Saiko Iyashi No Sato Nenba is a settlement which was rebuilt after a devastating typhoon in 1966 destroyed the area. It is a settlement with thatched houses of “Kabuto-zukuri” (roofed like Samuri warrior helmet). Now after 40 years the area has been restored and remains rooted in the region’s history, culture and the natural environment.
The area is pedestrians only and built into a beautiful hillside with gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji. Once you park, walk to the ticket counter and you will receive a map of the settlement. There are 22 separate buildings each representing a different aspect of the old culture. For example, there is the Gorone-Kan (house to lie down and doze) and the Kutsurogi-ya (house of relaxation) and House of Oishi-tsumugi and Fabrics. Each of the houses are open to walk through and many have shops or activities which invite participation. On the day we visited (Sunday) there was an opportunity to participate in the art of paper making, dressing up in traditional Japanese clothing and Samurai warrior armor for a photo op (extra fee). In addition, lots of houses sold souvenirs representing their cultural element.
Be sure to bring your camera as the views of Mt. Fuji are amazing, the grounds are well kept and set in an idyllic Japanese hillside complete with babbling brook running through the middle. There is also a few small restaurants at the entrance with vending machines, ice cream, and clean restroom. The admission fee is: Adult ¥350, Child ¥150. Hours of operation are Summer: (Mar-Nov) 9am-5pm, open daily; Winter: (Dec-Feb) 9:30am-4:30pm, closed Wednesdays. Website: http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/iyashi/ but you’ll have to run it through translator! There are coupons for entry online sometimes. GPS: 35.501374, 138.659046 to turn off for parking.
DIRECTIONS: Leave Yokota from Fussa gate and turn left onto Route 16. Follow Route 16 to the Chuo Expwy. At the Otsuki JCT stay left to continue on the Chuo towards Fuji. At the Kawaguchiko Interchange exit the Chuo (you’ll be right next to Fujikyu Highland). Make a Right onto Route 139 (away from Fujikyu). Stay on 139 until you come to sign for Route 21. You’ll turn Right onto Route 21. You’ll see signs for Saiko Iyashio-Sato Village on your left. Parking is Free and plenty of it. – Jennifer Bobrowski, July 2013.
Comments by Sarah Straus, August 2013: We went on a Sunday in early August and had a wonderful time. It took us just 1.5 hours drive there, though in Sunday afternoon traffic it took us closer to 3 hours to drive home. The grounds were gorgeous and there was plenty to do with kids. My favorite part was the opportunity to dress up in traditional clothes for ¥1000 each. Adults and children can all dress up. There are gorgeous kimono and fun ninja costumes complete with swords. Once dressed up, you are free to walk the grounds with no time limit. Makes for some amazing photo opportunities.