5 invigorating campsites to view Mount Fuji during Summer
In a bid to welcome the Japanese summer into my life as international travel remains on hold, I recently fell into the embarrassing rabbit hole of watching Cottagecore Tik-Toks—where ridiculously beautiful people frolic and picnic in daisy fields. Well, joke’s on me I guess—Singapore doesn’t even have daisy fields, let alone a patch of healthy-looking, non-ant-infested grass.
Perhaps less humiliating is my recent re-watch of the anime Yuru Camp (ゆるキャン△ Yurukyan), which follows the camping adventures of a bunch of high school girls around the Yamanashi (山梨県 Yamanashi-ken) and Shizuoka (静岡県 Shizuoka-ken) prefectures. Watching 2D characters sip instant curry ramen broth against the picturesque backdrop of Mount Fuji—while I was confined within my HDB’s miserable four walls—was enough to make my Japan travel tingles, tingle. So, while we’re all patiently waiting for international travel to resume, here’s some of my travel inspiration put onto page: let’s explore five invigorating campsites in the Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures to view Mount Fuji during summer!
1. Kouan Camping Ground
(Image credit: Kouan)
Dear Yuru Camp fans, the Kouan Camping Ground was the campsite featured in the show’s first episode—what are you waiting for? Pack your bag, ignore all travel advisories and go now! (No, please don’t. Stay safe, everyone.) Anime pilgrimages aside, the Kouan Camping Ground is the perfect place to zen out from the stresses of urban reality. Imagine feasting on a variety of grilled meats and downing a few cans of beer with your favourite people, as your hearty conversations echo into the tranquil landscape of Lake Motosu (本栖湖 Motosu-ko) and Mount Fuji. Or if you are a solo traveller (like me!), just imagine how nice it would be to cosy up with a good book by the banks of the lake, and as you tear your eyes away from the words for an eye-break, what greets you is the majesty of Mount Fuji.
And a treat you will most definitely get—the view of Mount Fuji from Lake Motosu is so acclaimed that it has actually been immortalised on the Japanese ¥1,000 banknote. Truly a sight and experience not to be missed. The Kouan Camping Ground offers three types of accommodation—tent sites, cabins for larger groups, and hostel stays (details on pricing are on their website, linked below). Access to the campsite is simple: every weekday, there is a direct bus connecting Kawaguchiko Station to Kouan Camping Ground (to and fro). There is only one bus per day, so remember to plan your schedule well. Alternatively, you can rent a car to get there.
Kouan Camping Ground (浩庵キャンプ場)
Address: 2926 Nakanokura, Minobu, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi 409-3104
Nearest train station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Tel: +81 556-38-0117
2. Tsuhara Campground
Lake Saiko. (Image credit: photo AC)
We continue the lakeside camp getaway with Tsuhara Campground, situated by the banks of Lake Saiko (西湖 Sai-ko). While the view of Mount Fuji isn’t as clear, Tsuhara Campground more than makes up for it by offering a wide range of exciting activities for campers. On-site, get down and dirty in the ponds by trying the Rainbow Trout grabbing experience—and eat your catch after as a reward! Other food-related activities include a Hōtō-making (ほうとう) experience, cooking Japanese curry and having a barbeque over firewood. Nearby, there are multiple attractions to visit—guided tours of the Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) Forest, the Narusawa Ice Cave (鳴沢氷穴 Narusawa Hyōketsu), the Saiko Bat Cave and the Iyashi no Sato (いやしの里) Ancient Japanese Village—making Tsuhara Campground the perfect base for exploring the Lake Saiko area.
Tsuhara Campground offers both tent sites as well as larger bungalows for bigger groups. To access the campground, take the Fujikyu Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Green Line) from Kawaguchiko Station and alight at the Saiko Tsuhara-hama station. It will be about a 15 minutes bus ride.
