How to See Mt. Fuji (Without Climbing It)

How to See Mt. Fuji (Without Climbing It)

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Mt. Fuji seen from Shizuoka
Picture: Yoshitaka / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
Thanks to overtourism, climbing Mt. Fuji is tougher than ever. Here are some less taxing alternative viewing locations.

Japan’s Mt. Fuji is a popular tourist destination. These days, it’s a little too popular. Fortunately, there are other locations where you can get spectacular views of the mountain with less effort.

Mt. Fuji’s tourist problem

Picture: よっちゃん必撮仕事人 / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Located in Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures, Mt. Fuji towers 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) above Japan’s Kanto region. On a clear day, you can see it from numerous locations, including Tokyo.

Given its prominence and beauty, it’s no surprise that one of the most popular tourist activities in Japan is hiking the mountain. However, Japan’s tourist boom has hit Fuji hard.

With so many people wanting to climb Fuji, this year’s climbing season was congested and chaotic. To address the issues, Yamanashi’s governor has proposed installing a light rail system to guide passengers up to the mountain’s fifth station. Other proposals include introducing reservation systems for climbers.

There are also safety issues. Many climbers, tempted to catch the sunrise from the summit, push themselves to hike overnight. (Prefectural officials recommend people make camp at one of the huts maintained for climbers.) These “bullet climbers” put themselves at risk and are also taxing the mountain’s understaffed support system.

Enjoying Fuji from a distance

That said, you can enjoy Mt. Fuji plenty without hazarding this huge hike. Just going near the mountain in either Yamanashi or Shizuoka Prefectures will yield some spectacular views. If you want a more scenic view, several spots are popular among tourists and locals alike.

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Arakurayama Sengen Park (新倉山浅間公園)

Arakumayama Sengen Park
Picture: genki / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

This spot needs little introduction. If you’ve seen pictures of Japan, you’ve seen the pagoda at Arakurayama Sengen Park with Fuji looming large and in charge in the background. The observation platform for these views is a small (<10 minute) hike up a winding road. On a clear day, the view of Fuji is breathtaking.

Be warned this is a very popular tourism spot, so you’ll be dealing with crowds. Doubly so if you fancy a visit during cherry blossom season in March/April. This is the time to go for the most scenic views, though, as the park’s 650 cherry trees will be in full bloom.

Mishima Skywalk (三島スカイウォーク)

Mishima Skywalk

If you’re looking for something ridiculously fun and tourist-y to do while seeing Mt. Fuji, Mishima Skywalk is right up your alley. Billing itself as Japan’s longest suspension bridge, the bridge itself offers wonderful views of the mountain. Mishima Skywalk also sponsors a number of other tourist activities, including a “forest athletics” adventure, Segway rides, dune buggy riding, and fine dining.

Lake Kawaguchi/Fuji’s five lakes (河口湖)

Lake Kawaguchi and Mt. Fuji
Picture: まちゃー / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Another option is to find a spot near one of the five lakes of Mt. Fuji – Kawaguchi, Motosu (本栖湖), Shoji (精進湖), Sai (西湖), and Yamanaka (山中湖) – and drink in the natural beauty. On bright, clear days, Fuji reflects in the lake like a mirror, creating a tranquil and breathtaking scene. There are multiple parks and grassy areas along the lake suitable for viewing, making it easier to find a location to relax even during peak tourist times.

Fuji Panorama Ropeway (富士山パノラマロープウェイ)

Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway

Another busy attraction – but one worth the effort! – is the Panorama Ropeaway gondola in Yamanashi Prefecture. The gondola ascends 1,075 meters up the mountain to provide a 360-degree view of Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi, and the surrounding area. On a good day, you can also see the Minami Alps, a mountain range extending across Yamanashi, Nagano, and Shizuoka Prefectures.

Nihondaira Yume Terrace (日本平夢テラス)

Nihon Daira Yume Terrace, Shizuoka Prefecture

Located in Shizuoka Prefecture, Nihondaira is a plateau that sits about 307m above sea level. It provides viewing, not just of Mt. Fuji, but also of the Minami Alps and the surrounding area.

Nihondaira Yume Terrace is a beautiful structure in its own right. It’s even more beautiful when the sky is clear and you can see Mt. Fuji and the surrounding area. Open 9 to 5 (9 to 7 on Saturdays), the Terrace is free for anyone to visit.

Oshino Hakkai (忍野八海)

Oshino Hakkai in Yamanashi Prefecture
Picture: まちゃー / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Lake Oshino, formed by underground water from Mt. Fuji, offers a spectacular view of the mountain from Yamanashi Prefecture. Winter snowfall provides some especially attractive scenery juxtaposed with the snowy mountaintop. The village of Oshinomura also offers other sightseeing attractions and lodging. Sadly, most of the information the village prints for tourists appears to be in Japanese. (But contact us and we can assist you in finding accommodations and putting together a tour plan!)

Tenkachaya (天下茶屋)

Built in 1933 (Showa 8), Tenkachaya is famous as the location where Japanese novelist Daizu Osamu stayed while writing his novel Fugaku Hakkei. Located along Highway 137, Tenkachaya remains a popular tourist location where visitors can enjoy a tranquil cup of tea. Some seats also offer premium viewing of Mt. Fuji.

Panorama Platform (パノラマ台)

This little spot is only accessible by vehicle on Highway 730 but offers stunning views of both Lake Yamanaka and Mt. Fuji. You can only fit about 10 cars at a time here, though, so it’s something of a dice roll. But if you’re touring Yamanashi by car, this is a nice place to drive by to see if you can’t sneak a gaze.

Seeing the mountain from Tokyo

What if you don’t have time to get out to Yamanashi or Shizuoka? No worries – there are still several spots from which you can catch Fuji on a nice day from within Tokyo’s 23 wards.

One easily accessible spot for most travelers? The observation deck at Haneda Airport’s Terminal 3. If you didn’t get a chance to catch Fuji while you were in Tokyo, you still have an opportunity to gaze upon it before you ship back home.

Haneda Airport Terminal 3

Depending on the day, both Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower provide views of the magnificent Mt. Fuji. Both are also great tourist destinations in their own right, with Skytree sporting an aquarium, restaurants, and special events such as night viewing tickets.

Skytree and Mt. Fuji at night

There are also several hills scattered around the city where you can get a glimpse of the mountain. One of them is even named for the practice: Fujimi-zaka (富士見坂) in Meguro, which you can reach by going to Meguro Station and walking towards Ebisu Garden Place.

Sources

富士山が望めるオススメ撮影スポット24選(東京、神奈川、山梨、静岡). Matcha JP

富士山が見える絶景スポット26選!きれいな写真が撮れるおすすめも【関東・東海】. Jalan

富士山を眺めるならここ!おすすめの絶景スポット9選. Relux Journal

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Jay Allen

Jay manages the technical writing practice for ercule, an SEO, content strategy and analytics firm. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

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