The gateway to the Fuji Five Lakes area, this lake holds hot springs resorts, museums and both lakeside and mountain views of Mount Fuji.
Lake Kawaguchi serves as the main entry portal to the Fuji Five Lakes area in Yamanashi Prefecture. At Kawaguchiko station, buses arrive regularly from Tokyo and depart for the lakes. As the terminus of the Fujikyuko railway line, the station is only one stop away from the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park.
Museums, hot springs resorts and restaurants specializing in the regional dish of houtou (flat wheat flour noodles) dot the landscape around Kawaguchiko. To try this dish, check out Houtou Fudou, a well-known restaurant with several local stores that serve houtou noodles.
The lake is a popular site for viewing spring cherry blossoms and autumn maple leaves with Mount Fuji in the background. Those looking for an elevated view of the mountain and lake will find it at the end of the Kachi Kachi Ropeway.
The Kachi Kachi Ropeway
“Kachi Kachi,” the onomatopoeic sound of fire crackling, is actually a nickname for Tenjo, a mountain with an observation area near its summit. At an elevation of over 1,000 meters, this observation area provides a nice, full-on view of Mount Fuji. The ropeway itself gives an impressive view of Lake Kawaguchi while climbing.
A few steps away from the observation area are a so-called “Usagi Shrine” and “Tanuki Tea House.” These commemorate the origin of the mountain’s nickname in an old Japanese folk tale involving a rabbit who sought fiery revenge on a raccoon dog.
Museums and resorts
Continuing past the ropeway along the eastern shore of Lake Kawaguchi, you will come upon Hotel Mifujien.
Day trippers, take note: this hot springs resort has baths with a view of Mount Fuji that are available to guests outside the hotel from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Admission is ¥1,200.
Up near the lake’s northern shore is the Kawaguchiko Music Forest. Another interesting museum in the vicinity is the Itchiku Kubota Museum. A beautiful collection of 36 silk-dyed kimonos is on display here. Part of an unfinished series themed to the four seasons, these kimonos represent the life’s work of famed textile artist Itchiku Kubota.