If you come to Fujiyoshida without visiting Chureito Pagoda, then you will have missed the most famous view from Mount Fuji’s north side. I happened to visit the pagoda this spring, and I was not disappointed by the view.
Make sure to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to ensure you get the best picture of Mount Fuji, as the sun will be exactly where you don’t want it to be by midday. To get Fuji with a dusting of snow, plan to visit from November to May. Mount Fuji is virtually guaranteed to have snow from the peak of the autumn season through to the end of the cherry-blossom season.
As you climb the staircase to the pagoda, you will want to turn to take some pictures of Mount Fuji. If you are in a wheelchair, there is a special parking area just below the pagoda. The staircase is quite formidable, so make sure you reasonably fit before you make the climb.
Once you have taken your prize-winning photo, I recommend making the 30-minute climb to the next spot for viewing Mount Fuji (without the large crowds that gather behind the pagoda).
Take an express train from JR Shinjuku Station to JR Otsuki Station on the JR Chuo Line (about an hour). Change to the privately-run Fuji Kyuko Line for Kawaguchiko Station (JR Rail Pass not accepted). The regular train (the express train does not stop near the pagoda) takes about an hour to reach Kawaguchiko Station. However, before you arrive at Kawaguchiko Station, get off at Shimoyashida Station (three stops before Kawaguchiko Station). The Pagoda is about a 15-minute walk from Shimoyoshida Station.
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