The Fuji Five Lakes area is defined as the area north of Mt. Fuji, where five lakes can be found. This area is popular for those seeking outdoor adventures including boating, skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, swimming, camping, fishing etc. Open year round, winter sports include ice skating, and ice fishing. If you are not seeking outdoor adventure, you can discover museums, amusement parks, hot spring baths and more.
Yamanaka-Ko is the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes and is the second most developed lake behind Kawaguchi-Ko. If you are not into “roughing” it, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants to enjoy the lake in comfort. However, if you don’t mind getting close with mother nature, camping is common during the summer months. During the winter, the lake freezes over and offers ice fishing and skating.
Kawaguchi-Ko is the most developed and accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes. The lake is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, shops and more. A variety of museums, hot spring baths and tours will keep you entertained throughout the day. Additionally, the lake is located near the popular Fuji Q Highland amusement park. The northern shore offers stunning views of Mount Fuji.
Kawaguchi-Ko is also a popular place to begin your climb of Mount Fuji. If you are interested in climbing the mountain from bottom to top, you may want to start here. However, if you are looking for an easier climb, it is recommended that you begin your ascent at the Kawaguchi Fifth Station.
Sai-Ko is much less developed and is noted for its quiet, secluded setting. If you are interested in outdoor sports, this may be the lake for you. Rustic cabins and camping are offered and many outdoor activities include trout fishing, canoeing and hiking. The popular hike of Koyodai (Maple Hill) offers magnificent views of Mount Fuji.
If you are tired of the heat, you might be interested in exploring a few of Mount Fuji’s volcanic caves near Sai-Ko. These volcanic caves were developed during many of Mount Fuji’s eruptions and temperatures in the caves are near freezing. Three of these caves are accessible to tourists for exploring, namely the Bat Cave, Ice Cave and Wind Cave. Enjoy the cool temperatures, but be sure to bring a jacket, and watch for low ceilings and slippery surfaces.
Shoji-Ko is the smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes. Very sparsely developed, the Lake offers hotels on the northern shore with views of Mount Fuji. At the northwestern tip of the lake, fresh water marshes display spectacular colors in the autumn. Outdoor activities include fishing, hiking, and water sports such as wind surfing, boating and jet skiing.
Motosu-Ko is the deepest of the lakes and never freezes over in winter. Its deep blue water is a perfect mirror for Mt. Fuji. Simply flip over the ¥1000 note for a sneak peak of this stunning lake reflecting the image of Mount Fuji. Towards the end of April and through June, enjoy the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. Beginning in July, people camp along the beaches and enjoy paddle boarding and wind surfing. Outdoor activities also include kayaking, bike riding, scuba diving, hiking and more. On a hot day, the water is quite refreshing. If you plan to spend a day on the beach and jump in the water, don’t forget your waterproof shoes and folding chairs, as the beaches are quite rocky.
There are paddle board and kayak rentals on the northwestern shore, just off of the Lake’s west Highway 709 at Motosu Central Lodge. GPS, 35.47357,138.573555. – Michelle Nexon, July 2013; top photo by Rebekah Storman, November 2013.
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