Mount Tenjo & Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway
An iconic view, a lovers’ bell, and a vengeful rabbit…
The Lake Kawaguchiko area is known as the spot to catch a spectacular view of Mount Fuji, and one of the best places in the area to admire this iconic sight is from Mount Tenjo. But there is more to Tenjo than a good view from its observation point. This mountain in Yamanashi Prefecture has folklore and attractions of its own that make it a worthwhile trip.
There are two ways to reach the summit of Tenjo, where most attractions are located. The first option is to make your way up on foot using the hiking trail. This takes approximately 45 minutes, and unlike Fuji, it is suitable for even the most inexperienced hikers.
You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views and the perfect shot of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
The second – and more popular – option is to take the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway (also called the Kachi Kachi Ropeway). This cable car brings you up the 220 meters to the observation point and offers fantastic views of the lake as you ascend. Whichever method you choose, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views and the perfect shot of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
One of the most popular features of the mountain is the Bell of Tenjo. Legend has it that your wish will come true if you ring the bell while looking at Mount Fuji through its heart-shaped silver frame. Its romantic image makes it particularly popular with couples hoping for a long and happy relationship.
Kachi Kachi Yama
As you wander around the area, you can’t help but notice several large statues of a rabbit and a tanuki (raccoon dog). These colorful characters are from an old Japanese folktale titled Kachi Kachi Yama, and Mount Tenjo is actually the setting for the tale. The characters in the story may appear cuddly, but it’s actually quite a dark tale where the rabbit gets revenge on the murderous tanuki by setting him on fire before drowning him…(awkward…) But, the statues themselves are cute!
Inspired by the story, the cafe underneath the observation deck sells tanuki and usagi (rabbit) dango (mochi on a stick). Next to the cafe is a shrine also dedicated to the rabbit from the tale.
The peak of Mount Tenjo (1,104 meters) is about a 10-minute walk from the observation point, and it is marked by a small shrine.
Lake Kawaguchiko and the surrounding area is studded with tons of sightseeing spots, including several museums like the Kawaguchiko Music Forest, onsen, and plenty of places to try local food and drink. For a sake experience, try Ide Sake Brewery. For keen hikers, there’s also the option to continue from Tenjo to Mount Mitsutoge (1,785 meters). It’s about a six-hour hike there and back, so be sure to start early.
If you are visiting Lake Kawaguchiko, climb Mount Tenjo to get the best panoramic view and to walk inside the world of a Japanese folktale.