10 Places to Visit Around Lake Kawaguchi for a Relaxing Time Near Mt. Fuji
Located in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi offers a wide variety of places that are highly recommended for those who are in search of an energy boost. You can choose to have an invigorating experience immersed in music, relax by the lake enjoying the refreshing view, or even listen to the chirping of wild birds. There are great options for families as well, including a natural cave where you can observe bats and an adventure park surrounded by nature. Here are 10 places that you should check out around Lake Kawaguchi!
Aug 01 2019 (Nov 19 2020)
Kawaguchi-ko Music Forest Museum
Nestled amidst the beautiful landscape that surrounds Lake Kawaguchi, you can find Kawaguchi-Ko Music Forest Museum, a one-of-a-kind theme park dedicated to music where you will marvel at the sound of an incredible collection of automatic musical instruments. Whether you only have time for a 1-hour visit or you have the whole day available, the museum has more than enough to surprise you. With typical western-style architecture and colorful flowers adorning its grounds, the park has the atmosphere of a small European town.
If you only have time for a quick visit, you should go straight to the exhibition areas. Here you will find one of the largest dance organs in the world, not to mention the superb collection of automatic musical instruments, which includes an orchestrion originally designed for the Titanic. If, on the other hand, you have plenty of time, start your visit from the gorgeous Rose Garden or from the Musical Automata Salon, an incredible space where you encounter rare automatic instruments from a variety of Western countries, some of them more than 200 years old. At the museum’s shop, you can purchase wines aged by the sound of music boxes and original chocolates especially created by one of the world’s top chocolatiers.
Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine
For those who want to have a relaxing time close to Lake Kawaguchi, how about taking some time to visit Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine? During the Sengoku period (civil war period which took place from approx. 1467 to 1568), this shrine was revered by the mighty Takeda clan of the Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi). Today, the shrine is listed as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government and holds many items of historical relevance, such as a letter with a prayer for safe childbirth written by Takeda Shingen, lord of Kai, and The Record of Katsuyama, a journal from back then containing detailed information about the region.
As the episode above depicts, the deity of the shrine is said to bestow blessings for those who come to wish for a safe delivery and a good marriage, aside from being considered the deity of transport and prosperity. Constructed in the distinctive style that characterizes the Momoyama period (1583-1600), Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine is the oldest Shinto shrine located around Mt. Fuji. Every year on April, a Shinto ceremonial festival with demonstrations of horseback archery is held at the shrine’s precincts.
Oike Park is a beautiful park home to a great number of poplar trees and magnificent views of Mt. Fuji on the south side and Lake Kawaguchi on the north. Relatively close to tourist attractions, such as the Yamanashi Gem Museum and Kawaguchiko Herb Hall, the park is perfect to take a break in between sightseeing and have lunch amidst nature. Oike Park gives you access to the lakeshore so you can bring the kids to play in the water during summer. From mid-January to mid-February, the park serves as the stage for Kawaguchiko Winter Fireworks, attracting a lot of people.
Kawaguchiko Museum of Art
Another attraction in the vicinity of Lake Kawaguchi is the very modern Kawaguchiko Museum of Art. The museum has a rich permanent exhibition that features artists and artworks related to Mt. Fuji, such as “Mt. Fuji” by painter Adachi Genichiro and “Shinsetsu Hikaru" (Fresh Snow Glittering) by photographer Okada Koyo, both renowned Japanese artists in their fields. There are also workshops and many different special exhibitions offering the public a taste of the most famous paintings in the world.
Kawaguchiko Museum of Art also holds a Mt. Fuji photography contest and you can purchase the winning pictures of previous years at their shop. Just by the main entrance, you'll find a cafe that offers special dishes inspired by the special exhibitions. Additionally, outside the museum, there is a spacious green area and a pine forest, not to mention an up-close view of Mt. Fuji. Comparing the real Fuji with its artistic counterparts could be quite an interesting activity, don’t you think?
Saiko Iyashi no Sato NENBA
If you ever wondered how the countryside of Japan was in the old days, Saiko Iyashi no Sato NENBA is your chance to find out. This “open-air” museum reproduces a farming village that used to exist on the shores of Lake Sai in the past. Here you will find traditional thatched roofed houses and many other facilities that used to be the backbone for the life in the village back in the day, such as a mill house and a charcoal making hut.
