The iconic view on Mount Fuji
Chureito Pagoda is an essential building of Arakurayama Sengen shrine, located in Fujiyoshida City, in Yamanashi prefecture. The pagoda towers on the heights of the shrine’s park, facing the city, with an unobstructed view on Mount Fuji. One of Japan's most famous landscapes, it is further enhanced by blooming cherry trees in spring and red maple leaves in autumn.
Arakurayama Sengen Park has reopened as of 2020, June 02, but the observation deck near the pagoda remains closed as a precautionary measure to avoid the spreading of Coronavirus in Japan
Chureito Pagoda is actually quite recent, as it was built in 1963 as a peace memorial in Arakurayama Sengen park. Its architecture is not exceptional, and some might consider it a little bit too new and clean compared to its older and stylish counterparts throughout Japan. The view of the five-story pagoda with Mount Fuji 🗻 in the background is nonetheless breathtaking and is certainly a must-see when visiting the country.
Strong legs are an asset to climb the several stone stairways leading to Chureito Pagoda, on the side of Mount Arakura. At the foot of the hill, the shrine’s entrance is materialized by a great torii ⛩️ gate facing the sacred mountain. In autumn, colors are wonderful as soon as the climb begins. A food truck sells snacks on the way, a little bit further after the beginning of the hike.
The pagoda is reached after a hundred of steps. Climb a little bit higher to access the famous Mount Fuji view, a perfect cone in the background, with the pagoda to the right on the foreground, and a branch of red maple leaves 🍁 or blooming cherry tree 🌸. This iconic landscape can be shot with a camera 📷, a smartphone 📱, or simply enjoyed watching. You might want to avoid visiting Chureito Pagoda in the weekends of the seasonal peaks, in April for spring or early November for autumn, as the place is usually overcrowded.
Beside the pagoda, Arakurayama Sengen shrine doesn’t have much interest. It is however recommended to wander around: the little Shofuku-ji temple, located 5 minutes’ walk to the entrance of the park, is quite lovely and perfectly maintained.
Those who like walking can take the trail between Shimoyoshida station and Fujisan station, for about 20 minutes, with Fujisan in full sight during most of the stroll.
Chureito Pagoda is essentially a spot for shooting pictures, and its visit is quick and interesting mainly during seasonal changes. If you appreciate the postcard-like atmosphere, you can opt for a tour of the nearby Lake Kawaguchiko, if you know where to go to enjoy it to the fullest.