Kawaguchiko is a beautiful resort destination in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, well-loved by locals and tourists alike. On perfectly clear and calm days, the image of Mt. Fuji reflected in the lake is simply magnificent. There are many things to do around the area, and the best way to get around to all the lovely sights would be with the sightseeing buses that run from Kawaguchiko station. It is most cost-effective to buy a pass that allows unlimited travel on all lines of the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing buses.
A most wonderful way to get started with sightseeing in the area would simply be to enjoy a walk by the lake and get a shot of Mt. Fuji up close. In all seasons, there are splendid photo opportunities to 'wow' your friends back home. For those who seek a little luxury, there are many excellent Japanese Ryokans (traditional inns) located around the lake. These traditional inns offer the best of Japanese hospitality, sumptuous meals, and of course, an excellent view of the lake and Mt. Fuji.
A little way from the lake, in Arakurayama-Sengen Park, is the fabled 5-storied Chureito Pagoda. The view of Mt. Fuji from Chureito Pagoda is iconic, especially during the prettiest seasons of Spring and Autumn, where the natural foliage perfectly completes the frame. To get up to Chureito Pagoda, it is possible to drive, but most visitors consider it a rite of passage to hike up the 398 stone steps that lead up to the top. The effort to reach the top makes the reward sweeter, as you take in the spectacular view for miles around. However, even with all the effort put in, capturing the dream shot is ultimately dependent on the weather conditions. Mt. Fuji is notoriously coy, and on many days, 'she' prefers to stay shrouded behind the clouds. During peak seasons, it would also be wise to make the extra effort to get an early start. This sightseeing spot is extremely popular, and long queues can form just to get up to the viewing deck.
There are quite a number of museums located in the Kawaguchiko area, but one of the more special ones would be the Itchiku Kubota Museum. The entire museum can be described as a work of art in itself. The architectural design of the museum is inspired by the work of the renowned artist Antoni Gaudí and is made with Okinawan coral and limestone in a unique and eclectic style. Within the museum is a collection of rare Kimonos that showcase the traditional art of silk dyeing. The main attraction would be ‘Symphony of Light’, an unfinished display of Kimono that depicts the ethereal beauty of Mt. Fuji. Within the museum is also a beautiful tea room where guests can enjoy tea and traditional sweets whilst looking out at a Japanese garden.
Also known as the Sea of Trees, the Aokigahara forest is a stunning natural landmark well worth exploring. The forest floor is made of hardened volcanic rock from the last major eruption of Mt. Fuji and absorbs sound well. This gives the impression of a deep sense of quiet within the forest. The forest vegetation is also dense, and visitors would do well to stick to clearly marked trails. The forest floor is covered with gnarly roots and an abundance of undergrowth and moss, but the walk through the forest is a very pleasant and peaceful one, with many interesting natural features to look at.
It is little wonder then, that Kawaguchiko is one of the top sightseeing spots in Japan. It offers numerous lovely natural sights as well as cultural icons. It is also well developed for tourist access, and convenient to get to from Tokyo. In fact, many tour companies offer day trips, so there is really no reason not to put Kawaguchiko on the map the next time you visit Japan!
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