WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO AT LAKE KAWAGUCHI? WHICH ARE THE BEST VIEWPOINTS TO SEE MOUNT FUJI FROM LAKE KAWAGUCHI? WHERE TO STAY AT LAKE KAWAGUCHI?
When traveling in Japan, a day trip or weekend trip to Lake Kawaguchi to see Mount Fuji is simply a must! Lake Kawaguchi is located in a region called the Five Lakes.
Lake Kawaguchi is the most visited out of the 5 lakes (Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, Sai, Shoji and Motosu), partly because it is the most accessible by public transport from Tokyo.
This is one of our favorite places to visit in Japan. This area offers the best views of Mount Fuji! Most photos you’ve see about Mount Fuji come most likely from Lake Kawaguchi! This is one of THE MOST SCENIC spots in Japan.
Although many people will only visit Kawaguchiko during a day trip to see the main highlights, we recommend 2 full days to fully discover the area and to take your time to appreciate the views of Mount Fuji.
However, beware that there isn’t always a clear sky to see Mount Fuji. Sadly, it is often cloudy. Just be aware of that. We went there in Autumn and we got probably very lucky, as we had a beautiful weather with clear blue sky! It was STUNNING!
Lake Kawaguchi is also a popular places to see the sakura in spring.
Here is a glimpse of what to expect when visiting Lake Kawaguchi:
1. Start your visit at the famous Chureito pagoda for THE best view of Mount Fuji
We have many memories of our trip to Japan, however watching Mount Fuji from the Chureito Pagoda, was like a dream come true! We saw so many photos of this place before traveling to Japan and couldn’t wait to see it for ourselves!
And it did not disappoint, IT EVEN EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS!
Chureito pagoda is part of the Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine. To get to the pagoda a set of 400 steps awaits you! BE READY!
Remember to turn around regularly: the view gets prettier with each new step! Once at the top head to the viewing platform behind the Pagoda! Ta-Da! Here you have one of the viewpoint in the whole of Japan!
It’s just incredible.
Especially on a clear day with the Mount Fuji in the background.
Do check out the Arakura Fuji Sengen shrine before leaving. This is beautiful shrine nestled in the forest.
Admission fee: FREE
How to reach Chureito Pagoda?
If you have car, then it would be very easy. It’s a 10min drive. There is a pretty big parking once you arrive.
With public transportation, the easiest way is to take the train from Kawaguchi station and stop at Shimoyoshida Station. From there it’s a short walk to reach the shrine and Chureito pagoda.
2. Take Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, for another stunning view of Mt. Fuji at Lake Kawaguchi
This is another stunning view of Mount Fuji!
Take the ropeway at Lake Kawaguchi (beware there could be a long queue on weekend), and head to Kawaguchiko Tenjozan Park. This hillside park offers incredible view of Mount Fuji.
There is also a small shrine at the top: Tenjosan Komitake Shrine
The departure of the ropeway is right by the lake.
Admission: 900 yen for adults and 450 for children (round trip)
3. Enjoy a walk by Lake Kawaguchi
One of our favorite areas around Lake Kawaguchi to take a walk is around Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum (HERE). From this area there is a nice promenade along the lake with a direct view of Mount Fuji.
To complement this postcard view, there are lots of cherry trees, which is perfect during the Sakura season in spring, and lots of Mapple Trees (Momiji in Japanese), which turn in vivid yellow and red colors in autumn.
Enjoy a coffee at Cafe Mimi, right by the lake. The view from the terrace is stunning (location)!
4. Take plenty of great photos at Momiji Corridor
Still in the same area, continue your promenade all the way to the Momiji Corridor.
This is a wonderful place to enjoy the colorful autumn trees… there are red and yellow Momiji everywhere along a beautiful water canal.
This place is especially beautiful in Autumn. There is also a festival in Autumn around this area, with lots of stands serving many kind of different food.
This is another best things to see in Lake Kawaguchi.
5. Continue your visit at Oichi Park one of the best things to see at Lake Kawaguchi
This is one of the most famous viewpoint to see Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi! Make sure to check it out during your trip.
