Known as ‘Fuji-san’ in Japan, Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic places, and probably one of the first landmarks that comes to mind when you think of the country. Often topped with a layer of glistening snow, Mount Fuji is in fact a volcano, but that hasn’t stopped people visiting this perfectly-shaped mountain in their droves.
One of three sacred mountains in Japan, thousands visit the mountain each year as a pilgrimage, while others simply seek to hike to the summit and admire the views from the top. However you choose to enjoy the mountain, there are several things to do and places to visit in Mount Fuji while you’re there.
Image by JJ Ying
Hike to the top from the Fujinomiya 5th Station
The Fujinomiya 5th Station is the starting point of the Fujinomiya trail leading up Mount Fuji: the most direct, but the steepest, of four different trails up the mountain. Rocky and steep, you’ll need to set aside a whole day for scaling Mt Fuji, with the Fujinomiya route being the quickest way up, taking around 5 hours on the ascent and 3 for the descent. Thankfully, there are mountain huts so you can have a rest while taking on this challenging hike. This trail brings you 2,400m above the ground, and goes the highest out of the four trails, with the views both at the top and on the way making the climb well worth the hard work.
Visit the pretty village of Oshino Hakkai
Another of the most popular places to visit in Mount Fuji, located near the base of the mountain, is the scenic village of Oshino Hakkai. The Hakkai part of the village’s name translates as ‘eight seas’, and is characterised by its eight beautiful ponds, with lovely walkways and bridges crossing them. The rest of Oshino Hakkai is also extremely pretty, with its thatched roof houses, maple trees, water wheels, quaint gift shops and, on a clear day, stunning views over to Mount Fuji.
Hit the slopes at Snow Town Yeti
One of the top things to do in Mount Fuji in winter is of course to go skiing down its snow-topped slopes, and the mountain is home to two ski resorts: Fujiten and Snow Town Yeti. Snow Town Yeti is ideal for beginner skiers and snowboarders, with four runs to choose from, the two longest being a kilometre long. There is also a small park with jumps and rails for practising tricks in. Snow Town Yeti is also notable for being open for the ski season as early as October, with a band of snow cannons providing the resort with artificial but perfectly skiable snow.
Image by Catriona Palo
Admire the beauty of Lake Kawaguchiko
Lake Kawaguchiko is one of the famous Fuji Five Lakes, and is not only the easiest to reach but arguably the lake with the most spectacular views. Its views from the north shores towards the mountain, especially in spring, when the surrounding cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, make the lake one of the top Mt Fuji tourist attractions. Around Lake Kawaguchiko’s shores, there are plenty of great places to visit, including niche museums, which span everything from gemstones to silks, hot springs, and lakeside hotels where you can wake up to the best views of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchiko.
Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum
A one-of-a-kind musical theme park, set near the banks of Lake Kawaguchiko, the Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum is one of the more unique things to do in the Mt Fuji area. Designed in a European Alpine style, with views over to the mountain in the distance, wander through the forests and gardens before entering the music halls to marvel at enormous organs, antique music boxes and automated instruments. Don’t miss the variety of shows offered at the museum, which include an opera performance accompanied by the automated instruments, a fountain show in the rose garden and the unique sand art show.
Marvel at the Narusawa Ice Cave and Fugaku Wind Cave
The might of Mount Fuji extends underground too, where its volcanic eruptions through the millennia have created beautiful caves well worth exploring. After a walk through the Aokigahara Forest, a forest formed on top of a layer of lava, you can begin your descent into the Narusawa Ice Cave and the Fugaku Wind Cave. Once used to store ice before the invention of refrigerators, the Narusawa Ice Cave is still lined with huge blocks of ice today. The Fugaku Wind Cave meanwhile was used to store the cocoons of silk worms, and offers its visitors sights such as lava shelves and pillars of ice during the 15-minute walk through the cave.
Arakuyama Sengen Park
You may not recognise it by name, but the Arakuyama Sengen Park, found halfway up Mt Arakura in Fujiyoshida City, is one of the best and most-photographed viewpoints to see Mt Fuji from. What helps make the perfect shot is the park’s shrine and its towering red pagoda. Combine the pagoda with Mount Fuji in the distance and the pink petals of the cherry blossoms found in the spring, and you have the perfect photo of three Japanese icons in one shot. With a view this incredible, the 398 steps you need to climb to reach the shrine are worth the effort.
Discover Mount Fuji and the highlights of Japanese
Mount Fuji is even more stunning in real life than it is in the photos, and to see it up close truly is a memorable experience. On this tour visiting the main highlights of Japan, you’ll not only get to stay in the Mount Fuji area and admire the beautiful sights, but also visit many of Japan’s other top destinations, including the historic city of Kyoto, the buzzing capital of Tokyo and the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go.
If you’ve already got your trip to Japan booked and are looking for more advice for your trip, take a look at our tips for first-time visitors to Japan, including travel tips, etiquette guidance and more.