Enjoy Splendid Views of Mt. Fuji! Golf at Kawaguchiko Country Club or Stay at Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko
Golf lovers, have you ever thought about playing your favorite sport during your trip to Japan? If you have, then the prestigious Kawaguchiko Country Club is just the place for you. Located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, the club offers amazing views of the beautiful Japanese landmark, making you feel as if you’ve stepped into a painting. In this article, we will be presenting everything you need to know about the Kawaguchiko Country Club, located just 2 hours from Tokyo, where you don’t need to bring anything to enjoy a round of golf. We’ll also talk about a few sightseeing spots around Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko.
*This article was sponsored by Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd.
Kawaguchiko Country Club
A Prestigious Golf Course at the Foot of Mt. Fuji
Kawaguchiko Country Club has deep ties to Taiwan. The Taiwanese golf legend Chen Ching-Po is a long-time member, as well as the club’s special advisor. Chen Ching-Po is well known in Japan not just for his involvement in the world of golfing, but also for his TV appearances and published books. More than 100 Taiwanese golf enthusiasts who visit and utilize the club in a single year have been referred by Chen himself.
For 2020, the golf course will open on March 20, so why not come enjoy a few rounds at the foot of Mr. Fuji?
The Kawaguchiko Country Club was established in 1977 inside a vast national park at the base of Mt. Fuji, at an elevation of approximately 1,000m. The club’s 27-hole course is divided into three zones: East, West, and South (nine holes each). You can choose the level of difficulty by either playing West to East, East to South, or South to West. This is a natural forest course with the holes separated by Japanese red pines and Japanese larches. It also features 195 bunkers, so meticulous planning and strategic thinking are essential here. This is a course that will truly test a player’s skills and judgement.
The reason why the Kawaguchiko Country Club is loved by so many people is because it offers spectacular views at each of the 27 holes with Mt. Fuji at the center of it. And as it changes through the seasons, so does the natural scenery. At the Kawaguchiko Country Club, you are guaranteed a sense of boundless freedom like you’ve never felt before as you enjoy golf while admiring the symbol of Japan. If you believe that “golf” actually stands for Green, Oxygen, Light, Friendship, then this is the place where you can get all four in abundance.
Creative Golf Course Designs
The course was designed by world-famous golf course architect Robert von Hagge. Known as a magician of light and shade, von Hagge has been involved with the design of over 200 golf courses in the US. His specialty is creating beauty reminiscent of an impressionist painting. Every hole has been meticulously planned so as to be different from the others and to change with time. Von Hagge's meandering greens and characteristically placed bunkers have proved especially popular.
Von Hagge has been involved with the design of numerous courses in Japan, but Kawaguchiko Country Club is one of his best works. His eye for visual presentation and his maximum use of the terrain resulted in a golf course that makes people feel as if they were at an American or European resort.
At the eastern course, you can clearly see the glorious Mt. Fuji and its stunning snow-capped peak towering over the forest. Moreover, the lake near the 9-hole green of the southern course is known for its magnificent inverted reflection of the famous mountain. At the Kawaguchiko Country Club, you can experience both the joy of golf and the sublime beauty of nature.
The Practice Range with Equally Wonderful Views
At Kawaguchiko Country Club’s practice range, you can practice golf just like on an actual course with an approach, green, and bunkers. No other club offers anything like this.
Additionally, at the 280 yard driving range, there are 23 driving bays with the surrounding forest acting as a fence, giving the space an open feel.
No Golf Equipment, No Problem! Take Advantage of the Club’s Great-Value Rental Plan and Multi-Language Support
You can rent golf equipment and shoes at the Kawaguchiko Country Club, so there’s no need to lug around a heavy golf bag all the way from your home. Also, if you’re visiting Japan from abroad, bringing clubs, etc. into the country might simply be impossible. Thankfully, at the Kawaguchiko Country Club, you can arrive empty-handed, enjoy a round of golf, then get back to your travels without any excess luggage.
