Updated: Aug 24
Mount Fuji - Image by Thanapat Pirmphol
Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. Rising at 12,388 feet (3,776 meters), it stands on Honshu, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
It is regarded as sacred for many Japanese on the island whom maintain a strong sense of personal identification with this snow-capped mountain. Each summer they visit the shrine on its peak to worship.
But for the foreign tourists and local visitors, it’s not necessarily a spiritual journey that compels them to go up. Rather, its the beauty and austere grandeur of the almost perfect cone-shaped mountain that causes them to flock there.
Mount Fuji has served as a conquest for many travelers who visit the island of Japan. It is an incredible challenge to climb and will create an unforgettable memory, but doing so does not provide the best view of the mountain itself.
The climbing season lasts only from mid-July to the early part of September when the trail is free of snow. If you intend only to truly admire the marvelous sight, there are many vantage points surrounding the region from where you can get an unobstructed view of Mount Fuji.
Here are 10 sites in Japan to view Mount Fuji and behold its beauty from a distance.
The northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
On a clear day, you can even see a reflection of the mountain on the lake. In Lake Kawaguchiko, you won’t only enjoy the stunning view of Mount Fuji, you also get to experience other attractions surrounding the lake, like exploring the many museums, hiking, cycling, or go fishing.
Lake Kawaguchiko - Image by Ochii Kai
If you visit the city of Shizuoka, in southwest Japan; you can stand on the Nihondaira Plateau or at the Miho no Matsubara beach to enjoy the beauty of the mountain.
Bunkyo Civic Center in Tokyo
Atop the Bunkyo Civic Center on the observation deck on the 25th floor, you will encounter some good views of the city in general and if its a nice day without clouds- Mount Fuji. Best of all; its free to go up.
Mount Takao (Takaosan)
Less than an 1 hours ride by train from Tokyo, you can go to Mount Takao. At the observation deck near the cable car's top station you can get a good view of Mount Fuji from the summit of Takaosan as long as it's not a cloudy day. It's the closest natural recreational area with hiking trails from the center of Tokyo; so it can get pretty busy with visitors on weekends.
Mount Fuji at a distance as seen from Mount Takao - Image by Luke Lawreszuk
Lake Ashinoko in Hakone
At Ashinoko Lake, also known as "Lake Ashi", or Hakone Lake, you will not only see Mount Fuji but you get to visit a serene, scenic lake in Honshu, Japan. The lake was formed by a crater lake from a complex volcano which last erupted in 1170 CE at Owakudani. You will find it in the Hakone area of the Kanagawa Prefecture.
Mount Fuji view for Lake Ashinoko in Hakone - Image by Aunt Masako
Sitting on the mountainside that overlooks the city of Fujiyoshida you will find a 5 storied pagoda called the "Chureito Pagoda". It is part of the Arakura Sengen Shrine with nearly 400 steps above the main buildings of the shrine.
This location is a favorite for many photographers who want to capture iconic views scene in many magazines. Spring's cherry blossom's and Fall's autumn foliage create dramatic beautiful foregrounds with Mount Fuji in the distance.
Partial view of the Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji
Image by Svetlana Gumerova
The northern shore of Lake Yamanakako
The largest of the Fuji Five Lakes, you will find some of the best views of Mount Fuji along its northern shore because it is less developed. Many of its visitors go to Panorama Dai, an observation point half way up which is found on a small parking lot. It is there where you will be rewarded with views of the lake and Mount Fuji.
Oshino Hakkai at the northeast of Mount Fuji
In Oshino, there is a village part of the Fuji Five Lake region. It is there where you will find Oshino Hakkai's eight ponds that are popular with tourists. The ponds are between Lake Yamanakako and Lake Kawaquchiko where Mount Fuji's 6th lake once was several hundred years ago before it dried out. The ponds are filled by the melted snow melt from Mount Fuji which you can view while at the ponds.
Mount Fuji view from one of the Oshino ponds - Image by Nguyen TP Hai
Kachi Kachi Ropeway
Starting at the eastern shore of lake Kawaquchiko and ascending 400 meters upward to Mount Tenjo via The Mount Fuji Panoramic "Kachi Kachi" Ropeway. It has an observation deck where you will have panoramic views of mount Fuji and the lake below at 1000 feet above sea level.
You can also hike a trial from Mount Tenjo to Mount Mitsutoge, that offer good views of Mount Fuji as well. Its a popular day hike for those who visit.
Outside of southwest of Tokyo about 100 kilometers from the city you can go to the Izu Peninsula. There you will be able relax in the areas resorts popular hot springs, beautiful beaches along the coastline and view Mount Fuji from the western coast of the peninsula.
The above mentioned sites are just a few of the many from where you can capture a picture perfect view of the majestic Mount Fuji. Pick one or visit them all for a chance to discover the beauty of Mount Fuji from a different perspective.
Aside for actually going to a physical site to see Mount Fuji, there's always the possibility of capturing your best photo by air or sea.
Like so many other worldwide destinations, the first view you see of an iconic destination may be while you're flying into the airport. Without even planning you may get your first view of Mount Fuji. Planes often fly very close, or right above, the mountain. Domestic flights from the Haneda Airport to the western destinations in Japan can provide a vantage point from above.
A view of Mount Fuji from the air - Image by Gaddict
I am sure that you're visit will not be complete without boarding Japan's famous bullet train. On the Tokaido Shinkansen line that travels south of Mount Fuji, you also have the opportunity to take in a unique view from the trains windows as you whisk by seeing the mountain in the distance reaching speeds up to 199 mph (320 km/h).
Japan's bullet train passing by Mount Fuji - Image by Phuong Vu
With that in mind, we always recommend to plan your vacation around a certain season or event to get the most out of your vacation.
We highly recommend traveling to Japan during the Fuji Shibazakura Festival in spring, around mid-April to early June. Shibazakura literally means “cherry lawn” - but it actually refers to the pink carpet resulting from the blooming moss phlox. At this time the Shibazakura are in full bloom at the base of Mount Fuji.
Mid April is your best chance see the Cherry Blossoms and for autumn foliage, its recommended to visit in early November.
Aside from visiting these recommended viewing sites, their surroundings offer unique attractions as well.
Let us know if visiting Japan is in your travel plans to visit Mount Fuji.