Kawaguchiko’s Many Faces of Fuji
Under shadowed by Japan’s most symbolic landmark, Kawaguchiko is a town famous for meandering around one of the few lakes where Mount Fuji’s snow melts into, Lake Kawaguchiko. The town is situated in the Yamanashi prefecture, approximately one and a half hour outside of Tokyo, besides Fuji’s stunning overshadow. From here, Fuji’s surrounding picturesque scenery is as real and tangible as that airport postcard you picked up thinking it was photo-shopped. The silhouette of the mountains along the calm clear river-waters just shimmer at sunset, attracting worldwide photographers to line their gear up along the untouched banks of ponds and lakes in Kawaguchiko. The surrounding environment creates a mystical ambience that leaves you wanderlust even months later when you sift through those holiday photos. The charming friendly town certainly gives you a deeper insight into Japan’s more rural local culture and scenic nature.
However, Kawaguchiko’s cold temperatures during the icy winter months may prove a challenge to natives of warmer climate, yet the white sheet of snow that drapes over the town’s petite traditional Japanese roofs magically transform the scenery into a winter wonderland. Snow-capped Mount Fuji looking down mystically, the town is unquestionably an undiscovered attraction to tourists in Japan.
The local scene is also well known for hosting Fuji-Q Highland, the infamous theme park among Tokyoites. If you are one of those adrenaline junkies seeking thrill and nature combine in one trip, this place certainly delivers. Its attractions have previously broken numerous world records; its Haunted Hospital the second largest haunted attraction in the world.
Photo : Cesar I. Martins on Flickr
Besides the countless photo taking opportunities and the Fuji-Q theme park, Kawaguchiko boasts a number of superb onsen or hot springs, perfect to relax in after a long cold day. Many of these onsen or bath houses have both an indoor onsen as well as an outdoor one, allowing you to soak in the natural scenery while also rejuvenating that fatigued mind and body.
If you have previously visited or lived in Japan you would already know just how much local souvenirs are important to the Japanese, and how every area and region boasts a speciality of food or merchandise you can choose to take home with you. Yamanashi prefecture is no different, and it’s famous Kikyo Shingen mochi is certainly a fun sweet to share with the folks back home!
Photo : http://commons.wikimedia.org/
Kikyo Shingen mochi is a kind of mochi (rice cake) that is covered in kinako, a kind of flour made from fried soybeans, served with brown sugar syrup drizzled on top. To many tourists this dish may seem like something easily found and seen in Tokyo, however this local delicacy was in fact native to the Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures since the Edo period until today. Its balance of both the sweet brown sugar syrup and blunt soybean flour taste make the perfect teatime desert companion. As souvenirs, they can be bought as a set of small tubs of mochi, with a small wooden cutting pick and a tube of brown sugar syrup. Its amusing way of consumption will certainly interest the nieces and nephews back home!