At the moment you can make a reservation for the following special plan.
■Empty-handed Plan: with or without caddy
Includes rental clubs, shoes, and six balls
■Available Period: Monday, March 23 – Friday, April 24, 2020
■Available Period: Monday, April 27 - Friday, May 29, 2020
*Reference: Kawaguchiko Country Club Official Website (Japanese)
If you’re feeling uneasy about golfing in Japan because of the language barrier, don’t. The club reception has a Pocketalk, a small translation device that’s extremely accurate and can smoothly translate into a variety of languages. With it, even detailed communication won’t be a problem, so there’s no need to worry.
A European-Style Club House
When you enter the club, you’re met with high ceilings, wooden beams, and the warm yellow glow of chandeliers. As you might expect of a country club, this is a place where anyone can relax in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. The reception staff also does their best to make each guest feel as welcome as possible.
There is an open fireplace at the reception, and on cold days, you’re bound to see club members gathered around it talking about golf. No matter what day it is, you can always expect a lively, warm atmosphere at the popular Kawaguchiko Country Club.
The shop next to the lobby sells all kinds of golf-related goods, often for far less than the regular market price. You can find many original Kawaguchiko Country Club goods here, such as caps and white golf balls bearing the club’s name.
The club’s logo was designed by Yusaku Kamekura, the same person who created the logos for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and The Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (now NTT). The vivid white dove made up of several thick and thin lines is today a widely recognized symbol of the Kawaguchiko Country Club.
The club restaurant, which is reminiscent of a European villa, provides delicious meals using local ingredients. The ginger-fried Fujizakura pork shoulder set and the Fuji Black steak on rice are especially recommended.
The restaurant opens at 7:00 am, so it’s the perfect place to warm up with a cup of coffee before hitting the golf course. You can also unwind on the terrace or reflect on your day as you enjoy something stronger after a round on the golf course.
Bathroom and Locker Room
The club has plenty of space for changing and a large public bath where you can relax after a long day on the course.
A 105-minute bus ride from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station, or a 120-minute bus ride from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station. After that, it’s about a 10-minute taxi ride.
65-minute limited express train ride from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station, then transfer to the Fujikyuko Line until Kawaguchiko Station (around 50 minutes). After that, it’s about a 10-minute taxi ride.
The shuttle bus from Otsuki Station to the Kawaguchiko Country Club departs at 8:05 am.
The return bus from the Kawaguchiko Country Club to Otsuki Station departs at 4:30 pm.
*Reference: Kawaguchiko Country Club Official Website (Japanese)
Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko
If you want to enjoy several days of golf at the Kawaguchiko Country Club or if you have other sightseeing plans, we recommend that you stay at the Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko, located 10 minutes from the golf course. The hotel is at an ideal location, just a 5-minute drive from Kawaguchiko Station and the thrilling Fuji-Q Highland amusement park. The hotel is also a great choice for all those hoping to climb Mt. Fuji as it’s located just 45 minutes from Mt. Fuji 5th Station.
Admire the Splendor of Mt. Fuji from Your Room
In addition to the basic double room, twin room, and Japanese-style room, Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko also offers the upper-floor deluxe twin room, the grand comfort twin room, and The Fuji, a corner suite room with a spectacular view of the mountain. The hotel’s best feature is that all the rooms face Mt. Fuji so everyone can admire the famous Japanese landmark. (Photo taken from the upper-floor deluxe twin room)
We’d like to focus more on The Fuji corner suite, located at the very top of the hotel on the 11th floor. From here, you’ll get a breathtaking panoramic view of Mt. Fuji and the multicolored sea of leaves that change with the seasons.
The room’s interior is a neutral off-white palette that provides a calming atmosphere while the mezzanine design brings an open feel to the living room area. The kitchen space includes a refrigerator, sink, pod coffee machine, bottle opener, wine glasses, and more, so you can enjoy a glass of the famous Koshu wine with friends or family in the spacious living room.
