The chances of being able to see Mount Fuji from distance during rainy season in Japan are incredibly low. Still, I beat the odds last June. Always trust your travel instinct. That’s my motto, and it was proved that when choosing randomly a day to make an excursion to one of the most popular spots to observe the Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture. From the Chureito Pagoda, part of the Arakura sengen shrine and the park where is located in Fujiyoshida.
One of the greatest landscape symbols of Japan. Has been photographed from every angle and distance, specially blooming on Instagram feeds every Spring with the cherry blossom and Autumn for Momiji. And Chureito Pagoda is one of the portrait symbols of Fuji. The prove of how a single photo can make a huge influence for tourism in a destination.
The city is not only the Arakura sengen shrine. Located in Yamanashi prefecture, northern side from Mount Fuji, it also marks the starting point of one of the most traveled ascending trails to the iconic volcano, the Yoshida trail. Also, it boosts tourism with the theme park Fuji-Q Highland. Kaneyama Onsen is a great resort to relax, and the surroundings of Fujiyoshida and parks are a good trekking practice.
Arakura Sengen shrine
The shrine, within the boundaries of Arakurayama sengen park is on the base of the trail to the Chureito Pagoda, which has stolen all protagonism from the shrine for its iconic photographer spot. The Pagoda is a five store construction, built as a peace memorial in 1963. There are some points of information along the shrine and statues commemorating the Meiji period. The park goes up to several nature spots and landscapes, deep into the forest, like waterfalls and Fuji sightseeing spots. If the idea is just to capture the Fuji from the Chureito Pagoda, it can take about an hour to do so. On the other hand, to explore the whole area calmly and enjoy nature could take all day. Bring drinks for the trekking, specially in the humid-hot summer season.
At the shrine, the decoration details surprised me, as there are demon figures around the ceiling.
How to get there
To get there, is a 10-20 minute walk from Shimoyoshida station. There are maps and indications to make the walk easier for visitors. And how to get to Shimoyoshida station, depends on your budget and schedule. With the JR pass the best rout is from Shinjuku, but in any case, at one point a transfer to the Fujikyu line is obligatory. In our case, we took the Narita Express and transfered in Otsuki station because the combination train was better that day.