calm enough to get a good reflection. The clouds had also started to roll in and we couldn’t see the peak anymore. We did our loop around the lake again then headed back home to have breakfast in the back patio with a view of the mountain. Later in the afternoon, we headed over to Chureito Pagoda. Chureito can be reached by bus to train, but we decided to walk. It took us about 25 minutes to walk to the base of the pagoda, then you have to go up about 400 steps. The pagoda was pretty, but unfortunately the clouds again blocked the peak of Mt. Fuji which was a bit of a bummer. This is why it’s a good idea to stay in that area for a few days as you never know how the weather will be and if you will get to see the peak of the mountain. We were able to enjoy it the first day and from our airbnb since from our location, the clouds were not in the way!

Failed attempt
Breakfast with a view!
Sakura ice cream before I walk up 400 steps to the Chureito Pagoda.
The pagoda was actually much smaller than I thought.
You can just pretend you can see great views of Mt. Fuji…

Later that evening, we visited a traditional Japanese onsen. We decided on Yurari Onsen since it was very reasonably priced, offered a bus from the Kawaguchiko station, and had views of Mt. Fuji. My parents decided to get a private room while I used the public facilities. There were many pools and the outdoor pools had nice views of the mountain (only for a bit since it started to get dark). We also decided to eat in the restaurant there since we got a package deal which included dining credit. It was a very relaxing way to end our time at Mt. Fuji before we headed out to Kyoto the next morning.

I decided to wake up early again to try to get a photo of fuji and it’s reflection again. I let my parents sleep in and I left at 5am to make the trek once again to the north shore for sunrise. Luckily this time I was successful! The clouds rolled in right after I got my photo but I was so happy. Headed back to our little home again for breakfast with Mt. Fuji one last time before we head off to Kyoto!

Success!! Look how beautiful it is!

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