This November, we embarked on a day trip from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene town of Fujiyoshida, where we enjoyed awe-inspiring views of the iconic Mount Fuji in a perfect blend of nature, spirituality, and scenic beauty.

Morning Excursion: Tokyo to Fujiyoshida via Train

Our adventure begins on the Chuo Line Limited Express to reach Otsuki Station, a scenic journey through picturesque landscapes. From Otsuki, we transfer to the Fujikyuko Line, getting off at Shimoyoshida station. In total, it’s a little more than 2 hour journey. The train ride itself offers glimpses of Japan’s countryside, setting the mood for a day immersed in nature.

Arakurayama Sengen Park and Chureito Pagoda: Nature’s Canvas

Upon arrival at Fujiyoshida, we make your way to Arakurayama Sengen Park, where the enchanting Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine awaits. This sacred site, dedicated to the protective deity of Mount Fuji, is surrounded by vibrant autumn foliage during this season, creating a picturesque scene. The shrine’s peaceful ambiance invites contemplation and reflection, setting the tone for the day’s spiritual journey.

The shrine holds significant cultural and spiritual importance, as it is dedicated to Konohanasakuya-hime, the goddess believed to protect Mount Fuji and ensure the safety of those who climb the iconic peak.

fujiyoshida november 2023

Adjacent to the shrine, a leisurely stroll (stairs or hillside) leads to the Chureito Pagoda, the iconic five-storied structure perched on the mountainside. Ascending, rather than climbing the stairs, gives you the opportunity to take in the tranquillity and peace of the area, as well as to experience komorebi here and there. On the other side, the steep stairs ascent adds an element of pilgrimage to the experience, enhancing the spiritual ambiance of the site. Along the way, platforms provide resting spots where visitors can pause, take in the scenery, and capture memorable photos.

When you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an unrivaled panoramic view of Mount Fuji framed by the pagoda’s silhouette. The autumn hues add a warm and captivating touch to this already breathtaking vista.

The Chureito Pagoda has gained widespread popularity as a photography spot, both among tourists and locals. The classic image of the pagoda with Mount Fuji in the background is often featured in travel magazines and postcards, making it one of the most recognizable and sought-after scenes in Japan.

It also holds a different spiritual meaning, in that the park, including Chureito Pagoda, were built to commemorate the inhabitants of Fujiyoshida who served and lost their lives in wars where Japan was involved, from the 1800s to World War II.

fujiyoshida november 2023

Lunch with a View: Local Cafe in Fujiyoshida

After absorbing the spiritual and natural beauty of Arakurayama Sengen Park, we head into the heart of Fujiyoshida for a satisfying lunch at a local café. We stop at Cafè Gekko, inspired by the traditional look of the outside, and intrigued by the cakes and old fashioned style of the inside. The cafè has its own blend of coffee, and also offers teas and other beverages.

The shopping streets in Fujiyoshida offer excellent photo opportunities with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. Capture the contrast between the vibrant town life and the serene grandeur of the mountain. Early mornings and evenings, when the light is soft, can be particularly magical for capturing the beauty of Mount Fuji from the streets.

In essence, viewing Mount Fuji from the shopping streets in Fujiyoshida adds a layer of local charm to the overall experience. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate the harmony between nature and human life, making your visit to Fujiyoshida a memorable and well-rounded exploration of Japanese culture.

fujiyoshida november 2023

Afternoon Delight: Fujisan Simomiya Omuro Sengen Shrine and its Equestrian Legacy

As the afternoon unfolds, we make our way to Fujisan Simomiya Omuro Sengen Shrine. This hidden gem is not only revered for its spiritual significance but is also renowned for its association with horses. Nestled against the backdrop of Mount Fuji, the shrine houses a unique equestrian ritual known as “Yabusame” or horseback archery. Local festivals often showcase this ancient practice, where skilled archers on horseback display precision and grace, symbolizing the harmonious connection between nature, humans, and animals.

The shrine’s rich history, coupled with its equestrian traditions, adds a distinctive flavor to the Fujiyoshida experience. The goddess enshrined here is once again Konohanasakuya-hime, but this time she rides a horse, something you cannot find in other shrines where she is revered. Horses act as her messangers as they help support human life. She also presides divination, that helps people through everyday life and relationships. You can find omikuji hidden inside maneki neko, horses, bunnies or Mount Fuji replicas sold at the shrine’s shop.

Capturing Memories: Homeward Bound with Tokyo in the Distance

As the day begins to wind down, we return to Fujiyoshida Station and board the train back to Tokyo. This day trip from Tokyo to Fujiyoshida encapsulates the essence of Japan’s diverse offerings – from spiritual retreats to breathtaking landscapes and cultural traditions. The seamless blend of history, nature, and gastronomy ensures an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a Japan enthusiast, Fujiyoshida’s hidden gems are sure to leave an indelible mark, beckoning you to return for more.