Mt Fuji Dreaming
Road Trips to Japan’s Awe Inspiring Volcano
Japan’s icon, Mt Fuji, offers a variety of inspiring view points, all very different in each season and so much to be discovered in between.
Mt Fuji is best viewed from two prefectures, Shizuoka and Yamanashi. Whichever direction you choose, you’ll find historical villages, friendly towns, onsen hot springs, tasty seasonal delicacies and even mega outlet malls.
Best of all, you’ll be treated to amazing views of “the Belle of Japan” along the way from your car windows. Don’t forget to stop along the way and peacefully gaze at Fuji-san. You never know, you may be inspired to pen a haiku, a song or a short story.
Here are our recommended Mt Fuji road trips that you won’t want to miss.
Fuji Five Lakes
Time: approx. 2–2.5 hours (depending on traffic and final destination)
The “Fujigoko” are known for their breathtaking viewing spots of Mt Fuji, as well as offering hiking, SUP, kayaking, windsurfing and fishing. There are also plenty of hot springs and museums, along with Fuji Q Highland, one of Japan’s most popular amusement parks.
Kouan – Lake Motosuko (google map) | Website | Instagram
Camp right on Lake Motosuko for stunning views of Mt Fuji. This campground attracts camping enthusiasts so people can be a little sensitive about noise, especially late at night. Be sure to catch the spectacular sunrise!
Fumotoppara Campground (google map) | Website | Instagram
Expansive open grasslands with sweeping views of Mt Fuji. A great place to potentially mingle with other campers and share a drink. We particularly suggest the fields closest to Mt Fuji for the best uninterrupted views.
Alternatively, check out the nearby Asagiri Jamboree Auto Camping Ground for a similar vibe.
Retreat Camp – Mahoroba (google map) | Website | Instagram
A smaller, little known and more private campground. Elevated, beautiful views over Lake Kawaguchi to Mt Fuji. It may be a little more expensive, but it has very nice facilities and service.
Hottarakashi Camping Field (google map) | Website | Instagram
A little further away, this is an awesome elevated campground that looks over the city below and offers glimpses of Mt Fuji in the distance. Not to be missed here is the amazing onsen hot spring, a short walk across from the campsite offering sweeping cliffside views.
One of the most popular campgrounds in the area, so you really need to book ahead or be very lucky for last minute bookings!
Other campgrounds we like or want to try
Nishinoumioto Camping Ground
Lake Shoji Boat Club (free with a basic toilet nearby)
Jiyu Camping Ground
Motosuko Ikoinomori Camping Ground
Star Meadows Fujigane Kogen Campground
Asagiri Jamboree Auto Camping Ground
Kurosaka Auto Camping Ground
Mt Fuji Viewing Spots:
Lake Motosu: The northern shore near Motosumichi Parking Lot is where the image on the 1000-yen bill was taken. Pull out your 1000-yen bill and get that “reveal” video.
Arakurayama Sengen Park: Imagine an elevated park accessible by stairs leading to the cherry blossoms in spring, a pagoda and dramatic views of Mt Fuji for that extra “only in Japan” memory.
Saiko Nenba-hama: Mt Fuji Picnic Spot, a good little spot to take a break and take a photo with your overlander with Mt Fuji in the background.
Other notable spots: There are literally hundreds of viewing spots and that’s part of the experience – finding your own unique viewpoint. But our favorites are on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi – Oishi Park, Panorama Dai, and Yuyake no Nagisa Park, especially in autumn.
** Visibility tends to be best in the early mornings (usually before 9am) and in the late afternoons. Clouds often obstruct the view during daytime, even on days with fair weather, and especially during the hazy summer months.
Saiko Iyashi-no-Sato Nemba is a former farming village turned open-air museum, situated not far from the shores of Lake Saiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. Its quaint countryside setting provides an ideal photo op, with the towering Mt Fuji acting as a backdrop to charming traditional thatched houses.