At Oichi park you can observe a gorgeous garden changing by the season. Another postcard moment in Lake Kawaguchi! This view is amazing!
There is also a souvenir shops and other shops selling local produce (sweet potatoes, grapes, vegetables, etc). There are also a few ice-cream stands (you gotta try ice creams in Japan, it’s really delicious).
6. Enjoy a boat tour at Lake Kawaguchi
Another best things to do in Lake Kawaguchi is to go on a boat tour.
On a sunny day you will have a wonderful view of Mt. Fuji from the lake. The boat company is Ensoleille Excursion Ship. You can board the ship from HERE.
Duration of the tour: ~20 minutes
Admission fee: 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children
Another fun activity on Lake Kawaguchi is to go on swan looking pedal boat. There are many places around the lake where you rent a pedal boat.
7. Visit Kawaguchi Asama Shrine (Tenku no torii), for one of the most scenic view of Mt. Fuji
This is one of the most instagrammable places around Lake Kawaguchi (check out this IG post). However to get there, you will need a car, or be prepared for a long uphill walk.
At the end, it’s all worth it! The view from up there is incredible.
There is a torii gate right in front of the viewpoint which makes it magical. And of course, you guessed it, in the background you can see the spectacular Mount Fuji!
However, don’t go there at midway, as the sun will be directly in front of you. Early morning or late afternoon would be much better to take photos!
We love the view from Tenku no torii. With Chureito Pagoda, this is one of our favorite viewpoints to see Mount Fuji.
Admission: there is a small donation box, as this shrine was placed on a private land.
At the bottom of the hill, don’t miss the visit of Kawaguchi Asama Shrine, the main temple. It’s an impressive and beautiful temple surrounded by massive trees! Worth a visit!
8. Visit the traditional and charming village of Iyashi no Sato, one of the best things to see near Lake Kawaguchi
A visit of the village of Iyashi no Sato is one of the best things to do at Lake Kawaguchi!
Iyashi no Sato is a village-museum located near Lake Kawaguchi. Here you can see traditional houses with thatched roofs.
It’s like an open air museum.
Everything at Iyashi no Sato is dedicated to local craft. The houses are home to workshops (washi paper, soba noodles, basketry), art galleries, restaurants, local craft shops (pottery, kimono, jewelry). It’s a nice place to spend half a day.
And the cherry on top of the cake, is that in the background you can see the beautiful Mt. Fuji. This is one of our favorite places to visit in Kawaguchi!
Admission: 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children
9. Explore an ice cave near Lake Kawaguchi
An Ice Cave? Yes, you read that right!
Head to Narusawa Ice Cave, near Lake Kawaguchi. Here you go deep down the cave to the see ice formation.
Prepare a jacket as it gets really cold down the cave. Some part of the cave are extremely low, you need to squat down to go through it. Once you reach the bottom of the cave you see lots of ice. It’s really interesting!
Visiting Narusawa Ice Cave is one of the best things to do around Lake Kawaguchi.
Admission: 350 yen for adults and 200 yen for children
Fugaku Wind Cave is another cave which can be visited near Narusawa Ice Cave. Winter is obviously the best time of the year to observe the ice inside the caves. Both caves are really impressive. Fugaku Wind Cave is slightly easier to explore.
10. Walk through Aokigahara Forest, near Narusawa Ice Cave
Aokigahara Forest is a very dense forest with several trails. The particularity of this forest is that it grew on top of lava flow from Mount Fuji after an eruption in 864.
Today visiting the Aokigahara Forest is one of the best things to do in Lake Kawaguchi.
Because of its dense landscapes, rocky volcanic soil, thousand-year-old trees and winding paths, Aokigahara Forest has the reputation of being cursed… It is even believed to have demons.
Those “legends” aside, this forest is absolutely stunning. Venture in one of the trails to enjoy a relaxed walk in the nature.
11. Learn more about sake at Ide Sake Brewery
Ever tried sake in Japan? Or ever wonder how sake is made?
