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.
How to get to Chureito Pagoda
From Tokyo, Shinjuku Station:
By bus -- ~1h30 with Fujigoko Line, from Chuo Highway Bus Terminal West Exit, stop at Chuodo Shimoyoshida or Chuo EXPWY Shimoyoshida (~¥1,750 / ~US$ 16.30 English online booking here and here), then ~10 minutes' walk along the road
By train -- ~15 minutes on Fujikyu Line, bound to Otsuki, stop at Shimoyoshida (~¥310 / ~US$ 2.90), then ~10 minutes' walk to the address: 3353-1 Arakura, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
How long / when to visit
About one hour
Best seasons in spring, for cherry trees blooming or in autumn
新倉山浅間公園 (Arakurayama Sengen)
Weather in Mont Fuji
14 / 19°C
18 / 22°C
Stay connected with a Pocket Wifi in Japan
Yamanashi Tourims Organization's dedicated page (in English)