Mount Fuji's Five Best Landscape Locations

Mount Fuji's Five Best Landscape Locations

I have been visiting the surrounding areas of Mt. Fuji for the last ten years and here are my five best landscape locations.

I would have to say the easiest way to get around quickly is in a hire car. Most of the best viewing points are from the lakes and hill tops. The distances to each lake with public transport are far and not frequently available. Most tourist take a day trip from Tokyo but I would suggest an over night stay. This will give you a chance to catch a sunset and sunrise. Mountain weather can be very unpredictable so be prepared to have heavy cloud cover on Mt. Fuji. Here is a link to check live web cams in many key locations. I usually go in autumn or spring to capture the beautiful autumn leaves and cherry blossoms. There are many other points of interest to shoot so here are some suggestions worth exploring. 

Mt.  Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi

Lake Kawaguchi at dusk.

Google Map  Route

Google Map Route of Five Lakes

Kawaguchiko

On the northern shore you are certain to find great vantage points from Oishi Park in autumn or spring. Be prepared to run into crowds of tourists looking for the best trees with cherry blossoms or Cypress leaves. If you are looking for some nice light then early morning or late afternoon in the golden hours are perfect up to 2 hours before sunset or after sunrise. Keep in mind that the sun drops earlier out of view as surrounding mountains can block off the sun rays. Sunrise and sunset times vary through out the year so best to check using Google Earth or special apps like Photo Pills, Sun Surveyor, or Ephemeris to name a few.

Mt. Fuji

View of Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi

Saiko

If you continue driving along the shoreline heading on Kohoku View Line road you will go through a tunnel to see Saiko immediately after. Saiko Nebahama parking lot is the best spot to stop for a view looking back at Mount Fuji. There are great leading lines that can be used with all the colorful canoes and fishermen dotted along the banks.

Lake Saiko

Mt. Fuji view from Lake Saiko

Shojiko

Only a 12 minute drive from Saiko will take you to a campsite along the western shoreline. I would suggest a mid afternoon drive to be able to access all three lakes as quickly as possible. Many city slickers escape to these areas for a weekend camping of rest and relaxation. 

Lake Shoji

Mt. Fuji View from Lake Shoji

Yamanakako

Since this lake is on the eastern side of all the five lakes, I would suggest going here in the morning after a sunrise shot at Chureito Pagoda. The weather can be quite unpredictable as seen in the image below which was shot in early April of 2017. I was expecting some cherry blossoms but instead I got snow and some white swans.

Lake Yamanaka

Mt. Fuji View from Lake Yamanaka

Chureito Pagoda

This is the iconic pagoda on a hilltop facing Mount Fuji in Arakurayama Sengen Park that's reached via 398 steps. This should get your heart pumping and build up your appetite before breakfast. Tripods and drones are not allowed up here. In the distance you can sometimes hear the defense force training with gunfire and canons. Every morning senior citizens make the the climb and do their daily exercises; what a beautiful day to start each day.

Chureito Pagoda

Mt. Fuji views from Chureito Pagoda

Other Points of Interest

Shiraito Falls

The Shiraito Falls (白糸の滝, Shiraito not Taki) are located in the southwestern foothills of Mount Fuji. Ranked among the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan, the 150 meter wide cascade is fed by the volcano's spring water and flows off the edge of a 20 meter high cliff in thin white streams that resemble hanging threads of silk — hence its name. The base of the waterfall is easily accessible from the road via a walking trail in just a few minutes. If it is a clear day you might be able to see Mount Fuji just above the waterfall.

Shiraito Falls

Shiraito Falls

Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

Lake Ashinoko (芦ノ湖, Ashinoko) was formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone after the volcano's eruption 3,000 years ago. Today, the lake with Mount Fuji in the background is the symbol of Hakone. The lake's shores are mostly undeveloped except for small towns in the east and north and a couple of lakeside resort hotels.