You can take the opportunity to try different types of hands-on experiences, including udon noodle-making using local ingredients, which you get to eat later! In one of the houses, called Hinomi-ya, you can dress up in a kimono or Japanese armor and take a picture to remember your visit. Performances about basket weaving are held every Saturday and Sunday. The river crossing the village helps to create a landscape typical of Japan’s countryside, so don’t miss the chance to have unique Japanese experiences at this very relaxing tourist spot.
Located on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi, Oishi Park is famous for offering an astonishing view of Mt. Fuji. Not only that, there is an under-the-radar place here that allows you to see the “inverted Fuji,” a beautiful image of the great mountain reflected on the waters of the lake. The park hosts the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival every year from mid-June to early July. Here you can find a picturesque landscape covered by the purple of a lavender field. This place was elected as one of the One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji in Kanto, a list prepared by the Japanese government with the most beautiful spots to observe Mt. Fuji in the Kanto region.
You will find out that depending on the time you come to the park, the mountain as well as the lake can look blue-ish, in what can only be described as magical scenery. Herbs, begonias, and other flowers besides the lavenders begin to bloom during this season as well. The park also offers a privileged view of the fireworks when the fireworks season kicks off in early July.
Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center
Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center is a free-of-charge facility located inside Oishi Park. Here, you can buy their famous blueberry jams or try your hands on producing your own jam using a variety of different fruits. The facility works as a reception office for different fruit picking activities around the area, and during summer, you can apply here to go to blueberry and Japanese cherry picking farms. At the cafe, you can try their famous blueberry soft serve ice cream while admiring a splendid view of Mt. Fuji. Everything on the menu comes in generous portions here, so be ready to eat to your heart’s content.
Saiko Wild Bird’s Park
Saiko Wild Bird’s Park is home to some 60 species of wild birds, such as the varied tit and the Japanese white-eye. The park is free of charge and offers you a chance to go bird watching from up close. There are bird tables placed throughout the park, and you can buy some bird food at the visitor center, called Jukai Gallery, and feed them directly from your hand! The center has an exhibition containing information about the animals you find in the region and a bird watching room equipped with telescopes. Here you will also find many workshops that teach about different types of craftwork, including how to build birdhouses. One last feature that makes this park a great place to come with the whole family is the annexed area for barbecues!
Lake Sai Bat Cave
Have you ever wonder how bats live in the darkness? Designated as a Natural Monument by the Japanese government, Lake Sai Bat Cave is a 350 m long lava cave located at the base of Mt. Fuji that offers you a chance of seeing bats up close. The cave saw a decrease in the number of bats in the past due to some development works around the area, but don’t worry because it has increased again recently. Besides the flying mammals, here you also find lava stalactites, lava shelves, and pahoehoe lava (solidified lava with a ropy surface). This amazing tourist attraction shows you at first hand that Mt. Fuji is, after all, an active volcano. The dim-lit cave will make you feel like an old-time explorer, but be careful not to express your amazement too loudly or else you will scare the bats away.
Forest Adventure Fuji
Forest Adventure is an outdoor adventure park built amidst the forest. Here you get to climb and move from treetop to treetop with the use of safety gear. Children as young as 1st graders accompanied by an adult can try their abilities in one of the courses called Discovery Course. This activity offers a great chance for parents to have a fun experience among nature with their children. You can complete a whole course in 2 to 3 hours depending on the level you choose. That brings us to the Adventure Course, a level intended for adults and the hardest one available at this park. You will even have the chance to try the thrilling Tarzan swing here! In addition to the adventure park, the facility also has a laser tag area where you can engage in a survival game using laser guns, and a pump track for BMX and skateboard. As you can see, the park has an awesome lineup of attractions for you to enjoy with friends and family.
Experience Lake Kawaguchi and Its Amazing Nature
What did you think? These were just a few of the attractions you will find around Lake Kawaguchi. You can even enjoy the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival in summer with its beautiful lavender in full bloom. Lake Kawaguchi is waiting for you!
Translated and republished with permission from: Relux Magazine
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Title Image: denkei / PIXTA
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.