What a great morning and we were ready to explore Lake Kawaguchi. We visited Lake Kawaguchi on Christmas Eve and we hope that we can see Mount Fuji clearly today.
We departed quite early from our hotel because we need to arrive at Shinjuku station at 8am. We will use bus from Shinjuku West Terminal to go to Lake Kawaguchi.
Visitors can pre-book the bus at home country using below link:
Since we booked 8.15 am bus, we need to arrive at Shinjuku West Terminal at least by 8am.
We were quite surprised to know that our booking already cancelled because we had not make payment. The officer told us that we need to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure to avoid cancellation.
Note: if you book the ticket at home country, it’s better to stay around Shinjuku so you can pay the ticket one day in advance to avoid surprises.
Luckily, the officer told us that there were still empty seats left and we still can buy the tickets for 8.15am departure. What a relief!
The journey to Lake Kawaguchi takes about 1 hour 45 minutes, dependent on traffic condition.
At around 10am, we arrived at Lake Kawaguchiko station. The weather is getting colder and it was quite windy on Kawaguchiko area.
To explore Kawaguchiko area, visitors need to use Fujikyuko Retro/Omni bus.The bus operates from Kawaguchiko Station at 15 minute intervals, traveling around not only Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Saiko, but also sightseeing facilities such as Mt.Kachi kachi Ropeway, Lake Kawaguchiko Pleasure Cruiser “En Soleill”, Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum, Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Saiko Iyashi-no-Sato Nenba etc.
We bought R coupon package consist of 2 days Retro bus ticket (blue line and green line), Ropeway ticket and En Soleil boat cruise.
The cost for R coupon package: 2,360 yen for adult, 1,680 of children. Free for child below 6 years old.
Please note that they don’t sell 1 day Retro bus ticket (only 2 days are available and cover both green and red line)
Red Line bus goes to attraction around Lake Kawaguchi like Mt Kachi Kachi Ropeway and En Soleil boat cruise.
Green line bus goes to attraction around Lake Saiko like Saiko Iyashi Sato Nemba.
Our first stop is Mt Kachi Kachi Ropeway (red line bus, station 11). The ropeway reaches the summit (Mt. Tenjo-yama Park) in three minutes. Mt. Tenjo-yama Park is one of best spot to view the famous Mount Fuji. At an elevation of 1,075 meters, visitors will be able to enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, and on fair weather days even the Minami Alps (Mount Akaishi and Mount Arakawa) are visible.
I must admit that the view from the top is stunning and beautiful, especially the beautiful Mount Fuji. It was a Christmas gift for us to be able to see Mount Fuji clearly.
After we took a lot of photos at Mt. Tenjo-yama observation deck, we took the ropeway again back to the ropeway station and visited nearby cookie store. We bought colourful Mt Fuji cookies which has 4 flavors. Each piece cost about 140yen.
Next, we had our lunch at a restaurant in front of En Soleil cruise boat area. This restaurant located at second floor, on top of mini market. For our lunch, we had yummy Hoto noodle served in hot iron pot, a perfect companion especially during winter season.
Hoto (ほうとう, Hōtō) is a hearty hot pot dish local to Yamanashi Prefecture. The dish consists of thick wheat noodles in a miso based soup and is often served in an iron pot.
While hoto noodles resemble extra thick udon noodles, they are prepared more like dumplings, and lend a heartier quality to the dish than udon would. The soup is traditionally a miso based broth with pumpkin and other seasonal vegetables added. It can be enjoyed all over the Fujigoko region at specialized restaurants, hotels, ryokan and other restaurants as well.
After a satisfying lunch, we quickly cross the street and register our name for En Soleil Lake Kawaguchi Cruise boat. It was a gorgeous 20 minutes boat cruise on Lake Kawaguchiko. The view of Mt. Fuji and the scenery of town from the pleasure boat are wonderful and the kids liked the cruise so much.
Mount Fuji shot from boat cruise
After completed the boat cruise, we quickly boarded the red line bus back to Kawaguchiko station and boarded the green line bus to go to Saiko Iyashino Sato Nemba. This place is also one of best spot to view Mount Fuji.
Iyashi no Sato (いやしの里) stands on the site of a former farming village on the western shores of Lake Saiko. The village was destroyed by a landslide during a typhoon in 1966. Forty years later the village’s traditional thatched roofed houses were reconstructed and reopened as an open air museum and traditional craft village where people can learn about the culture and try out and purchase different handicrafts.
The travelling time from Kawaguchiko station to Saiko Iyashino Sato Nenba took about 40 minutes. After arriving, we quickly bought the entrance ticket and ask the officer where we can rent Japanese kimono.
Japanese kimono can be rented on house no 12. However, please note that kimono rental ended at 3.30 pm during winter. Kimono rental fee is 500 yen per person (same price for adult and kids) and visitors can wear the kimono for 1 hour.
Saito Iyashino Sato Nenba was gorgeous and beautiful. We felt like we are at different era, surrounded by many Japanese traditional houses in peaceful and calming environment. Honestly, we took a lot of photo at this place, especially with the traditional Japanese costumes we wore on.
We took the green line bus back to Kawaguchiko station and it’s time for dinner. We visited Fuji Tempura Idaten restaurant and had Japanese tempura for dinner. So yummy! The tempura is so crunchy and delicious especially when you dip to the sauce.
The weather went colder and it reached -1 degree Celcius when we were at Lake Kawaguchi.
The colder the weather, the kids were happier. They started to see smoke come out from their mouth. They started to have “smoke” war and ask their sibling to see the smoke which come out from their mouth.
At 8pm, we boarded the bus back to Shinjuku West Terminal.
Since the trip to Lake Kawaguchi is quite long, it is recommended to stay one night in Lake Kawaguchi area. One day can be allocated for Lake Kawaguchi area. The other day can be used to explore Lake Saiko area.
Lake Kawaguchi attraction map can be accessed from this link: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/heritage-tour/detail/id/1/
Sample of 2 days itinerary can be accessed from this link: https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/fuji/course/fuji_sample01.html
We reached our hotel around 10.30 pm and it was a satisfying and happy Christmas Eve day for us.