Lake Ashinoko

Mt. Fuji Views from Lake Ashinoko

Have you visited Mount Fuji? What are your favorite locations? Share in the comments below.

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23 Comments

Guilherme Checchia's picture

Awesome post!
My dream is to visit Japan!

user-156929's picture

I've photographed it from all five lakes but my favorite photo is from the dock, outside my hotel one morning.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Beautiful! Which lake and hotel?

user-156929's picture

Tanukiko lake, Kyuukamura Fuji hotel.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Excellent location. It is only 10 minutes drive from Shiraito Falls.

Tony Clark's picture

Beautiful images, I worked in Japan for seven months and loved it. I shot this image with one of those Fuji disposable film cameras back in ‘90. We were shooting a Mazda job on a lake near Mt Fuji at sunrise. I only regret that I didn’t have a proper camera.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Thanks for your kind comment. Your image looks great! It has an ambience hard to capture. Japan is waiting for you!

One more for the list. The top of Kita Dake, Japan’s 2nd highest mountain, nestled in the Southern Alps.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Awesome location and surreal clouds; thanks! How long is the walk up?

You can hike up (straight up) from the nearest trailhead in an afternoon to half-day. There’s a shelter just below the peak to lay your mat and get a meal so you can catch the sunset and sunrise the next morning. As others have noted, there are other great spots along the alps, but this is one of the “easier” ones to reach.

Those places are nice but a bit overused. Many other interesting place to check Fuji from.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Where? Sublime image.

Was in Yamanashi prefecture, just stopped somewhere in a mountain road and there it was this incredible view. Sorry I don't know the exact name of the place.

Jordan McChesney's picture

I've been to Kawaguchiko twice, since it's just about 3 hours away from where I live. A local inn owner told me about a location that most tourists don't know, since it's so far from where most of them stay. It provides a perfect reflection during sunrise and you get to see Fuji in all of its glory. If you ever go here, I recommend seeking out "Nagasaki Park" and get there well before sunrise for the reflection (known as "sakasa Fuji" here in Japan -- 逆さ富士). I also have another spot from Kawaguchiko, if you don't mind another photo being added.

There is also a "secret" waterfall, only 35 minutes from the lake that even many locals don't know, called Haha no Shirataki(母の白滝). It's a great location for intimate landscape photography, when it's partially frozen. I have a picture in my profile, I'm not sure if I should post it here because it's not Fuji, and I don't want to fill the comments with unrelated photos.

There is another location I want to go, in Shizuoka, where you can get a shot of Fuji with a long highway as a leading line. I'm planning to go there next year. If I do, perhaps I'll come back here and post a photo, haha.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Marvelous shot and fabulous advice. I really enjoy sharing and learning from others.Are these correct locations?

Haha no shirotaki
母の白滝 (Mother's White Waterfall)

https://goo.gl/maps/wuBWrifeHLK2

Is this the Highway location?,薩埵峠
Yuinishikurasawa, Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka.

https://goo.gl/maps/QBk8A9K3NNM2

Jordan McChesney's picture

Yup, those are the locations!

Alfonso Calero's picture

45 minute drive from the Highway location in Shizuoka is a beach shot looking back at Mt. Fuji from here https://goo.gl/maps/Xgcqo9pDsUM2

Jordan McChesney's picture

We have some good spots like that in Kanagawa as well, however, between high waves, strong winds, and clouds, I haven't been able to get a shot. I'll be heading down there in December to try again!

Earlier in the morning. Taken from this place.
https://goo.gl/maps/PXmvB1nYXso

Alfonso Calero's picture

Fabulous shot and location. ありがとう

Alex Wolf's picture

I've always had a weak spot for cyan in the highlights and oranges in the shadows complementary color scheme. There's something about it that clicks so well. Great taste.

Alfonso Calero's picture

Thanks! FYI, I split toned in Lightroom an olive green with a lavender color. The wood block prints of Hiroshige is where I get my inspiration from.