The next great destination in Asia is Mount Fuji, the most important iconic symbol in Japan. UNESCO has just awarded this mountain World Heritage status, so the significance for climbing it is that much greater, but if you are not into climbing then there are so many other ways to appreciate the view. I recommend climbing Fuji at least once in your lifetime if you decide to either visit or move to Japan.
For millions of backpackers and holiday makers, Mount Fuji has been a must-go-to place, especially for those who want to experience being in the presence of one of Japan's most venerated sites, and to feel the history of the region. It goes without saying that so many great poets, scholars, and men of high repute have trekked this mountain in search of enlightenment. For many, to get a glimpse of an ethereal realm where the Japanese race once evolved from according to ancient lore.
Many of us have not been fortunate enough to climb Mount Fuji, at least not yet. Now I have an excuse to go for it this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this mountain from afar. The awe of this mountain can still be felt from every cardinal direction, including the air and from under the sea.
You can enjoy views of Mount Fuji from the comfort of a speeding bullet train across hundreds of miles of tea plantations dotted along Shizuoka Prefecture. You have your lunch box and cold rice brew there on the tray table while taking in one of the best views of the greatest mountain in Japan. If you are bound for Shizuoka via Shin-Yokohama, you should be sitting in the right starboard side window seat.
You could also enjoy Fuji from air if you have a window seat. You are sitting there on your domestic flight to Sapporo, and from the left side of your window you can see the snow-capped peaks of Fuji with your lunch box and cold beer in hand. The weather is gorgeous and you know you are off to a good start.
If you are a city dweller type, then you can visit the Mori Building in downtown Tokyo. Take the elevator up to the top floor, order some drinks at the bar, and sit down near the window and take in a nice sunset with Fuji in the backdrop while humming the national anthem of Japan in between sips.
If you are a tree hugging nature lover then perhaps the best way to enjoy views of Mount Fuji is from a pine grove. Miho no Matsubara is a pine grove that was also included in Mount Fuji's world heritage list of areas. If you have ever seen a picture postcard of Japan, you will immediately identify with this imagery of lake, pine grove, and Fuji in the backdrop. It is perhaps one of the oldest and most photographed areas of the whole mountain.
If natural hot spas are your thing, then I highly recommend visiting either Puku Puku Hot Springs in Yamanashi Prefecture, or Benifuji no yu in Yamanakako. There are other hot spas as well, but these two are quite popular if you want to take in views of Mount Fuji from a luxurious open-air hot bath in nature.
And then lastly, Diamond Fuji. From October to late February during the sunset hours you can enjoy witnessing a brilliant sunset behind the mountain and all over Lake Yamanakako. In the early mornings of October you can see a cone-shaped cloud cover pattern over the peak of Fuji. It looks like a hat if you look carefully, and in the wee hours of the morning the mountain looks purplish sometimes.
So there you have it, a list of different ways to enjoy Fuji and how to enjoy it. If you have any questions drop me a line and I'll get back with you. As of this year, climbing Fuji is free of charge, but now that it's a UNESCO World Heritage the city council will implement a charge for climbing this mountain.
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