10 Places to Visit in Lake Kawaguchiko for a Fun Time Near Mt. Fuji

The tranquil beauty of Lake Kawaguchiko has been inspiring people in Japan for hundreds of years. Nowadays, Lake Kawaguchiko is no longer just a pretty view – the area also boasts a wide variety of attractions, from stunning Mt. Fuji panoramas to thrilling rides at Fuji-Q Highland. In this article, we’ll introduce 10 of the best places to visit in Lake Kawaguchiko, plus some recommended activities, foods, accommodation, and more!

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What Sort of Place Is Lake Kawaguchiko?

Lake Kawaguchiko is located in Yamanashi Prefecture, less than a two-hour train ride from Tokyo. It is the second largest of the Fuji Five Lakes, which is the collective name for the group of lakes found at the base of Mt. Fuji. The Fuji Five Lakes were formed from lava that flowed out of Mt. Fuji to the foot of the Misaka Mountains, creating multiple spots with sunken ground that became giant lakes and rivers. These were further shaped and dammed up by continued eruptions over the following millennia, crafting the landscape we see today. Lake Kawaguchiko is also a part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site, making it one of the most notable spots in Japan.

Kawaguchiko Station, the area’s main transport hub, can be reached directly from Tokyo, and offers easy access to many of the main interest points via train or bus. The wealth of attractions, hotels, restaurants, hot springs, shops, and activities that surround Lake Kawaguchiko mean you don’t have to go far to find fun and relaxation. From the fleeting beauty of spring and fall to the dusting of snow in winter and bustling Mt. Fuji climbing period in summer, Lake Kawaguchiko’s stark seasonal transformations ensure there’s always something fresh and exciting, making it worth visiting again and again.

10 Places to Visit in Lake Kawaguchiko

Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway: Superb Views of Lake Kawaguchiko

The Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway is one of the easiest and most fun ways to enjoy 360-degree, unobstructed panoramas over Lake Kawaguchiko.

The cable car ride lasts about 3 minutes and ascends to Kawaguchiko Tenjozan Park, which also has a 1,075-meter-high observation deck with splendid Mt. Fuji vistas. Also in the park is a swing set, where you can take photos that appear as if you’re leaping into Mt. Fuji, along with a mini-shrine themed around rabbits, a monument to the acclaimed author Osamu Dazai, and plenty of other highlights to check out, plus trails for those hiking.

The Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway is also one of the many stops on the Mt. Fuji Flower Festival Tour. The tour wraps up here for a picturesque end to the day after all-you-can-eat seasonal fruit-picking, tours of local flower and herb festivals, a lunch of hoto noodles at Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station, and more.


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Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum: Get Lost in the Sounds of Automatic Musical Instruments

Music-lovers will no doubt have the Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum high on their “Kawaguchiko things to do” list! The museum’s quaint European-style building features a collection of magnificent automatic musical instruments dating back to the early 1900s, including an orchestrion originally designed for the Titanic!

Performances of these automatic instruments take place daily when open, in addition to weekly live operas, lunchtime musical festivities, and other entertaining productions, usually concentrated on weekends. The museum shop stocks a selection of delightful music boxes, including those with Studio Ghibli and Edo Period designs. This Kawaguchiko tourist spot is also adored for its colorful gardens, which include one of Japan’s best rose gardens, and were painstakingly designed to have flowers blooming all year round. During the winter months, a glittering garden illumination takes over the scene once the sun goes down.

Chureito Pagoda: The Definitive Picture of Japan

Look up photos of Mt. Fuji, and you’re guaranteed to see the Chureito Pagoda. This five-storied pagoda is a timeless Japanese icon and a must-see for travelers seeking the ultimate Japan photo!

Constructed as part of Arakura Sengen Shrine in 1963, the Chureito Pagoda serves as a peace memorial dedicated to war victims of Fujiyoda City. From the shrine grounds, visitors will climb a hefty 398 steps to reach the pagoda - all worth it once you get to the observation deck! Alongside the dazzling vermillion pagoda, these unparalleled Mt. Fuji views are often framed by seasonal splendor like red maple leaves or cherry blossoms, so try and time your visit with their peak!

