Arguably one of the most stunning locations in Japan, Kawaguchiko is the perfect jump off point for travelers eager to challenge a climb up Mt. Fuji or to explore the shorter neighboring mountains. From shrines to monkey performances, there’s a lot to enjoy in this part of the Yamanashi Prefecture. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our top 20 picks for must-do activities in Kawagacuhiko.
1. See the Shibazakura Festival
See the fields near Mount Fuji come alive in various shades of pink and magenta during the Shibazakura Festival. Tourists and locals alike flock to this area of Kawaguchiko to see the colorful flowers in bloom. With the majestic Mt. Fuji as it’s backdrop, it’s definitely hard to beat this incredible view.
2. Eat Houtou
A local specialty of the Yamanshi in Kawaguchiko, Houtou is nabemono or hot pot dish that is often served in ryokans and specialty restaurants all over the Fuji Five Lakes region. Characterized by a thick miso based broth and thick and chewy noodles, Houtou is packed with umami flavors and is sure to hit the spot when the colder seasons hit. It’s served in a huge pot, so be sure to share it with your fellow travelers.
3. Go for a Ride on the Tenjo Yama Park Ropeway
Want to enjoy the mountain side without having to actually climb it? The Tenjo Yama Park Ropeway climbs the side of Mt. Kachi Kachi and gives way to drop dead gorgeous views of Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji in the distance. After the ride, spend sometime strolling around the grounds of Tenjo Yama Park as well to get your money’s worth.
- Name: Tenjo Yama Park
- Address: 1163-1 Asakawa, Kawaguchiko
- Price: ¥400
- Opening hour: 9:00 – 17:00
4. Go to the Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival
When Autumn comes in Kawaguchiko, the trees come alive in various shades of orange, red and brown, making a stroll through the streets a truly wonderful experience. During this time, the Autumn Leaves Festival takes place maple trees in Kawaguchiko are lit up by lights to magnify their beauty. Specialty stalls also start lining the streets and the best of Kawaguchiko’s local food and drink can be enjoyed at reasonable prices.
5. Buy Koshu Inden as a Souvenir
Did you know that Koshu Inden craftsmanship is over 400 years old? At Kawaguchiko, some of the most popular souvenirs are Koshu Inden coin purses with Japanese style clasps. They’re cute, relatively inexpensive and come in a great variety of designs and colors. Snag one for yourself or as gifts for friends and family back home.
6. Try Kinako Mochi
Delicious and extremely popular all over Japan, mochi is a lovely sweet treat that can easily be found in the country. In Kawaguchiko, the seeming local favorite is kinako mochi, meaning mochi covered in a fine soybean powder. For those who aren’t fond of overly sweet rice treats, kinako mochi is relatively tame in sweetness. Some variations also come filled with red bean paste.
7. Witness the Kawaguchiko Fireworks Festival
Every year in August, the entire population of Kawaguchiko is wowed by the grandest display of fireworks in the Kawaguchiko and Fujigoko area. Fun and festive, the Kawaguchiko Fireworks Festival a joy to spectate and the locals often line the streets to celebrate with beers and tasty food. Don’t miss out on this incredible festival by Lake Kawaguchiko.
8. Visit the UKAI Music Box Museum
A small gallery located inside the Kawaguchiko Music Forest, the UKAI Music Box Museum features vintage music boxes from various part of the world. Also on display are a variety of automatic musical instruments, which can be examined up close. If you’re a music lover and have a thing for those nostalgia inducing music boxes, you’ll definitely love a trip to this museum.
- Name: Kawaguchiko Music Forest
- Address: 3077-20 Kawaguchi, Fuji-Kawaguchiko-cho, Kawaguchiko
- Price: ¥1300
- Opening hour: 9:00 – 17:30
9. Taste Lavender Ice Cream
It may sound strange at first, but lavender ice cream is actually quite delicious. Sweet and fragrant, you will often find a line consisting of locals and tourists alike at ice cream vendors who sell this particular flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, Kawaguchiko has many other unique ice cream flavors to offer as well.
10. Enjoy the View of Mt. Fuji
Honestly, it’s crazy to go to Kawaguchiko and not even try to enjoy the breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji. There are a ton of places to enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji in this area, but our favorite is the idyllic one by the lake. Relax with a refreshing drink while taking in all of the beauty the scenery has to offer.
