6 Things to Do at Lakes Kawaguchi and Saiko in Yamanashi Prefecture
Who doesn’t know about Lakes Kawaguchi and Saiko? Apparently anyone outside Japan. Famous lakes in Yamanashi prefecture, which have always been locations for tourists to take a photo with the beautiful Mt. Fuji in the background.
This lake has attracted so many tourists, including me. I have been to Kawaguchi Lake about 3 or 4 times since I came to Japan last year. I am the backpacker type, so to be honest, I cannot afford for the Fuji Special Train, so I always bought a Round Ticket pass for the train to go to Kawaguchiko station which included the bus pass to go around Kawaguchi, and the lake next to it, Saiko. You can buy this pass starting from 4300¥ for round trip from Tokyo to Kawaguchi station (the price differs based on where you depart).
If you arrived at Kawaguchi Station, you can take the Red Line bus that will take you around the Kawaguchi Lake, literally. There are more than 20 stops for this bus that bring you to all of the tourist attractions around the lake. Here are my favourites :
6. Take Selfies at Kawaguchi-ko Shizen Seikatsu-kan
At the final stop of the Red Line bus of Kawaguchi Bus, you will get off at Kawaguchi Natural Living Center. From this side of the lake, you can find some little gardens located here and there, and a really nice but odd building as the main spot. With Fuji as the background, you can take as many photos from this side of lake. There are also chairs in the garden, so while having ice cream being sold inside the building you can just chill out and enjoy the scenery. And what is important here is, there is no such entrance fee! Yes, it’s just a great nature spot.
5. Eat Lunch and Get into The World of Dayan the Cat at Konohana Museum
By Yamaguchi Yoshiaki from Japan (The forest of music box on Kawaguchiko lake) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
unclekage on Flickr
Go back to the Red Line bus, stop at one museum beside the lake. You may see some unique buildings along the way, and one of it might be Konohana Museum. Here, you can feel a museum and a café blend together with nature. In this museum also you can find a unique cat character named Dayan. I am really interested in this Dayan, because at the first time, you can see this cat’s eye is so mysterious and funny at the same time. Not only is it Konohana Museum but also Dayan The Cat Museum, you will feel the amazing different atmosphere once you step through the world of Dayan the Cat. The entrance fee to this museum is 500¥ for adults (450¥ if you are student) and it’s totally free for children of elementary school if they come with their parents. Not only sightseeing and enjoying the museum, here also you can eat lunch peacefully, because people rarely go to the museum in Kawaguchi. But this one is recommended because you can enjoy the scenery and the art!
Get enough photos from Kawaguchi Lake, let’s move on to Saiko Lake. Take the Red Line bus and transfer to the Green Line bus to Lake Saiko. You can still use your pass so, no extra money needed.
4. Experience a Traditional Village at Iyashi no Sato Nenba
This is the stop after Saiko Bat Cave. You can also stop at the bat cave if you want to. Passed the cave, you can see the forest of Aokigahara on your left side of the window (if you come from Kawaguchi Lake). Be sure to stop at the village, Iyashi no Sato Nenba. If there is a hill to climb near there, you may find this village similar to Shirakawago from above. With the traditional houses inside the area, the scenery in front of it is also stunning. To get into this village you have to pay about 300¥ per person.
Outside the village, near the bus terminal which some little houses and souvenir shops lining up waiting for customers. I ate delicious Houtou, the delicious signature dishes of Yamanashi that consist of noodles and vegetables, in one of the little restaurants here. Help them by buying their items, they will be really happy and treat the customers nicely!
3. Eat Houtou in an Igloo!!
Houtou, as I said before is a signature dish from Yamanashi. The noodle inside is quite similar to udon, thick and white. Together with the noodle, there is a lot of vegetable in one bowl! Consist of pumpkin, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, dip in miso broth. The story said, this one dish is invented by a local lord named Takeda Shingen, who is a lord from Sengoku period. Looks like he loved vegetables and sought a healthy life, no wonder the houtou is so delicious and healthy!
2. Challenge Yourself at Fujikyu Highland
baron valium on Flickr
On the way to Kawaguchiko station, the train will stop at Fujikyu Highland Station. Fujikyu Highland itself is an amusement park which has several type of roller coasters! Challenge your adrenalin here by riding the highest roller coaster in Japan! On it’s peak, the peak of the highest jet coaster I mean, you can see clearly Mt. Fuji up close, but then do not dare look below! The roller coaster will pull you down almost 90 degrees after going to the top, you have no chance even to blink after seeing Mt. Fuji at the top!
1. Take a Short Forest Trail at Fugaku Fuketsu Cave
This is my favourite spot! The natural refrigerator! Even though you visit here in the summer, the temperature inside the cave is always around 0! There are 2 caves in the area, Fukaku and Fuketsu. You can visit one after another by crossing the forest of Aokigahara! There is a really clear trail and a lot of guide signs, so just follow the path and you won’t go astray. This ice cave has stalactites and stalagmites made from ice, and some of those in Fuketsu Cave are the ice that never melts year round.
So, prepare your backpack there is some lakes to conquer!!