The Chureito Pagoda is consistently ranked as one of the best places to visit in Lake Kawaguchiko. Naturally, it’s included as one of the stops on the Mt. Fuji Day Tour, which is perfect for those short on time but who don’t want to miss out on essential spots.


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Fuji-Q Highland: A Thrilling Amusement Park Next to Mt. Fuji

Filled with thrills, chills, and splashes, Fuji-Q Highland has all the excitement you could ever need. This beloved amusement park boasts not one, not two, but four rollercoasters – three of which hold world records! The famous Fujiyama rollercoaster gives you an unbeatable view of Mt. Fuji right before it sends you hurtling down a steep drop. There’s also a water ride, pendulum ride, drop tower, haunted house – just to name a few!

It might seem like Fuji-Q Highland is meant solely for thrillseekers, but this Lake Kawaguchiko attraction has plenty of fun family activities, too. You have your classic spinning tea cups, merry-go-rounds, and Ferris wheels, along with Thomas Land, which has Thomas-themed attractions like a mini rollercoaster and playground. Older kids will also love the sections dedicated to popular anime like Naruto.

The handy Fuji-Q One-Day Pass offers unlimited rides in the main Fuji-Q amusement park area and Thomas Land. The pass is a great way to freely explore Fuji-Q Highland and have as much fun as you can handle!


Oshino Hakkai: Crystal Clear Springs From Mt. Fuji’s Snowy Peak

Oshino Hakkai is a set of eight ponds born from the melted snow of Mt. Fuji, which is naturally filtered over decades to reemerge as pristine spring water. These waters are revered by locals for their extraordinary clarity, and visitors can even drink out of one pond to relish the clean, refreshing taste.

Oshino Hakkai is also another charming vantage point to take in Mt. Fuji, complemented by traditional Japanese thatched roof farmhouses and abundant greenery. There are also lots of souvenir shops and stalls selling local produce and products inspired by Mt. Fuji, alongside eateries serving dishes utilizing Yamanashi specialities.


Aokigahara: A Fascinating Forest for Hikers and Cave Explorers

Aokigahara is a lush, spacious forest located north of Mt. Fuji, and is considered a Natural Monument of Japan. It has gained the unfortunate reputation as Japan’s “suicide forest” overseas, but locally, it attracts visitors through nature-rich hiking trails and alluring caves.

Its proximity to Mt. Fuji means that Aokigahara’s floor is mostly made out of volcanic rock, and the forest is blessed with a set of diverse caves. The Fugaku Wind Cave is one of the most popular. The cave’s internal temperature is around 3°C, and if you brave the cold, you’ll find illuminated ice and stalactites deeper inside. Only a 15-minute walk away is the Narusawa Ice Cave, which has an even more impressive collection of illuminated ice pillars visible all year round. These caves are easy to access via car or bus, and even have souvenir shops nearby, so there’s no need for a lengthy expedition.

Oishi Park: Clear Views of Mt. Fuji With Local Fruit

Located on the northern edge of Lake Kawaguchiko, Oishi Park presents a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. In the early mornings of sunny days, an “inverted Fuji” appears from the mountain being perfectly reflected on the crystal clear surface of Lake Kawaguchiko. Between late April to October, Mt. Fuji is further framed by Oishi Park’s colorful flower fields, which include a lineup of tulips, lavender, and begonias, just to name a few.

In summer, the neighboring Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center opens up to visitors who want to try their hand at picking produce from their farm, the most coveted of which are blueberries between early July and early August. All around is evidence of how proud the locals are of their produce – from the range of blueberry souvenirs at Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center to Oishi Park Café’s one-of-a-kind blueberry ice cream.

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Momiji Corridor: Autumn Views Like No Other

Lake Kawaguchiko’s Momiji Corridor (Maple Corridor) is a must-see for those visiting in autumn. During much of the year, this “corridor” is just a small canal covered by lush greenery. But once fall rolls around, it undergoes a complete transformation, becoming one of Japan’s best autumn foliage hotspots.

