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Awesome Autumn: 5 spots to "fall" in love with Mount Fuji at Kawaguchiko

Awesome Autumn: 5 spots to

As an iconic symbol of Japan, just having Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) in view makes any scenery better. While winter is generally considered the best time to view Mount Fuji to see its snow-capped peak, autumn is a fantastic season if you want to enjoy the mountain with colourful autumn foliage and comfortable weather. In this article, I’ll introduce five spots around Lake Kawaguchi, also known as Kawaguchiko (河口湖), where you can enjoy fantastic fall foliage, most with Mount Fuji in the frame!

 

① Oishi Park

Mount Fuji and kochia. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

First on the list is Oishi Park (大石公園 О̄ishi Kо̄en), famous for its kochia plants (コキア kokia) that turn a brilliant shade of red during autumn. These kochia plants typically reach their peak colours in late October, when they set the field ablaze with their deep, red colour. I visited in early November, and the plants were starting to turn brown, but the sight of them with Mount Fuji and the azure blue skies was still amazing.

 

Enjoy panoramic views from KITCHEN FUJIYAMA VIEW. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Located on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi, this park offers panoramic views of Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji, making it a fantastic location for photography and enjoying the fall foliage. In 2020, a café and restaurant opened, with the second storey featuring wide and open windows that offer fantastic views of Mount Fuji.

 

Oishi Park (大石公園)
Address: 2515-11 Oishi, Fujikawaguchiko, Minami Tsuru, Yamanashi 401-0305
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Nearest bus stop: Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center Bus Stop (河口湖自然生活館)
Access: From Kawaguchiko Station, take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus and get off at the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center Bus Stop. The park is right by the bus stop. 

 

② Momiji Tunnel

Beautiful maple leaves with Mount Fuji. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

This next spot requires a bit of walking, but it is well worth the journey. Also located on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi, about a 30-minute walk from the nearest bus stop, this spot known as Momiji Tunnel (もみじトンネル Momiji tonneru) offers a beautiful view of Mount Fuji through the maple trees. Due to its location, there were only two other people when I visited in November 2022, and we spent a quiet 2 hours just sitting and enjoying the view.

 

Gaze at the scenery for hours. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The area around Momiji Tunnel has picturesque views with the vibrant red and orange maple trees, providing a beautiful view of both the autumn leaves and Mount Fuji in the background. The best time to visit is usually in mid to late November, when the maple trees are at their peak autumn colours.

 

Momiji Tunnel (もみじトンネル)
Address: Oishi, Fujikawaguchiko, Minami Tsuru, Yamanashi 401-0305
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Nearest bus stop: Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center Bus Stop (河口湖自然生活館)Access: From Kawaguchiko Station, take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus and get off at the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center Bus Stop. The maple tunnel is a 30-minute walk from the bus stop. 

 

③ Kubota Itchiku Art Museum

Stunning autumn colours at the museum. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

While the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum (久保田一竹美術館 Kubota Icchiku Bijutsukan) is primarily an art museum showcasing the beautiful silk kimono works of Kubota Itchiku, it is also known for its stunning garden with seasonal displays.

 

Walking under maple trees. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Photography of the kimono artworks is prohibited, but they are so beautiful and unique, and I highly recommend a visit. The route from the bus stop to the museum, as well as the gardens surrounding the art museum have amazing autumn colours.

 

Autumn colours in the museum’s gardens. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Matcha and wagashi set. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The museum has a terrace café, from which you can enjoy views of Mount Fuji in the distance. It also has an indoor tea room, where you can enjoy a cup of matcha (抹茶 green tea) and traditional Japanese confectioneries (和菓子 wagashi) that perfectly accompany the season.