Oshino Hakkai is a small, touristy village northeast of Mt Fuji between Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Yamanaka. Enjoy views of the iconic mountain together with the thatched roofs.
From near Lake Kawaguchi, take the Mt Fuji Panoramic Ropeway to an observation point near Mt Tenjo’s summit. Ride the giant swings at the Mt Tenjo observation deck and feel like you’re flying towards Japan’s national treasure.
Note, the swings are only open 10am–11am and 1pm–2pm daily. There’s extra sessions on weekdays (2:30pm–3pm), and weekends and holidays (2:30pm–4pm). You’ll need to purchase a ticket (500 yen per person) at the adjacent Tanuki Tea House.
Shiraito Falls, which is found on the southwestern side of Mt Fuji in a national park, is a 150-meter-wide cascade fed by the volcano’s spring water and flows off the edge of a 20-meter-high cliff. The waterfall’s base is a few minutes’ walk from the road via a walking trail.
Yurari is a day-use public onsen hot spring complex near Lake Kawaguchi. Day use is 1,300 yen including rental towels. (10am–10pm)
Private baths with views of the mountain are also available (60 minutes, 2,000 yen).
Hottarakashi Onsen is a day use public open-air onsen facility high up in the mountains north of Kofu city. Just a short walk from the Hottakarashi Camping Field, not to be missed is the sunrise session. Day use is 1,000 yen including towels. (4:30am–10pm)
Mifuji-en is a hotel located by Lake Kawaguchi and offers an onsen bath with a great panoramic view of the lake and majestic Mt Fuji. The onsen is also open to daytime bathers (1pm–8pm) for 1,200 yen including rental towels.
Kyukamura FUJI is a hotel located in the corner of Lake Tanuki and offers an onsen bath with an ambient view of Mt Fuji over the lake. The onsen is also open to daytime bathers (11am–1:30pm) for 1,200 yen including towels.
Favourite Food & Drink
Here are some places we have heard good things about. Remember if you find something special, do tell us so we can share the love.
Soba Ikkanjin そばの実 一閑人 is a hidden Soba restaurant found near Kyukamura Fuji onsen. Try their chewy buckwheat soba noodles in the salt broth. Get there early and expect to wait during busy periods. Closed tuesdays (11am–2pm weekdays, 11am–2pm / 5:30pm–7pm fridays & weekends)
Sugeez west-lake 西湖店 is a homestyle burger restaurant offering peaceful nature views and an outside terrace. A good variety of uniquely named burgers and sides to indulge in. Open for lunch (11am–4pm)
Moose Hills Burger is a craft burger restaurant offering lean aussie beef burgers in a welcoming wood cabin environment. The burgers are large with various topping options and a good drink selection. You might need to wait during busy periods and they have a faster take away option available. Open for lunch and dinner (11am–3:30pm / 5:30pm–7:30pm weekdays & 11am–3:30pm / 5:30pm–8:30pm weekends)
Shaved Ice 信水堂 is a gourmet kakigori (shaved ice) cafe offering a selection of impressive desserts all made from local Mt Fuji natural mineral water. Fluffy like a cloud – the tiramisu and coffee option sounds good to us! They have a reservation system or be prepared to wait. Open daily (11am–4:30pm)
CISCO Coffee シスコ（カフェ）is a boutique cafe offering coffee made from roasted beans imported from San Francisco with other sweet and savory snacks to enjoy. Plenty of parking and outdoor seating where you can look over Lake Kawaguchiko. Open daily (9:30am–5pm)
icci KAWARA COFFEE LABO is a boutique cafe set in beautiful modern traditional Japanese surroundings offering coffee and a wife range of surprising treats. Try the bamboo charcoal latte and scones! Open Terrace seating and hammocks for a sunny day chill-out. Open daily (10am–7pm)
Returning to Tokyo in the afternoon or evening, especially on Sundays or public holidays can take longer than expected due to traffic. Be sure to check traffic conditions as you go.