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2015/04/16 - Fujigoko Report
by scott

The cherry blossoms have finished around Tokyo and Kyoto and are now moving into the higher elevation areas and cooler northern regions of Japan. One of these later blooming areas is the popular Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region at the base of Mount Fuji, about two hours west of Tokyo.

There are several cherry blossoms spots around the Fuji Five Lakes, especially around Lake Kawaguchiko, from where you can enjoy views of the blossoms together with Mount Fuji in the background. The cherry trees around the lakes reached full bloom early this week and still looked right at their peak today despite the strong rains that have been drenching parts of the country. The petals still looked strong today and should remain at their peak through early next week.

Chureito Pagoda
April 16, 2015 - full bloom

One of the most popular spots to see cherry blossoms in Fujigoko is at the Chureito Pagoda which stands on a hill overlooking Fujiyoshida City. The view of the pagoda swimming in a sea of cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji in the distance is unmatched and one of the best views in Japan.

I arrived this morning to some of the best cherry blossoms I've seen around the pagoda, with full bunches of flowers on every tree. It was also the busiest I've ever seen the grounds, with so many cars that they began directing people to park at an overflow lot. Turns out they were filming a Vietnamese TV Drama at the base of the pagoda, which accounted for a lot of the cars. Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) it seems that bus tours are visiting the pagoda now, so I'd definitely recommend getting here as early as possible to avoid the crowds.

Lake Kawaguchiko - Eastern Shore
April 16, 2015 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (Yaebeni Shidarezakura)

Several rows of cherry blossoms are planted along a promenade on the eastern side of Lake Kawaguchiko in front of all the ryokan that line the shore. While there were a few Somei Yoshino trees scattered along the walk at their peak today, are is perhaps more interesting for the row of later blooming Yaebeni Shidarezakura weeping cherry trees planted over a walking path along the water. These darker pink blossoms are a nice change of pace from the normal white flowers and bloom a little later, helping to prolong the season. As expected, they were not quite as far along and were still approaching full bloom today, so I wouldn't expect them to reach their peak for at least another few days.

Lake Kawaguchiko - Ubuyagasaki Peninsula
April 16, 2015 - full bloom

A small group of cherry trees on the Ubuyagasaki Peninsula lies just a few hundred meters down the road at the base of the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge that crosses the lake. These trees were at full bloom today and particularly well placed for views of Mount Fuji in combination with Lake Kawaguchiko and cherry blossoms.

Lake Kawaguchiko - Northern Shore
April 16, 2015 - full bloom

The northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko is probably the best spot to see the blossoms with Mount Fuji. Several hundred cherry trees are planted along a promenade park over grass and walkways along the water, making a very nice area to enjoy the blossoms either as you stroll along the path or have a picnic (hanami) under the trees. The local cherry blossom festival will be held along the shore until April 19, during which time the area will be further enhanced by a few tents selling handcrafted goods and outdoor food stalls for visitors to enjoy. In addition, the blossoms will be lit up in the evenings until 21:00.

Fuji View Hotel
April 16, 2015 - full bloom

My final stop today was the Fuji View Hotel along the southern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. A new Fujigoko cherry blossom spot for us this year, the hotel features several dozen cherry trees, including some very nice weeping cherries planted around its gardens. The hotel is kind enough to open the gardens for the public to enjoy during the cherry blossom season, and visitors are free to wander the grounds and have a picnic under the trees. The hotel is conveniently a stop along the Retro Bus - Saiko Line. Get off at the Shikishima no Matsu bus stop (about 15 minutes from Kawaguchiko Station) at the lower entrance to the hotel gardens.

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List of Posts:
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Report
2015/04/16 - Fujigoko Report
2015/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2015/04/13 - Takizakura Report
2015/04/10 - Himeji Report
2015/04/10 - Takada Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/09 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Report
2015/04/08 - Matsumoto Report
2015/04/07 - Yoshino Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/05 - Okayama Report
2015/04/04 - Hiroshima Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/03 - Nagoya Report
2015/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Report
2015/04/01 - Kumagaya Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Report
2015/03/30 - Tokyo Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Report