Continuing on from my last post about WHERE to STAY with the stunning Mount Fuji view, now I want to share with you my TOP 5 RECOMMENDED PLACES to visit near the Fuji 5 Lakes area.
Maple Leaves Tunnel (紅葉トンネル/もみじ回廊)
The Maple Leaves Tunnel is located near Lake Kawaguchi of Yamanashi Prefecture. Each year from late October until mid November, there will be a Maple Leave festival that’s held here, with many food stalls, and other small counters that sell local produce and hand made artifacts. One of the main attraction for this place is the Maple Leaves Tunnel – a long corridor filled with maple trees, with a small creek that runs in the middle.
During the festival period, not only can you see the beautiful Autumn colors during day light, but they also have night viewing as well, which looks very different and interesting.
TIPS: It gets quite busy during the Oct/Nov months with lots of locals and tourists, it is suggested to go early in the morning to avoid the crowd.
North Entrance Fujisengen Shrine (富士浅間神社)
The Fujisengen Shrine is located approximately 15 minutes away from Lake Kawaguchi, and is one of the thousands Fuji Sengen Shrine across Japan. The Fujusengen Shrine is dedicated to Princess Konohanasakuya, who is the Shinto deity associated with Mount Fuji. This one is the main Sengen Shrine on the north side of Mount Fuji, while the head shrine (Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha) is on the opposite side of the mountain in Fujinomiya.
This shrine has a rich history of over 1900 years, and is hidden in a dense forest. You will walk pass a long road with stone lanterns on both side before you rich the main shrine, which makes this place very peaceful and spiritual.
If you visit during Autumn months, you will also be able to see the beautiful maple trees and bright yellow Ginko trees, which makes this a great place for photographs.
TIPS: As Shrines are a very sacred place for Japanese people, please follow their rules strictly. Try to keep your voices down, and do not take photos of the Psychic without their permission. Even if you want to take photos of them, try not to take up too much of their time as they are actually in the midst of work.
Saiko Iyashinosato Nenba (西湖いやしの里根場)
Iyashinosato means “A Healing Village” in Japanese, and I think this is the perfect name for this place! This village is situated in Lake Saiko area, with Mount Fuji being its background. This area was once an area lined with thatched roof houses, but has slowly disappeared due to lack of maintenance. This village was created with the aim of reviving that traditional scene of a thatched roof village, and the city council has restored approximately 20 of these houses.
In each of these individual thatched roof houses, there are different activities on offer – such as traditional craft making , kimono trial experiences, galleries, shopping and of course places to fill your empty stomach.
TIPS: Be sure to plan at least half a day here. Even though there are only about 20 houses, but each activity could take up to 30 minutes to an hour.
Shiraito Falls (白糸の滝)
The Shiraito Falls is about 50 minutes car ride away from the Five Lakes of Mount Fuji, which is a but further away, however, it is definitely worth it, as this is ranked among the most beautiful waterfall in Japan. It is located in the southwestern foothills of Fujisan, this waterfalls has its source in Fujisan’s spring water. The fresh water off the curved rock wall measures about 20m high and 150m wide, and looks like vertically arranged thin strands of silk thread (Shiraito), hence the name given to this waterfall.
Along the area, there’s also another 25m deep fall called the Otodome Fall, which means a fall that stops the noise.
TIPS: It could get a bit chilly and wet here during Autumn months, so it is recommended to bring a wind breaker. There are little food stalls and souvenir stores along the way, be sure to check them out.
Kouyoudai Lookout (紅葉台の展望台レストハウス)
This look out is approximately 15 minutes away from Lake Kawaguhi, and it is one of the BEST PLACE to view Mount Fuji! The lookout is located on a mountain with no surrounding buildings, which means you get to view Mount Fuji with nothing in front of it.It is also a famous area to view the Maple Trees during the Autumn months, and if you are lucky enough, you may even be able to take some beautiful photos with red leaves and Mount Fuji as the background.
TIPS: The drive way/road to the lookout is CRAZY. It is very narrow, and you have the cliff on one side, and the mountain on the other. There are often times where you need to steel very very close to the edge in order to accommodate on-coming traffic. It is highly recommended to come here on a sunny day, and the drive is well experienced.
PS.Persimmons are in season during the Autumn months, and you will be able to buy both the fresh ones and dried ones at a very low cost along your way. Be sure to try some, they are super sweet!!