Mount Fuji’s Beautiful Lake
Kawaguchiko is one of the five lakes surrounding Mount Fuji, in Fujikawaguchiko City in the heart of Yamanashi prefecture. Located to the north of the sacred mountain, the view on Fuji-san is breathtaking which makes the surroundings of this body of water a privileged tourist destination.
Climbing Mount Fuji 🗻 is only the start of the area's discovery. At its foot is a set of five lakes called "Fujigoko", of which the most famous, aside Lake Ashi in Hakone, is certainly Kawaguchi. We went on a day-trip at the later sometimes in mid-November when the momiji 🍁, the Japanese maple trees foliage, is at its peak.
To get there, take a bus from the same company serving Fuji-san: Keiô (not covered by the Japan Rail Pass). The office is located at Shinjuku station west exit, in front of the Yodobashi Camera 📷 store, and buses depart just in front of it. The journey to Kawaguchiko lasts 1h45, but the trip back is not guaranteed due to the heavy traffic on Highway 20 to Tokyo.
Get off the bus at Kawaguchiko station, which is about a 10 minutes walk from the lake. Treading in Kawaguchi City feels like being in an outdated place; despite its many sightseers, the antiquated buildings look washed-out and rusty. However, nature is superb especially during the fall season.
To travel around Lake Kawaguchiko, it is a good idea to rent electric bicycles. The most interesting company in terms of location and price is probably Sazanami, adjoining the eponymous restaurant. You can find them on the road between the Ropeway and the bridge. Even if the lake is "only" 20km of circumference, there are many spots with views of the momiji and on Fuji-san, so 3 hours aren't too much. Tall people should be careful though: the bikes’ size are adapted to the Japanese people’s!
You can then enjoy a nice ride, in search of the most beautiful momiji viewing spots! Do not forget to stop at the famous "Koyo" spot (called "maple corridor" on maps provided by the tourist organization at the station) which gathers some of the most beautiful ones.
For those who don't wish to rent a bike 🚲 or in case of bad weather, sightseeing buses (shûyû basu 周遊バス) can drop you to famous places around Kawaguchiko, although they don’t fully circle the lake.