Autumn is a romantic season. The weather is chilling and joyful with the sun high up in the sky, but will not make you sweaty. It is also the season for koyo (colourful autumn leaves) and momiji hunting.
Lake Kawaguchiko/ Kawaguchiko 河口湖 is one of the best places to enjoy the best view of Mount Fuji especially on the northern shores. I love looking at Fuji-san (another name for Mount Fuji) and koyo leaves, so I come here during autumn. However, a two days one night trip is never enough to explore Kawaguchiko. There are lots of attractions to stop by and most are accessible by bus. If you use the Sightseeing Bus Unlimited Ride Coupon, you could get on and off the bus to check out every place. There is Koyo Tunnel – a tunnel full with momiji (maple leaves) but this place is not accessible by bus. You can either drive, walk, or go there by taxi. I had to give up checking out the Koyo Tunnel due to the time constraints.
There are few modes of transportation to go to Kawaguchiko. I took the bus as it is convenient, time-saving and the cheapest. The one-way journey takes about 1 hour 45 minutes and it costs ¥1750 per person.
Along the way, I had my light breakfast bought from a nearby convenience store, enjoyed a light nap, and the scenery.
The Sightseeing Bus Unlimited Ride Coupon is for sale at ¥1200 and you can take the unlimited ride in Kawaguchiko and Saiko (red line and green line) for two consecutive days while the Kawaguchiko line cost only ¥1030. I bought the package of R Coupon priced at ¥2300 which comes with a two-day free pass for Sightseeing Bus Unlimited Ride Coupon, Mount Kachi-kachi Ropeway and Kawaguchiko “En Soleil” Sightseeing boat Ride (both ropeway and boat ride is one time use, but you can choose to go on the day you bought the ticket or the next day). The breakdown itself is already ¥1200 for the sightseeing bus, ¥720 for ropeway and ¥930 for “En Soleil”. Hence, you can save a bit when you get the R Coupon.
1. Eat Houtou ほうとう at Houton Fudou
Houtou noodle is a popular noodle hotpot dish that can only be found in the Fuji Lakes area, as it is a type of specialty in Yamanashi Perfecture. It is often served in an iron pot with the miso-based soup broth that is loaded with pumpkin and seasonal vegetables. It looks like pan mee, the Chinese noodle which is flat, but Houtou is slightly thicker.
A bowl of Houtou (¥ 1080) can be shared among two people because the portion is really huge.
You can also buy some prepacked houtou here. You could make your own delicious houtou at home by adding in Japanese pumpkin and cabbage.
2. Go up to Mount Kachi Kachi in three minutes and look at Fuji-san
Take the ropeway up to Mount Kachi Kachi and enjoy the panoramic view of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. If the sky is clear, you might be able to see the Minami Alps (Mount Akaishi and Mount Arakawa) from here.
With the view of Mount Fuji in your sight, try the Pichi Pichi Peach (Peach Juice) and the charcoal-fired Tanuki Dango, a grilled mochi from the Tanuki Tea House.
This is the Bell of Tenjo, a popular spot at Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway observation area. Couples can ring the bell and pledge their love here.
3. Kawaguchiko Natural Living Centre
A blueberry cultural centre overlooking the beautiful Kawaguchiko with the view of Mount Fuji in sight. You can also see beautiful fields of blueberry and lavender from here. During July to August, you can come here and experience picking fresh blueberries. Hands-on classes are available for making blueberry, rhubarb, and blueberry-raspberry jams too.
I was here to see these cute kokia balls. Kokia is also known as Bassia scoparia. It is green in colour but turns purplish red in autumn.
Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center
Address | 2585 Oishi, Fuji Kawaguchiko-machi, Minami Tsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture
Entrance Fee | Free
Directions | On the red line: Natural Living Center is located at bus stop #22 (the last stop of the red line).
4. Take a random pit stop for momiji fever
This pit stop was located at bus stop #9
5. Shop for souvenirs along the way
There are a number of souvenir shops along the way to Mount Kachi Kachi, selling almost the same products. Do compare the pricing before buying the same items can be cheaper in another shop.
Do check out Fujiyama Cookies for the yummy, fragrant and buttery cookies.
6. Enjoy the full course meals and sleep in a comfortable futon bed after a bath
I stayed at Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou.
I dressed up in a Yukata and enjoyed dinner. This was the best course meal I ever had, and the most unforgettable one. It was so good.
These futon beds are really comfortable.
Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou
Address | 401-0301 Yamanashi, Fujikawaguchiko, Funatsu 4020
Directions | On the red line: the hotel is at bus stop #10 (Funatsu-Hama Onsen Town)
7. Look at precious stones
The Yamanashi Gem Museum displays gems, precious stones and large quartz crystals collected from Japan and around the world.
Yamanashi Gem Museum
Address | 6713 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
Entrance Fee | ¥600
Directions | On the red line: it is located at bus stop #8
8. Soak up the fragrant scent in Kawaguchiko Hall of Herb & Fragrance
Kawaguchiko Herbkan housed a few departments under its roof. There are Herb Garden, Herb Tea Shop, Greenhouse Café, House of Fragrance, Castella Factory and an experience studio on the second floor of the main building.
This is lavender ice cream. This ice cream was made with real lavender from their farm. It’s light and lovely.
Address | 6713-18 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
Entrance Fee | FreeDirections | On the red line: Located at bus stop #7
9. Sail on the Kawaguchiko “En Soleil” – Excursion Ship
It’s a journey that takes about 20 minutes to tour around the lake. Go to the upper deck seat for a magnificent view of Mount Fuji. If the sky is clear, you should be able to see it.
Directions | On the red line: Board the omni/ retro bus from Kawaguchiko station to bus stop #11 for the cruise.
10. More shopping at Kawaguchiko Station
Don’t leave without getting more souvenirs as most of it are only available here at Yamanashi prefecture.
A girl who has wanderlust and love travel very much. She deeply falls in love with Japan ever since she stepped onto the "land of rising sun" in year 2002. She always wishes to explore more about Japan; the beauty of its art and culture, people and spirit, food and language. She finds that every prefecture in Japan is very unique and different from one another and always has a dream to visit all 47 prefectures in Japan.