Japan is well known for the beauty of Mount Fuji. Since 20121 it has been registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Lake Kawaguchi (also known as Kawaguchi-ko in Japanese) in Yamanashi prefecture completes the beauty of Mt Fuji with its large water surface and its surrounding nature. While there is plenty of nature to discover in the area, I'd like to introduce you to the Kawaguchi-ko Herb Festival, held here annually in June and July, during which you can enjoy panoramic views of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, all while surrounded by blooming lavender and other herb flowers.
This event is held in two places, Yagisaki Park and Ooishi Park (also spelled Oishi Park). In 2017 the event began on 16 June, and runs through early to mid July.
1. Yagisaki Park
The Herb Festival held in this park runs until 9th July in 2017. To get to this park you can take a Green Line bus from in front of Kawaguchiko Station to the 7th stop. If you don’t feel confident where to go from Kawaguchiko Station, there are persons who will be helping especially tourists to get around Kawaguchiko and they can tell you which bus you should take.
There’s an area filled with wind chimes, painted by students from elementary schools around Lake Kawaguchi. They hung a lot of wind chimes here, so when the wind blows, it made a kind of song that truly felt symbolic of summer.
2. Ooishi Park
At Ooishi Park the Herb Festival runs until 17th July. Different from Yagisaki Park, you can get here via the sightseeing bus on the Red Line. In this park, you can get really close to the lake. Since Ooishi Park is located on the southern side of Lake Kawaguchi, this spot provides the best view of Mount Fuji surrounded by lavender blooms. If you’re a fan of lavender, at the nearby Kawaguchiko Herb Hall (Kawaguchiko Herbkan) they sell almost everything related to lavender flowers, from perfume and soap to herbal tea. They also sell delicious lavender soft-serve ice cream.
At Ooishi Park you can also find several kinds of blueberry products and a blueberry greenhouse that sells blueberry plants, because this area is also known for its blueberry harvests.
A different performance is held every weekend during this festival, so you can enjoy the scenery of Mount Fuji, the scent of the herbs, and local foods sold only at this festival. You can check the scheduled performances on their official website.
List of foods and souvenirs you don’t want to miss:
- Shingen Mochi (they also sell Shingen Mochi Ice Cream)
- Hoto (Yamanashi specialty noodles)
- Narusawa O-yaki (bread stuffed with locals vegetables and fruits)
- Yamanashi local fruits (grapes, peaches, cherries, blueberries)
- Yamanashi local wine (they also sell wine jelly)
- Inden-ya (hand-printed handicrafts such as wallets and cases)
- Jewelry (Yamanashi is famous for its gems. You can find your birthstone and other jewelries products in ‘Yamanashi Hoseki Museum’ right along the way to Oishi Park)
Tip: You might want to spend a whole day in Kawaguchiko. In that case I suggest you buy the one-day round bus pass for 1200 yen for the Red and Green Line only, or 1500 yen for all lines. This pass can be used on the omni bus / retro bus (the sightseeing bus in Kawaguchiko).