On the second floor, there are two bedrooms and a separated bathroom and toilet, so you can use the space without fear of disturbing your traveling companions. All the bedrooms include a television set, and can be connected by folding the door panel to create a large four-person room.
Onsen (Hot Spring)
You can’t come to the Mt. Fuji/Lake Kawaguchiko area without getting into an onsen. Why not head to the hotel’s onsen or sauna in the evening to rejuvenate yourself after a long day? At the hotel, you can enjoy a mineral-rich bath in one of two hot spring baths known for their healing properties: the Kizu-no-Yu and the Chufu-no-Yu. As you soak leisurely in the hot water from Lake Kawaguchiko, which contains calcium and sodium, you’ll feel yourself relaxing all over, from your muscles to your body and mind. The hot spring waters also help with nerve and muscle pain and sensitivity to cold.
Elegant yukata (light cotton kimono) are available in front of the lobby elevator. There is a range of sizes, so you’ll definitely find something that’s perfect for you. The hotel also offers yukata for children, so you can bring the whole family along.
The hotel also has a heated indoor swimming pool that the guests can use free of charge, so if you want a complete trip to the Lake Kawaguchiko area, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit. (Note: the pool will be closed for the winter season between January 6 and March 31, 2020)
The hotel offers loads of other fun activities besides golf. For example, you can book the tennis court at the counter and play at the foot of Mt. Fuji right next to the hotel. For people who want to do some light exercise after a meal, why not enjoy a game of ping-pong with friends or family? (Reservation required)
When you’re staying at Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko, you don’t need to worry about being too busy with your travel itinerary to buy local specialties. Simply visit the kiosk in front of the reception, which has an assortment of local souvenirs such as sweets in the shape of Mt. Fuji, peaches, wines, and Yamanashi Prefecture’s well-known shingen mochi (rice cakes). There are also highly popular Koshu Inden-ya purses which are handmade by skilled Japanese craftsmen.
Enjoy Delicious Japanese Cuisine at the Jukai Restaurant
Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko's restaurant "Jukai" was named after the beautiful forest scenery in the area (“jukai” means “sea of trees” in Japanese). In addition to the poetic name, it also offers authentic kaiseki cuisine (traditional Japanese course meals) prepared by a chef who’s honed their skills for years at long-established restaurants. Feel the four seasons in the colors, smells, and flavors of the meal, and experience the unlimited potential of cooking.
The evening meal is a seasonal kaiseki course that changes every month. It begins with an appetizer and includes various dishes for you to try such as assorted sashimi served over ice, grilled dishes, fried dishes, and stewed dishes. At Jukai, you can enjoy the finest cuisine prepared from the finest ingredients.
In addition to the kaiseki course, there are also set meals with lip-smacking Japanese dishes such as wagyu beef shabu-shabu (sliced meat parboiled with vegetables), wagyu sukiyaki (hot pot stew), tempura, tobanyaki (food prepared in ceramic dishes), and sashimi.
Breakfast consists of a Japanese-Western buffet of over 40 dishes. Jukai caters to all sorts of breakfast preferences, whether it be rice porridge, classic white rice, Japanese breakfast staples such as natto (fermented soybeans) and miso soup, or Western-style breads and salads.
Shuttle bus / taxi
10 minutes from Kawaguchiko Station / 5 minutes from Fuji-Q Highland
Sanrokuen is a restaurant located at the foot of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Its exterior’s thatched roof house style goes back over 150 years and contrasts strikingly with the beauty of Mt. Fuji. The interior also preserves traditional Japanese culture with the inclusion of a sunken fireplace, traditional furniture, and sliding paper screens. All in all, the entire restaurant has a very welcoming Japanese atmosphere that also makes you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. Why not warm yourself and enjoy a meal in such relaxing surroundings?