11. Slurp Up Yoshida Udon
A simple udon dish topped with steamed cabbage, Yoshida Udon is a popular snack for those climbing up Mt. Fuji. Not only will a bowl of this dish be guaranteed to warm your tummy, it’s flavor can also be easily adjusted to your tastes with a variety of miso condiments. Absolute yum right here.
12. Stop by the Yamanashi Gem Museum
Visit the only existing gem museum in the entire country of Japan at the Yamanashi Gem Museum. Featuring 3,000 gems from various regions of the world, the museum showcases stunning craftsmanship such as gem sculptures, while also exhibiting gems in their natural form. People from all over the world flock to this museum to see rare gems. If you’re not a fan of precious stones, come swing by anyways. The skill it takes to create gem sculptures deserves to be seen.
- Name: Yamanashi Gem Museum
- Price: ¥600
- Opening hour: 9:00 – 17:00
13. Visit the Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine
The Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine is not only ethereal and gorgeous, it also holds the distinction of being the oldest shrine in Kawaguchiko and around Mt. Fuji. Walk around the shrine to enjoy the lush nature surrounding it or visit in April to take part in the Hana Matsuri, also known as the Flower Festival.
- Name: Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine
- Address: 3951 Katsuyama, Fuji-Kawaguchiko-cho, Minami-tsuru-gun, Kawaguchiko
14. Try Ayu Sweetfish
If Ayu Sweetfish is in a season on your trip to Kawaguchiko, you should definitely try it. This delicately flavored fish is often served broiled or barbecued with just a pinch of salt as seasoning. Served with a side of vegetables, this dish is particularly popular in Kawaguchiko’s onsen villages and traditional ryokans.
15. Watch a Show at the Monkey Performance Theater
Ready to watch cute little monkeys strut their stuff on stage? At the Kawaguchiko Monkey Performance Theater, these auspicious creatures take center stage in humorous and enjoyable performances with their human counterparts. We have no doubt that this traditional Japanese show will leave you with a smile on your face.
- Name: Kawaguchiko Monkey Performance Theater
- Address: 2719-8 Kawaguchi, Fuji-Kawaguchiko
- Opening hour: 10:00 – 15:00
16. Paddle Around Lake Kawaguchiko
There’s no better way to enjoy a lake than to actually explore its waters on your own. At Lake Kawaguchiko, you can take out a paddle boat to enjoy the scenery of the lake and navigate its calm waters. Take your time and make it a leisurely experience for optimal enjoyment.
17. Visit the Kawaguchi Sengen Shrine
Built in 865, the ancient Kawaguchi Sengen Shrine is dedicated to the goddess Konohana Sakuyahime. Though the shrine itself is relatively small, the journey to the Kawaguchi Sengen is magical and other worldly. Relax in the tranquility of the shrine’s grounds and relish the sound of nature at its finest. To participate in the Chingono Mai Matsuri, visit the shrine in April.
- Name: Kawaguchi Sengen Shrine
- Address: 1 Kawaguchi, Fuji-Kawaguchiko-cho, Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture
18. Sip on Koshu Wine
Taste the speciality wine of Yamanashi while vacationing at Kawaguchiko. One of Japan’s fruit producing regions, Koshu Wine is made from a grape variety local to this region of the country. The striking flavor of this vintage is so lovely that it’s gained popularity in Europe. Pair it with some of that Ayu Sweetfish we were talking about earlier for a great meal.
19. See the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art
Unsurprisingly, Mt. Fuji has been the subject of many artist’s fascination and inspiration. At the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, that fascination with the magical mountain is showcased through paintings upon paintings of Mt. Fuji along with collections of box prints and stunning photographs. The museum itself offers a great view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko.
- Name: Kawaguchiko Museum of Art
- Price: ¥800
- Opening hour: 9:00 – 17:00
- Holiday: Closed on Tuesdays
20. Stop Over at Kawaguchiko Station
Looking for a completely unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji? Look no further than Kawaguchiko Station. The station is a popular stop for people eager to get a good view of the iconic mountain. There are also a handful of souvenir shops and restaurants to enjoy while at the station itself. Who knows, you could just find the perfect trinket to take home while you’re there.
No matter what season you decide to visit Kawaguchiko, there’s no doubt that a diverse array of activities will be right at your fingertips just waiting to enjoy. However, there is one thing that you must absolutely do regardless of your time of visit, and that is to just take a moment to enjoy the majesty of Kawaguchiko and the breathtaking vistas it’s home to.
Have a good trip and travel!