If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, you’d be remiss if you skipped Mount Fuji, which is only 60 miles outside the city. At 12,380 feet, Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. It’s technically an active volcano, though Mount Fuji’s last eruption was in 1707. An equally popular attraction for both foreign tourists and Japanese citizens, Mount Fuji is a revered symbol of Japanese culture, to the extent that it’s referred to as “Fujisan,” to show the sacred mountain respect. For the best view of Mount Fuji, there is no one right answer. Instead, we’ve compiled our absolute favorite views of Mount Fuji for your next Japan trip:
Lake Yamanaka, Yamanashi Prefecture
Yamanaka is the largest of Mount Fuji’s five lakes, sitting farthest to the east of the mountain. One of the uncontested best views of Mount Fuji is seen from the center of Lake Yamanaka. You can take a boat tour when the weather’s nice, and from the middle of the lake, you’ll get a clear shot of the mountain and see its reflection in the water. Alternately, just head right up to the shores and walk out onto the dock—the view’s perfect. You can also cycle around Lake Yamanaka, stopping at various viewpoints around the lake to catch Mount Fuji from different angles.
HOSHINOYA Fuji, Yamanashi Prefecture
HOSHINOYA Fuji is perched on Lake Kawaguchi. Of Fuji’s five lakes, Kawaguchiko is the lake that’s home to the most luxurious hotels skirting Mount Fuji. HOSHINOYA Fuji offers breathtaking views of Mount Fuji from every single room. In the morning, HOSHINOYA Fuji will serve you a breakfast box of homemade goodies and a thermos of tea or coffee, which you can enjoy on your deck while taking in the view of Mount Fuji. If it’s a cold morning, bundle up in the resort-provided coat. And in the evenings, light your patio’s fireplace and try to make out the hazy perimeter of Mount Fuji beneath the moon’s light.
Rooftop of Mount Fuji Station, Yamanashi Prefecture
A largely unheard of and budget-friendly view of Mount Fuji: the train station as you leave town. Whether you’re catching a train back to Tokyo, heading to Fujiyoshida City on the Fujikyu Highland railway, or taking the direct bus from Fujisan Station to Narita Airport, show up a bit early to see the rooftop lounge. When you get to Fujisan Station, just take the elevator to the rooftop deck. On a clear day, you’ll have a direct view of Mount Fuji.
Chureito Pagoda, Yamanashi Prefecture
Crowds of tourists venture to Chureito Pagoda during cherry blossom season. The pagoda is part of Arakura Sengen Shrine, though its perch 400 steps above the shrine makes it an even better Fuji vantage point. In mid-April, you’ll have an unobstructed view of Mount Fuji amidst the cherry blossom expanse from Chureito Pagoda. Chureito Pagoda looks down on Fujiyoshida City, and if you aren’t visiting in April during the blooming season, don’t be discouraged—it’s a sensational experience on any clear day.
Miho Beach, Shizuoka Prefecture
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Miho Beach is on the west coast of Suruga Bay. The beach itself is a unique sight—it’s a dark pebbled beach lined with pine trees. Miho Beach stretches for more than a mile on a Suruga Bay peninsula. While most Fujisan viewpoints are in Yamanashi Prefecture, Miho Beach is in Shizuoka Prefecture, which is technically where Mount Fuji sits. While you’ll, per usual, need a clear day for a great Mount Fuji view, the trek to Miho Beach pays off because the pebbled and tree-lined foreground makes for an out-of-the-ordinary Mount Fuji viewing experience.
Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
The town of Hakone sits right on Lake Ashinoko, known for its peaking views of Mount Fuji. Seeing Mount Fuji from Hakone is not a close-up view, but a full-on panorama isn’t always the vantage point winner. The sight of Mount Fuji from Lake Ashi—which, by the way, is not one of Mount Fuji’s five lakes—is framed by smaller mountains and trees, making for a delightful fall or spring view. In the fall, the foliage framing Mount Fuji is just perfect, and in mid-April, if you’re lucky enough to catch Mount Fuji in the background with stray cherry blossoms in the foreground, it’s quite a photo op. Hakone is an onsen (hot spring) resort town, a popular escape from Tokyo. Moto Hakone is a famous Mount Fuji viewpoint on the southern shore of Lake Ashinoko.
Lake Shoji, Yamanashi Prefecture
Of Fuji’s five lakes, Shojiko is the smallest and some consider it the under-the-radar best place to see Mount Fuji. The western shores of Lake Shoji are an ideal place to capture a sunset picture of Mount Fuji. The way the sun hits the snow capped peak as it sets illuminates the mountain with an array of colors you don’t want to miss. And if you want to sing for your supper, there’s a Lake Shoji hike to Panorama-Dai (two hours out and back) that leaves from the parking lot next to Shojiko Campground and brings hikers to a stunning look-out.