Why not joining a Sake Brewery tour where you can also taste various sakes.
We recommend the Ide Sake Brewery at Lake Kawaguchi. This family owned brewery offer english guided tour and free tasting!
Reservation is required 1 day before, HERE.
12. Enjoy a delicious meal at Sanrokuen, a 150 years old restaurant at Lake Kawaguchi
To complete your visit of Lake Kawaguchi, enjoy a fantastic meal at one of the oldest restaurants in the area: Sanrokuen
This could well be one of the most traditional Japanese dining experience we had during our 2 months road trip. Everything is done the traditional way here. The food is super fresh and absolutely delicious!
We highly recommend this place if you are visiting Lake Kawaguchi. You won’t regret it.
13. Check out Oshino Hakkai village near Lake Kawaguchi
Oshino Hakkai Village is located between Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Yamanaka. This is one of our favorite places to visit in this area!
Make sure to check it out as this is one of the cutest places to visit in Japan!
At Oshino Hakkai Village, there are many scenic ponds, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and snacks around. The village is really cute and worth spending a few hours wandering through the various alleys and finding all the water ponds!
Deguchi Pond, Okama Pond, Choshi Pond, Sokonashi Pond, Nigori Pond, Waku Pond, Kagami Pond, and Shobu Pond, each with its own history of Fuji worship.
You can also combined your visit of Oshino Hakkai Village with Lake Yamanaka, which is another place with the best viewpoint of Mt. Fuji.
HOW TO GET TO OSHINO HAKKAI VILLAGE FROM LAKE KAWAGUCHI?
If you have car, then it will take around 20min to get there. There are plenty of parking spaces around the village.
By public transport from Lake Kawaguchi you can also catch a bus. It takes about 30min.
14. Enjoy a visit of Kawaguchi Forest Museum
There are many museums around Lake Kawaguchi. Our favorite one is Kawaguchi Forest Museum.
This museum is a beautiful place with a magical scenery. Especially on clear day when Mt. Fuji is visible.
The garden is our favorite part, especially the rose garden.
There is also a cool playground and show for kids, which makes it the perfect place to visit as a family.
Admission: 1800 yen for adults / 1200 yen for children
15. Relax at an onsen with a view of Mt. Fuji is one of the best things to do at Lake Kawaguchi after a full day of visit
Head to Fuji Yurari Hot Spring for one of the most beautiful onsen experience at Lake Kawaguchi. The outdoor onsen has a view of Mt. Fuji. The whole area is nestled deep in the nature.
We absolutely love this place.
This is a public onsen, meaning you do not need to stay at the hotel, you can simply buy a pass to access the onsen.
How to get to Lake Kawaguchi from Tokyo?
Three options are possible to get to Lake Kawaguchi from Tokyo.
Reach Kawaguchi by train
The train with the JR lines: From Shinjuku change trains at Otsuki station al the way to Kawaguchi. However, we do do recommend this option, as the train from Otsuki is very crowded.
Reach Kawaguchi by bus
Taking the bus from Tokyo is the cheapest and most practical option in our opinion. Not only can you book in advance on the Highway Bus website, but the bus is also direct! Just seat down and relax until you reach Kawaguchi.
Getting to Kawaguchi by car
If you have a car, or decided to rent a car during your visit of Japan, then you can easily get to Kawugachi. The journey from Tokyo takes about 1h30min (depending on traffic).
We highly recommend Nippon-Rent-A-Car in Japan when renting a car in Japan. We always use them, their service is top notch!
If you are a group of people traveling to Japan, it makes sense to hire a private transfer from Tokyo. This is a 1 day trip with a guide. The tour will take you around Kawaguchi and Hakone. This is the most efficient way if you only have 1 day to see Mt. Fuji. BOOK HERE
Join a tour group
Another efficient way to visit Lake Kawaguchi and Mt. Fuji’s best viewpoint is by joining a tour group by bus. We highly recommend this tour to see the best part of Mt. Fuji.
How to get around at Lake Kawaguchi?