Tsuhara Campground (西湖津原キャンプ場)
Address: 2299 Saiko, Fujikawaguchiko-cho, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0332
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Tel: +81 555-82-2234
3. Fumotoppara Campsite
(Image credit: photo AC)
Perhaps lakeside camping isn’t your thing. Too wet, too sandy, possibility of falling into the water due to your campsite feasting food coma… Whatever the reason, or if your camping tingles are still tingling (I know mine still are)—Fumotoppara Campsite in Shizuoka Prefecture boasts a sprawling grassland to set your tent at. Likewise offering a grand view of Fuji-san, Fumotoppara Campsite is another perfect respite from urban bustle. Beyond camping, other outdoor activities such as mountain biking and segway tours are also available, and wild animals such as badgers occasionally visit the campsite too (according to their blog)—making the campsite a one-stop location for fulfilling all your nature-related fancies. Not convinced? Take a look at their beautifully curated Instagram feed, and allow your mind to be blown.
Fumotoppara Campsite offers a variety of accommodation options: Tent sites, a forest villa which houses up to 10 people, a grassland cottage which houses up to five people, a shared house and a large facility for groups of 20-50 people (more details on pricing on their website, linked below). To reach Fumotoppara Campsite, take the Fujikyu bus from either Fujinomiya Station or Kawaguchiko Station. Alight at the ‘Asagiri Green Park’ bus stop and the campsite will be a 30-minute walk away.
Fumotoppara Campsite (ふもとっぱら)
Address: 156 Fumoto, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka 418-0109
Nearest train station: Fujinomiya Station (富士宮駅) / Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Tel: +81 544-52-2112
4. Hottarakashi Camping Field
View of Mount Fuji. (Image credit: lifeforstock / Freepik)
We take the camping to new heights (literally) with Hottarakashi Camping Field. A handmade campsite situated at an altitude of 700m, be prepared for some breathtaking views here. Campers set their tent on a deck which overlooks the vast Yamanashi valley, dotted by the many towns scattered across the land. The campsite itself, with quaint wooden elements, offers a homey, rustic feel. The ultimate cherry which tops this already cosy campsite is the onsen (温泉 hot spring) located three minutes away from camp. Offering the same spectacular scenery, soak your aching muscles in Yamanashi’s spring waters while feeling on top of the world.
Accommodation wise, Hottarakashi Camping Field offers both open and private camping spaces, as well as a camper van for an alternative camping experience. The nearest train station to the campsite is Yamanashi City Station, where it is 10 minutes away by taxi (about ¥2,400 one way).
Hottarakashi Camping Field (ほったらかしキャンプ場)
Address: 1669-25 Yatsubo, Yamanashi-shi, Yamanashi 405-0036
Nearest station: Yamanashi-shi Station (山梨市駅)
Tel: +81 80-9677-1010
5. PICA Fujiyama
(Image credit: PICA Fujiyama)
(Image credit: PICA Fujiyama)
A more luxurious camping, or should we say ‘glamping’, experience would be at PICA Fujiyama, which is more of a resort than a campsite. One of PICA Fujiyama’s more interesting accommodation offerings would be their dome tents which marries elegant comfort and immersion in nature. Just imagine laying in bed, gazing up at the vast skies as day morphs into night, sunset’s golden light painting your face as you enjoy the best of nature’s beauty from the comfort of your own dome. PICA Fujiyama also offers a variety of fun activities, such as a guided mountain bike tour, an afternoon canoe tour and pottery experiences, just to name a few.
Besides the domes, PICA Fujiyama also has other traditional tent sites for a good ol’ traditional camp. Cottages, ranging from the luxurious to the more casual, are also available. Getting to PICA Fujiyama is easy—there is a free shuttle bus from Kawaguchiko Station and Mt. Fuji Station which goes straight to the campsite.
Address: 6662-10 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0301
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅) / Mt. Fuji Station (富士山駅)
Tel: +81 555-30-4580
Until we can roll around in greener pastures, may this article grant you some respite from the cabin fever the pandemic might have caused. I for one personally can’t wait to view the majestic Mount Fuji once again. For more up & close experiences with Mount Fuji, this article about Hakone may tickle your fancy. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, everyone!
Header image credit: lifeforstock / Freepik