The maple trees lining the canal burst with dazzling shades of red and orange from late October to early-mid November (depending on the year). If you stay until after sunset, the corridor is illuminated by a romantic light up. For a double dose of autumn radiance, the acclaimed Momiji Tunnel is a 10-minute drive away.

Oike Park: Enjoy Herbs, Gems, and More While Strolling Around

Oike Park is a small park on the southeast edge of Lake Kawaguchiko. While it may not be one of the most popular places for tourists, locals adore it as a spot for blissful strolls and fishing. Every January and February, the Lake Kawaguchiko Fireworks are held here on weekends, and it is often full of spectators.

A few steps away from Oike Park are two other places of interest. Right across the park is Kawaguchiko Herb Hall, which sells an amazing selection of herbs, herb products, and colorful pressed flowers - plus tasty lavender-flavored ice cream! Three minutes away is the Yamanashi Gem Museum, which displays over 3,000 gems from around the world – including a giant quartz crystal all the way from Brazil!

Forest Adventure Fuji: Wholesome Family Fun Up in the Trees

If you want to get some cardio in with the kids, Forest Adventure Fuji offers the perfect balance of exercise, fun, and thrills. Their exciting obstacle courses take you high up into the trees through all sorts of activities – swinging, climbing, crossing rope bridges, tightrope walking, among many others.

Forest Adventure has obstacle courses all over Japan. The Fuji branch, located south of Lake Kawaguchiko, has two courses: the Trek Course with 11 sites and over 90 different activities, and the Excite Course, which costs an additional fee but offers another four activities. Kids from elementary school age and older can experience Forest Adventure Fuji together with adults, turning family bonding time into a daring yet safe adventure not far from Lake Kawaguchiko.

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Things to Do in Lake Kawaguchiko

Even without a particular place in mind, you won’t run out of activities to do in Lake Kawaguchiko. Below are some of the most popular things to do in the area!

Lake Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Boats

For several months each year, dazzling sightseeing boats cruise around Lake Kawaguchiko, taking passengers on leisurely journeys circling the lake with Mt. Fuji visible on clear days. Two of the most iconic boats are the “Appare,” modeled on an ancient Japanese warship, and the submarine-shaped “Moguran.” One 20-25 minute round trip on these boats only costs 1,000 yen for adults and 900 yen for kids. You can see their operating periods and other details on the official website.


Cycling Around Lake Kawaguchiko

With most attractions concentrated in a single area, Lake Kawaguchiko is a cyclist’s paradise. Dotting Lake Kawaguchiko are several bike rental shops with a wide selection of bikes, including electric bikes and more. You can choose how long you want to rent the bike for, from as short as 3 hours to overnight. As the bus timetable can be confusing, cycling is a more convenient and healthy way to explore the places to visit in Lake Kawaguchiko introduced in this article.

For cycling in Lake Kawaguchiko, we recommend the Lake Kawaguchiko Tour Course. It starts off at Fujisan Parking Lot, passes through tourist spots like Oishi Park and Momiji Corridor, and circles around the lake before ending back where you started. The course covers approximately 26 kilometers of flat roads, making it very doable for even beginner cyclists.

Hiking in Lake Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko is surrounded by trails suiting every level of hiker, making it another of the popular things to do in Lake Kawaguchiko. One of the previously mentioned Lake Kawaguchiko tourist spots, the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, has a popular hiking trail leading to the observation deck called the “Mt. Tenjo Hydrangea Hiking Course,” named after the hydrangeas that bloom in summer. The trail takes less than an hour to complete, and is a good choice for beginners.

More experienced hikers can continue past this trail and hike up Mt. Mitsutoge. It takes a total of six hours to do a roundtrip climb, so allow for enough time to get back before dusk. Those experienced enough to take on the trail can expect an amazing view of Mt. Fuji from the summit.