 

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum (久保田一竹 美術)
Address: 2255 Kawaguchi, Fujikawaguchiko, Minami Tsuru, Yamanashi 401-0304
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Nearest bus stop: Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Bus Stop (久保田一竹美術館)
Access: From Kawaguchiko Station, take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus to the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Bus Stop.
Opening hours:

April–November: 09:30–17:30 (Last entry: 17:00)
December–March: 10:00–16:30 (Last entry: 16:00)
Closed on most Tuesdays, and 26–28 December

Admission fee: ¥1,300 (Adult)
Tel: +81 555-76-8811

 

④ Maple Corridor

Maple Corridor during daytime (left) and night time (right). (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Another beautiful spot for viewing autumn foliage is the Maple Corridor (もみじ回路 momiji kairo), a tree-lined path on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi. 

 

Maple trees are planted on both sides of a canal, forming a corridor of colours. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Maple trees are planted on both sides of a canal, which create a tunnel-like atmosphere when their leaves change colours, especially when the leaves fall into the canal below. When I visited in early November, trees in the outer area had begun changing colours, while trees in the inner area were still yellow and green.

 

Amazing colours. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The Autumn Leaves Festival (紅葉まつりkо̄yо̄ matsuri) is also held around here, so you can enjoy stalls selling delicious street food (屋台 yatai). Together with the illumination of the trees in the evening, they create a fun and lively atmosphere, so I highly recommend spending a night around Lake Kawaguchi.

 

Maple Corridor (もみじ回路)
Address: Kawaguchi, Fujikawaguchiko, Minami Tsuru, Yamanashi 401-0304
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Nearest bus stop: Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Bus Stop (久保田一竹美術館)
Access: From Kawaguchiko Station, take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus to the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Bus Stop. The Maple Corridor is a 5-minute walk from the bus stop.

 

⑤ Mt. FUJI PANORAMIC ROPEWAY

View from the top of the ropeway. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Finally, the last place I have to recommend is Mt. FUJI PANORAMIC ROPEWAY (富士山パノラマロープウェイ Fujisan Panorama Rо̄puwei), which is not only a means of transportation, but also an attraction in itself, offering breathtaking views of Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Fuji, and the surrounding autumn foliage.

 

View of Lake Kawaguchi while taking the cable car up. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Rewarded with this view of Mount Fuji after climbing up to the viewing deck. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The ropeway takes you to the top of Mount Tenjo, where you can enjoy panoramic vistas of the area's natural beauty, including the fall colours.

 

Mt. FUJI PANORAMIC ROPEWAY (富士山パノラマロープウェイ)
Address: 1163-1 Asakawa Fujikawaguchiko, Minami Tsuru, Yamanashi 401-0303
Nearest station: Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅)
Nearest bus stop: Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway Bus Stop (ロープウェイ入口・遊覧船)
Access: 15-minute walk from Kawaguchiko Station. Alternatively, take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus and get off at the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway Bus Stop.
Opening hours: 9am–4pm (Weekdays), 9am–5pm (Weekends)
Admission fee (Round-trip): ¥900 (Adult), ¥450 (Child)
Tel: +81 555-72-0363

 

Access to Kawaguchiko

Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION (left) and Red Line Sightseeing Bus (right). (Image credit: photoAC (left) and Carissa Loh (right))

 

Amongst the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Kawaguchi is arguably the most popular and most accessible lake for viewing Mount Fuji, with plenty of other sightseeing attractions and activities to check out. To get to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo, simply hop on JR East’s Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION at Shinjuku Station (about 2 hours) or take a highway bus (about 1 hour 45 minutes). From Kawaguchiko Station, board the Fujikyuko Kawaguchiko Red Line Sightseeing Bus and consider opting for the 2-Day Unlimited Ride Pass (¥1,700) to easily get to the places I have shared above.

 

Bonus: Lakeside on the northern shore

Views of Mount Fuji from the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

If the weather is clear, the views will be spectacular almost everywhere you go on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi. Peak colour periods can vary from year to year due to weather conditions, so it's advisable to check local foliage reports when planning your visit. For a higher chance of seeing Mount Fuji, I recommend going in the early morning, as clouds tend to accumulate towards the afternoon. Which of these would you like to visit?

 

Header image credit: Carissa Loh

 

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