When talking about tourist attractions in Japan, you might get recommendations based on people's likes and dislikes. Many foreign travelers want to see Mt. Fuji, the symbolic mountain of Japan. However, most popular tourist destinations around Japan don't offer views of this majestic mountain. In this feature, we talk about Shimoyoshida (下吉田) in Yamanashi Prefecture. This station is located near the cool amusement park, Fuji-Q Highland, and the popular tourist attraction of Lake Kawaguchiko. It is a station that is relatively unknown to many Japanese people but has gained popularity amongst foreingers, be it Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian. So let's check it out.
As you can see the station name is displayed in many languages. Most local tourists get off here to visit the amusement park.
The station building itself has an art deco feel and its extremely cute in a light peach. You can choose to use taxis or buses to move around town but the first place we're going to visit is a 10-15 minute walk from the station.
Take stunning shots of a traditional Japanese town with Mt. Fuji
The must-see photo spot in this city is where you can take pictures of a Showa-style shopping street lined with streetlights with Mt. Fuji in the background. Since it is a regular road, taking photos here can be tricky. Because there are cars passing all the time and the popularity of this street for photos, there are even warning notices for people to take photos only when the lights are green for pedestrian crossings. If you plan to visit here, please be respectful and cooperate for everyone's safety.
There is one photo spot that we highly recommend to get your perfect shot. Here, you don't have to wait for a green light for pedestrians. From the edges of this intersection, you only need a good zoom lens to capture your shot. You will definitely get a picture of a Japanese-style street with beautiful Mt. Fuji. Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/SFhLrX1XjG2wogVf8
The best time to get a good shot of the mountain is just before sunset and the lights on the street are lit. Of course, it doesn't matter when you come, it is beautiful at any time of the day. The subtle pink post sunset, the streetlights and Mount Fuji creates a romantic atmosphere.
Tips for taking photos here. 1. Check the weather forecast for a clear day. 2. Must have a zoom lens. 3. If you want to take photos of Mount Fuji covered with snow, come during November-March.
Arakura Fuji Sengen Jinja Shrine (新倉富士浅間神社)
Next, we visit a famous shrine located on a hill. This spot is where you can take a photo of a vermillion Japanese pagoda with Mt. Fuji in the background. In spring, you can enjoy cherry blossoms while autumn, you can soak in the warmth of the colorful foliage. It is a stunning spot no matter the season.
Since we visited in autumn, we got to enjoy the changing colors of foliage.
The only way to get to the shrine is using stairs or walking up a slope. Whichever way you choose, make sure to wear comfortable shoes as it is quite a tiring walk but the views are worth the pain.
If you choose the stairs, you can see autumnal colors on both sides.
Remember to turn around and look on the opposite side as you will see Mt. Fuji.
After about 20-30 minutes, you will reach the top and be in front of the shrine.
Unfortunately, the viewing deck is being renovated for the coming spring season. The deck was quite small and would get overcrowded easily. The good news for everyone who is coming to Japan next year is that the viewpoint will be bigger and therefore, accommodate more tourists. It is scheduled to be completed in April 2022, which is when the cherry blossoms are at their peak here.
This is an image from last year. It's quite a magical spot as you can see many important cultural aspects of Japan in one glance.
What did you think of these two charming spots of Shimoyoshida? Are you keen to visit them? You can here on your way back from Lake Kawaguchiko or alternatively, you can take a day trip here by taking the express train to Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku Station. Keep your fingers crossed for the borders to open for tourists soon.
Arakura Fuji Sengen Jinja Shrine(新倉富士浅間神社) Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/BK23C4NbuXBGQF8FA
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