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Hoto Noodles: Lake Kawaguchiko’s Most Famous Dish

No trip to Lake Kawaguchiko is complete without trying their famous regional food: hoto noodles. This traditional hotpot uses a unique type of noodle similar to udon, but with a flat shape and chunkier bite. The broth is made from a simple miso base with lots of seasonal vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, and mushrooms. Many restaurants around Lake Kawaguchiko serve hoto noodles, often adding their own spin to the dish. Being highly nutritious and filling, it’s easy to understand why it was apparently eaten by Yamanashi’s famous feudal lord, Takeda Shingen, before facing battle.

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Things to Do in Lake Kawaguchiko at Night

The fun doesn’t stop at sundown in Lake Kawaguchiko - there are plenty of things to do at night! The lake bespeckled by lights is utterly entrancing, and can be appreciated from numerous viewpoints. One such lookout is Ubuyagasaki Shrine, which is a 35-minute walk from Kawaguchiko Station (Fujikyuko buses don’t run after 7:00 pm, but there are hotels nearby.) The shrine itself sits atop a small hill, and around it is an open space made for taking in the view. The area is dark, so be sure to bring a flashlight.

If you’re in the mood to relax, there are several hot springs, or “onsen,” that stay open after dark in Lake Kawaguchiko. These hot springs are the perfect solution for muscles tired from long days of sightseeing. You can also dive into Lake Kawaguchiko’s renowned culinary scene for dinner. There are loads of restaurants to check out, including those specializing in sushi, wagyu steak, teppanyaki, and the aforementioned hoto noodles.

As you can see, the sheer amount of things to do and places to visit in Lake Kawaguchiko makes it worth staying overnight. Thankfully, there are numerous hotels lining the lake suiting all budgets, from luxury resorts to comfy guesthouses. Many accommodations around Lake Kawaguchiko also offer unique Japanese experiences like bathing in hot springs and heartfelt “omotenashi” service.

Hot Spring Hotel in Lake Kawaguchiko: Oike Hotel

Traditional Ryokan Inn in Lake Kawaguchiko: Hotel Asafuji


How to Get to Lake Kawaguchiko From Tokyo

Lake Kawaguchiko is easy to get to if you’re coming from Tokyo. You can take the highway bus from Shinjuku Station, which will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Kawaguchiko Station. Highway bus tickets can be purchased online or at the Shinjuku Bus Terminal.

By train, the most direct way to get to Lake Kawaguchiko from Tokyo is via the Fuji Excursion Express, which opened in 2019. The line departs from Shinjuku Station, and will take you to Kawaguchiko Station in 1 hour and 50 minutes.

To save on train fees, you can instead purchase the JR TOKYO Wide Pass. For 3 days, you can use it for unlimited rides on JR trains and certain non-JR trains within and around Tokyo. This pass is very useful for a Lake Kawaguchiko trip, since it covers the Fuji Excursion Express and the Fujikyuko Railway Line, the latter of which can be used to move around Lake Kawaguchiko.


Another pass that makes it more convenient to travel around Lake Kawaguchiko is the 3-day JR Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Area Tourist Pass Mini. Some of the Lake Kawaguchiko sights included in this article can be reached via Fujikyuko buses, and this pass grants you unlimited rides on certain routes (some services are not included, plan carefully before purchasing). There are also unlimited ride passes available from Fujikyuko for the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus and more, which can be purchased at the Kawaguchiko Station ticket office.


Lake Kawaguchiko: Paradise by Mt. Fuji Just a Hop Away From Tokyo

With its easy access from Tokyo and so many places to visit, Lake Kawaguchiko is a prime destination for leisurely sightseeing, heart-pounding thrills, and everything in between. There’s no running out of things to do in Lake Kawaguchiko – and every moment will be blessed by the magnificent silhouette of Mt. Fuji in the background. All of this is why Lake Kawaguchiko has earned itself a grand reputation in Japan, with more and more international sightseers starting to recognize its appeal, too!

Top image: PIXTA

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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Jen Laforteza
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