The good part about traveling to Lake Kawaguchi, is that there are many public buses which will take to the main sights. The buses are very frequent too, which is very convenient!
There are three lines starting from Kawaguchiko Station: the red Kawaguchiko Line (buses every 20 minutes) runs along the eastern and northern shores.
The green Saiko Line (hourly) runs along the southern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko and around Lake Saiko.
The blue Narusawa Shojiko Motosuko Line (every 2-4 hours) serves Lake Shoiko and Lake Motosuko. A pass for unlimited use of all three lines on two consecutive calendar days costs 1500 yen.
If you only want to see the main highlights in a day, the red line would be sufficient!
How many days to visit Lake Kawaguchi?
We recommend 2 full days to cover the best things to see in Kawaguchi!
You can visit Kawaguchi during a day trip, which is very common from Tokyo, however, you will have to skip a few things!
Where to stay at Lake Kawaguchi? Which are the best hotels around Kawaguchi?
Fuji Lake Hotel (BEST SELLER)
Fuji Lake Hotel is one of the best hotels around Lake Kawaguchi. You can enjoy a private onsen with the view of Mt. Fuji! How cool is that?
The hotel is close to Kawaguchiko Station and just a few minutes walk to the bus stop. Which makes it a perfect place to stay if you do not have a car.
KORYU HOTEL (BEST VALUE)
In terms of best value for money, Koryu Hotel is the best option! This hotel is right by the lake and offer multiple onsen options. It is located walking distance to Mt. Fuji ropeway.
Perhaps the only con, is that there is no view of Mt. Fuji from the hotel. It didn’t bother us at all when staying there as we could see Mt. Fuji the whole day already.
Best time to visit Kawaguchi?
One of the main point for a visit of Kawaguchi is to see Mount Fuji. Now, beware that Mount Fuji is very often covered by a thick cloud… sadly.
However, you will have more chances to see Mt. Fuji in Winter or in the colder days of Autumn and Spring. But you can also have beautiful clear days in summer. It’s just that the humidity will be higher and the chances of being cloudy higher too.
All and all we recommend Spring for the Sakura and Autumn to see the fall foliage.
Other things to see near Lake Kawaguchi?
LAKE YAMANAKA FOR ANOTHER AMAZING VIEWPOINTS OF MT. FUJI
Lake Yamanaka is one of our favorite places to admire Mount Fuji.
This is another excellent day trip from Tokyo as it’s only located 1 hour from the capital. At Lake Yamanaka, besides the amazing view of Mount Fuji, you can do plenty of outdoor activities. Hike, Canoe, Cycling etc. It’s also a great spot for camping.
From Hakone, it takes about 1h to drive to Yamanaka. By public transportations it’s a tiny bit more complicated, as it takes about 3h. You will then to change bus twice.
HAKONE, ONE OF THE BEST PLACES IN JAPAN TO SEE MT. FUJI
Around Lake Ashi, you can also visit the famous and stunning Hakone Shrine, the Hakone Checkpoint and admire Mount Fuji of course!
A visit to Hakone is a must if your are in visiting in Japan. For people living in Tokyo, Hakone is also one of the best day trip or weekend trip from the capital
VISIT LAKE YAMANAKA NEAR MT. FUJI: here
15 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN HAKONE: here
10 BEST PLACES TO SEE MOUNT FUJI: here
VISIT NARAI-JUKU ALONG NAKASENDO: here
10 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN MATSUMOTO: here
FULL GUIDE FOR A VISIT OF TSUMAGO ALONG NAKASENDO: here
20 BEST THINGS TO VISIT IN HOKKAIDO: here
10 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN MONZEN-NAKACHO IN TOKYO: here
EXPLORE KAGURAZAKA, THE LITTLE PARIS OF TOKYO: here
BEST THINGS TO SEE IN KYOTO: here
20 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN OTARU, HOKKAIDO, JAPAN: here
OBUSE, A BEAUTIFUL TOWN IN JAPAN WORTH A VISIT: here
FULL GUIDE FOR VISITING HAKUBA IN JAPAN: here