Trip to Yamanakako — Part of Fuji 5 Lakes with one of the best views of Mount Fuji

I went to Yamanaka Lake (Yamanakako) in winter and spent 3D2N there. We were blessed with clear skies throughout the 3 days which allowed us to see Fujisan in its full glory. Yamanakako is part of Fuji 5 Lakes and the second most developed lake after Kawaguchiko.

We took a bus from Shinjuku station which takes about 2.5 hours (2050 yen). Do buy the bus tickets in advance as we didn’t but were really lucky to get the last 2 tickets.

It is also much colder in Yamanakako so put on more layers! If not you’ll freeze and get a terrible cold.

Fujisan from the bus!

We arrived at our ryokan (Ryokan Kajiyaso) after sun set. The owners are 2 friendly old ladies who kindly lent me their personal hair dryer and chatted quite a fair bit with us when we checked out. They said that we were lucky to have a clear view of fujisan during our entire stay as many tourists came and left without getting a clear view of Fujisan.

View of our room! The room is equipped with a kotatsu* and portable heater.I got really excited when I saw the kotatsu as it completed my Japanese ryokan experience. I have seen kotatsu in Japanese dramas and manga so it was a defining moment for me. 😍

The downside of this ryokan is that the portable heater uses kerosene so you can’t switch it on throughout the night which makes nights really cold for the both of us. We had to wear our Uniqlo down jackets to sleep even under the blanket. The taps didn’t have warm water too so it was quite a torture to wash our faces and brush our teeth in the morning and night.

* low, wooden table frame covered by a futon, or heavy blanket with heater

Apart from the cold, the ryokan has a nice vintage layout

We left the ryokan after we put down our bags and explored the area a bit. The sky was full of stars! I don’t have a photo of it as I didn’t bring my DSLR but the view had made a deep impression on me.

We woke up at 5am the next day to catch the first sunrise of 2017 from our room while keeping ourselves warm under the kotatsu. This made up for the cold that we had to bear!

Breathtaking.

It was low peak season so there weren’t a lot of people around. We just sat on parked boat and had our breakfast everyday (without permission). 😜

We walked A LOT during our trip there though there are buses available. Mainly because we just wanted to enjoy the scenery and we felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves.

We walked to a main area and had combini lunch as stores were closed.

  1. Yamanaka Suwa Shrine

This shrine is mean for praying for babies and smooth delivery.

A lot of families visit this shrine with their children.

I saw a toddler fell out of the pram and flat on his face as the pavement was uneven which caused the pram to topple.😟

They served warm rice wine (it’s free!)

2. Swan Lake Boat Tour

Somehow there were alot of swans in the area which could be the reason why they named their boat tour swan lake.

The swan lake boat tour takes you around Yamanakako

Opening Hours: Weekdays ( 09:00 AM ~ 06:00 PM )

Price: 1,000 yen (adults) 500 yen (children)

Address: 506 Hirano, Yamanakako-mura, Minami-Tsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401–0301

We took the boat to another part of Yamanakako to explore

Unspoiled beauty

The stop that we dropped off was pretty secluded so I wouldn’t recommend it though we had a nice view of the sun set.

3. Diamond Fuji

This is the place where you get to see ‘Diamond Fuji’ which is when the sun is directly at the peak of Fujisan. It only happens a few times in a year so please check out this website for the dates.

We somehow managed to make our way back on foot and caught this spectacular view while getting our dinner at 7–Eleven.

4. Paronama-dai

We did a little hiking the next day to Paronama-dai. Most people drive up but well..we didn’t rent a car. The hike was easy so it was alright!

(photo of the left side)

(photo of the right side)

We made our descent by walking at the side of the road!

We passed by a tennis court and fields which I think are used for school summer camps. Imagine playing a game with fujisan as the backdrop!

Amazing view at every point!

5. Nagaike Water Park

We were at the park at around 4.30pm so there weren’t many people around. Nothing much in winter to be honest but it is very lovely during spring and autumn.

They had an open air stage and it frames fujisan nicely!

We stayed at the park until sunset and took many photographs of this postcard worthy view.

We took a bus back to Tokyo the next day. Overall I really enjoyed waking up to Fujisan everyday and enjoying the slow pace life even if it was for a while!

Thank you for reading!