Lake Kawaguchiko (ë═îűî╬) is the most easily accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes with train and direct bus connections to Tokyo. A hot spring resort town with various tourist attractions and views of Mount Fuji is located around the lake's eastern end, while the northern and western shores are mostly undeveloped.
The best views of Mount Fuji can be enjoyed from the lake's northern shores and are particularly breathtaking during the cherry blossom season around mid April and the autumn colors around the first half of November. One of the nicest spots for cherry blossoms is the seaside promenade near the Kawaguchiko Music Forest, while photographers will enjoy the "Momiji Tunnel" for autumn colors, a maple tree covered road section along the lake's northern shore.
Be warned that even though Kawaguchiko is located right at the base of Mount Fuji, the mountain is not always visible because of clouds. Visibility tends to be best in the early mornings (usually before 9am) and in the late afternoons, while clouds often obstruct the view during daytime even on days with fair weather, and especially so during the hazy summer months.
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (Mar to Nov), 9:30 to 16:30 (Dec to Feb) Departures every 5-10 minutes Closed: No closing days Admission: 900 yen (round trip)
The Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway ascends to an observation point near the summit of Mount Tenjo, from where Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji can be seen. The ropeway is one end point of the popular day hike to Mount Mitsutoge.
A unique museum that displays kimono created by Kubota Itchiku, who spent his lifetime reviving the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing. The kimono on display depict themes of nature and the cosmos and include his unfinished masterpiece "Symphony of Light", comprised of 80 kimono that together form a picture of Mount Fuji.
Kawaguchiko Museum of Art
Hours: 9:30 to 17:00 (admission until 16:30) Closed: Tue (unless Tue is a national holiday), New Year holidays Admission: 800 yen
The Kawaguchiko Museum of Art houses temporary exhibitions of Japanese and foreign modern artists as well as a small permanent collection of paintings and photographs featuring Mount Fuji.
More theme park than museum, the Kawaguchiko Music Forest is devoted to automatic musical instruments, such as music boxes and mechanical organs. The beautifully designed grounds with European styled gardens have nice views of Mount Fuji and are operated by the Ukai Group which also runs the Glass Forest in Hakone.
Yamanashi Gem Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 17:30 (Mar to Oct), 9:30 to 17:00 (Nov to Feb) Entry ends 30 minutes before closing. Closed: Wed (unless Wed is a national holiday), New Year holidays Admission: 600 yen
The Yamanashi Gem Museum displays gems, precious stones and large quartz crystals collected from Japan and around the world. Half of the museum is a store where you can purchase jewelry and other trinkets made with the same types of gems on display.
Hours: 9:00 to 20:00 Closed: No closing days Admission: Free
The Herb Hall is basically a store with a herb garden and greenhouse where you can view and purchase herbs, tea and dried flowers. Behind the Herb Hall stands the Perfume Hall where you can buy perfumes, aroma oils and soaps.
Hot Spring Baths
Daytime Hours: 13:00 to 20:00 Closed: No closing days Daytime Admission: 1200 yen
This aging hotel is the only among the ryokan and hotels along the northeastern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko, which opens its baths to non-staying guests during daytime. Its gender separated bathing facilities have seen better days, but the views of Mount Fuji are quite nice.
Kaiun no Yu
Daytime Hours: Inquire with the operator Closed: No closing days Daytime Admission: 1000 yen for 2 hours
Kaiun no Yu is part of the Royal Hotel Kawaguchiko along the lake's southern shore. The baths are open to non staying guests, however, they are rather average and do not have views of Mount Fuji.
Getting there and around
Kawaguchiko Station is the terminal station of the Fujikyu Railway from Otsuki. The bus terminal for local buses and highway buses to/from Tokyo, Kofu, Gotemba and other destinations is located just in front of the station.
From Kawaguchiko Station, the Omni Bus lines provide tourists with local transportation around Lake Kawaguchiko and neighboring Lake Saiko: The Red Line (or Kawaguchiko Line) operates along Lake Kawaguchi's eastern and northeastern shores, while the Green Line (or Saiko Line) operates along Lake Kawaguchiko's southern shore before continuing to Lake Saiko.