Can You Tell If These Mt. Fuji Photos Are Real or Photoshopped?

As Japan's tallest mountain, Mt. Fuji has been depicted in artworks countless times over the ages. It’s no surprise that stunning photos of this iconic sight regularly go viral online, but some photographers definitely take more artistic license than others. Can you tell the difference between the real and photoshopped photos of Mt. Fuji in this article? Take the challenge and try to guess for yourself which of these images are real. You might be surprised by the answers!

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Are These Pictures of Mt. Fuji Real or Photoshopped?

1. A Shrine With a Million Dollar View

Real? Photoshop? Click here to see if you're right or wrong!

2. Mt. Fuji and the Tokyo Skyline

Real? Photoshop? Click here to see if you're right or wrong!

3. Mt. Fuji in the Heart of Town?

Real? Photoshop? Click here to see if you're right or wrong!

4. Mt. Fuji's Serene Reflection

Real? Photoshop? Click here to see if you're right or wrong!

5. A Castle at the Foot of Mt. Fuji

Real? Photoshop? Click here to see if you're right or wrong!

6. An Otherworldly Sunset View

Real? Photoshop? Click here to see if you're right or wrong!

Answer Key

1A. A Shrine With a Million Dollar View

Answer: Real

This view may look a little too perfect to be true, but this isn't a composite!

The structure pictured here is the Chureito Pagoda, located in Fujiyoshida City, which is situated in the foothills of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture. Standing five stories high, it was built as a peace memorial to commemorate those who died in battle. Though it is most famous for its splendid view of Mt. Fuji, as seen in the question section, the pagoda gives a beautiful night view of Fujiyoshida City in the evenings as well.

Arakurayama Sengen Park, where the pagoda is located, is a great spot for seeing cherry blossoms and fall foliage. Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine, also located within the park, is a particularly beautiful spot for cherry blossoms, as around 650 cherry blossom trees bloom on its historical grounds.

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2A. Mt. Fuji and the Tokyo Skyline

Answer: Fake

Pictures of Mt. Fuji looming over the Tokyo skyline are fairly common online. Unfortunately, the picture in question is a little too dramatic to be true. While in good weather Mt. Fuji is actually visible in the distance from Tokyo, images as dramatic as this one are merely a work of imagination.

The above image was taken from the observation area at the Tokyo Bunkyo Civic Center. At around 105 metres high, this spot gives you a great view past the highrise Shinjuku skyline all the way to Mt. Fuji. Even better, it's free for the public to visit! Just make sure to bring along a good zoom lens if you want to take the same kind of shot.

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3A. Mt. Fuji in the Heart of Town

Answer: Real

While you can’t see Mt. Fuji from the streets in Tokyo, it is possible to see Mt. Fuji in a different urban setting: Honcho Street in Fujiyoshida.

This part of town is famous for its view of Mt. Fuji framed by a cute shopping street. It is around a 10-minute walk from Shimoyoshida Station, which happens to be the closest station to the Chureito Pagoda we mentioned above. So, if you happen to be visiting this part of Japan for a view of Mt. Fuji, take a short detour for a photoshoot here!

We've also got a link to the general area in the Google Maps link below.

Honcho Street is known for its retro vibe, with old-style signs and awnings. Some even say it's like going back in time! Photographers recommend heading there in the morning if you can; there will be fewer cars and pedestrians in your way, and the lower angle of the morning sun makes the texture of the mountain look more dramatic!

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4A. Mt. Fuji's Serene Reflection

Answer: Real

Mt. Fuji is surrounded by a number of beautiful lakes. When the water is still enough, it’s possible to get a photo as stunning as the photo in question with no Photoshop required!

This particular image was taken at Lake Kawaguchi, a popular sightseeing spot. Mt. Fuji reflected in its surrounding lakes is such a famous view that it has its own nickname, “Inverse Fuji.” The view from Lake Kawaguchi is even depicted on the 1,000 yen note!

Lake Kawaguchi may look like it's deep in the wilderness, but it's actually an easy day trip from Tokyo. For the insider scoop, check out our Lake Kawaguchi day trip itinerary. We've got a range of ways to get there for all budgets, some secret photo spots, and a must-try local dish at a restaurant you have to see to believe!

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5A. A Castle at the Foot of Mt. Fuji

Answer: Fake

The photograph in the question section looks like the setting of a historical movie, and unfortunately, it does happen to be fictional. The castle in the photo is called "Tsuruga Castle," and it is located in Fukushima Prefecture, some 400 kilometers or so away from Mt. Fuji!

Tsuruga Castle is notable for its impressive red tiles and seven-story keep, which was first built in 1593. Looking at its imposing presence, you can really understand why the creator of the Photoshopped image chose to use it for their composite!

Inside the castle, you can see exhibits about the history of the castle and samurai culture, and also climb to the top of the keep for a view of the local area. The historical Rinkaku Teahouse also operates on its grounds. When you visit, stop by and have some tea here.

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6A. An Otherworldly Sunset View

Answer: Real

"Diamond Fuji" is the local nickname for a phenomenon that occurs when the sun sets perfectly behind the summit of Mt. Fuji. In the twilight from mid-October to late February, you can see the sun sparkling like a diamond inlaid on the summit. The image here was captured from Lake Yamanaka.

Another similar phenomenon is "Pearl Fuji," pictured above. This is when the rising of the full moon lines up with Mt. Fuji's summit. Like the name implies, it has a softer impression than the sparkling Diamond Fuji, and it's also a bit rarer!

If you happen to be in the area on a day when there will be a full moon, we highly recommend hanging around until sunset to see it for yourself. You can also see it in the morning; in fact, this particular image was taken from Lake Yamanaka in the early morning in spring! You'll have to come pretty early in the morning if you want to see this, however, as it only occurs when the moon starts setting and the sun starts to rise.

For more interesting trivia about Mt. Fuji, check out our round up of 12 Little Known Secrets About Mt Fuji. Did you know that there's one day of the year that dreaming about Mt Fuji could bring you good luck?

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How Many Did You Guess Right?

Could you spot the fake images? Whatever your answers, we think you'll agree that there's no need for Photoshop: Mt. Fuji really is stunning enough on its own. After all, there's a reason this World Heritage Site is a symbol of Japan that draws countless visitors from around the world! 

To learn more about Mt. Fuji, check out our Ultimate Guide to Mt. Fuji. This comprehensive article covers all you need to know about visiting the area, climbing Mt. Fuji itself, and sightseeing in the area. Unfortunately, Mt. Fuji is closed to climbers in 2020 due to the spread of the coronavirus. For more information about this, you can read our round up of the current details.

Liked this quiz? Share it with your friends to see just how excellent their deducting skills are!

If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

Chubu Feature

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

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About the author

Rebecca is an Australian translator and writer based in Kyoto. In her downtime she likes train travel, karaoke, and horror movies.
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