Sanrokuen specializes in robatayaki cuisine, a style of indoor barbecue grilling where around 10 different ingredients such as vegetables, fish, and meat are grilled slowly over fire on bamboo skewers and dipped in a special sauce as desired. Included in the robatayaki set menu is a Yamanashi Prefecture specialty called “hoto.” Hoto is a rich dish of doughy noodles resembling flat udon, which are simmered for a long time with seasonal vegetables in miso soup, creating the kind of unforgettable, homestyle, regional dining experience that you can only get at Sanrokuen. You might say that the restaurant is the perfect place to get a taste of the best that Japanese cuisine has to offer.
Oshino Hakkai is a popular sightseeing spot among tourists visiting Japan. “Oshino Hakkai” is the collective name for a group of 8 spring-water ponds fed by snowmelt from Mt. Fuji: Deguchi, Okama, Sokonashi, Choshi, Waku, Nigori, Kagami, and Shobu. In 1934, the ponds were designated a national natural monument due to their shape, water quality, volume, conservation status, scenic beauty, and religious considerations, as the Oshino Hakkai are considered sacred by some groups. Then, in 1985, Oshino Hakkai was selected as one of Japan's top 100 springs by the Ministry of the Environment, and is known today as a popular spot for admiring Mt. Fuji and feeling the very spirit of Japan.
Back in the Edo Period (around 400 years ago), those wanting to climb Mt. Fuji would first travel here to cleanse themselves. If you’re ever in the area of Mt. Fuji or Lake Kawaguchiko, why not visit the clear waters of Oshino Hakkai and absorb some of their invigorating power?
Arakurayama Sengen Park
You’ve probably seen images of this vermilion five-storied pagoda and cherry blossoms with Mt. Fuji in the background on the internet, in newspapers, or in magazines. Well, this magnificent landscape that so many people recognize from somewhere is actually the Arakurayama Sengen Park. The combination of a majestic shrine and the two symbols of Japan is so beautiful that taking just one picture of it would never be enough. And as your shutter clicks over and over again, capturing the Arakurayama scenery, you can be sure that you’re not only taking amazing photos, you’re also creating lifelong memories.
Arakurayama Sengen Park is located at Shimo-Yoshida Station, just a 10-minute train ride from Kawaguchiko Station. We recommend that on your way to the park, you stop and fill up at the local specialty joint Fuji-Yoshida Udon. It only takes one bowl of their thick, chewy noodles dipped in an original blend of soy sauce, miso, and dashi stock to become addicted to the dish.
Gotemba Premium Outlets
Shopping is one of those things you can’t miss out on during your trip to Japan. For that, we recommend the most iconic shopping mecca in the Kanto area: Gotemba Premium Outlets, which carries slightly damaged or tarnished clothing, shoes, and household appliances from Japanese and international manufacturers, as well as disposed excess stock, returned goods, or outdated stock, all for shockingly low prices. Shopping at a place where you can also admire Mt. Fuji from a gorgeous angle is an experience that you can only get in Japan.
Inside the outlet, there are many famous restaurants from all over Japan, so you don’t have to worry about what to eat when you get tired of shopping. Buses operate between Gotemba Premium Outlets and Kawaguchiko Station, Fuji-Q Highland, and Oshino Hakkai, so you can head to Gotemba Premium Outlets after thoroughly enjoying the Lake Kawaguchiko area, or go shopping first and go sightseeing later, whatever suits your pace and interests. The nearest station to the outlet is Gotemba Station, with connecting buses running between them every 15 minutes, so getting there is easy.
Mt. Fuji is just one of all the exciting spots that the Lake Kawaguchiko area has to offer. There is something here for everyone! Some might like to golf while others might want to sightsee, shop, or visit an amusement park with their friends or family. In the end, Lake Kawaguchiko is a place for the whole family, combining amazing golfing experiences with access to Mt. Fuji to create one of the best travel destinations in Japan. We hope you’ll visit it one day.
How to Get to Kawaguchiko Station
Fujikawaguchiko Tourist Information:
http://www.fujisan.ne.jp.t.aca.hp.transer.com/access/bus.php (Traditional Chinese)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.