Rising 3776 meters above sea level, Mount Fuji is Japan's tallest mountain and most iconic landmark. Images of the nearly perfect, solitary volcano have appeared in paintings, wood block prints and other artworks for centuries. Some collections even attempt to capture the essence of seeing the mountain from various viewpoints, Hokusai's popular "36 Views of Mount Fuji" being a prime example.
There are many opportunities for travelers to enjoy views of Mount Fuji. Of course, the most obvious would be to climb the mountain, as you cannot help but see the slopes as you plod along the trails up to the peak. But the climbing season only lasts for a few months and frankly, Mount Fuji looks better from afar than from close up.
Mount Fuji can be seen from countless points in the surrounding regions, seemingly assuming a different character from each perspective. On the clearest of days, its white capped peak may be visible from hundreds of kilometers away; however, more often than not the view of the mountaintop is obstructed by low hanging clouds or poor visibility. To increase your chances of success, try to see the mountain in the early mornings or late afternoons, especially during the colder winter months when visibility tends to better than during summer. The mountain's famous snow cap is typically visible from around November to around May.
The Fuji Five Lakes region on the northern slopes of Mount Fuji offers visitors the highest chance for good views of the mountain due to its proximity. The more distant Hakone is also a popular place to see the mountain, but odds of catching clear views are lower there since it needs to be clear both in Hakone and around the mountain. The following list includes these and other good spots from which to get a nice view of Mount Fuji:
On clear days, many of Tokyo's observation decks offer interesting views of Mount Fuji in contrast with the urban skyline of Tokyo. Thanks to an improvement in air quality, the number of days that Mount Fuji is visible from central Tokyo has steadily risen over the past decades and now stands at over 120.
From the Shinkansen
The Tokaido Shinkansen runs south of Mount Fuji allowing travelers a view of the mountain from the trains as they whiz by. The fields south of the track also offer nice views of the trains and the mountain together.
From the Fuji Five Lake Region
Just north of the mountain, the Fuji Five Lake region offers some of the best views of Mount Fuji. There are several vantage points around the lakes from which to get beautiful views of the mountain. The area is also one of only a few places in Japan were you can see the rare "Double Diamond Fuji", i.e. Mount Fuji together with its reflection just as the rising or setting sun touches the mountain's peak.
Hakone offers some of the most beautiful views of Mount Fuji... when you can actually see it. Unfortunately visibility is often poor, especially during midday when fog and low clouds may gather on the mountain.
From the Miura Peninsula
From the Izu Peninsula
From Shizuoka City
From the air
From hot spring baths
One of the most relaxing ways to see Mount Fuji is from an onsen bath. There are a few popular hot spring resort towns around the mountain; however, there are surprisingly few ryokan and public baths from where you can actually view the mountain while relaxing in the steaming hot water.
From the ski slopes
Two small ski resorts can be found on the lower slopes of Mount Fuji that offer skiers and snowboarders a unique view of the mountain as they barrel down its slopes.