A Trip to Lake Yamanakako

It’s the end of the April, but my mind still goes back to earlier this month when D and I flew to Japan for our first annual vacation abroad. Though majority of the time was spent in Tokyo, we were able to schedule a three days’ trip to Lake Yamanakako, and this by far, is what I consider the best part of our vacation.

Lake Yamanakako is the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) located at the northern base of Mt. Fuji. Tourists flock the Fuji Five Lakes for a good vantage point of Mt. Fuji. In November last year, I had my first actual glimpse of Mt. Fuji from my hotel restaurant while I was having breakfast. I read that Mt. Fuji is famous for being elusive so that day was quite memorable. I tried to catch a glimpse of it again the next two days after, but alas Mt. Fuji decided to hide. Seeing it was quite exhilarating, and I wanted to share the feeling with D that was why I was determined to include a trip to one of the Fuji Five Lakes during our trip to Japan this year.

It was initially hard to choose what place we would be staying at, and I was conscious of time as we had to book as early as we could. Our trip was during Sakura season so the flights and hotels were selling out fast. After reading through reviews we finally decided to book a couple of nights at Sundance Resort Yamanakako. What made me decide was when I reached out to ask the hotel if they rented out bicycles, and they said they did so as long as there was no snow around the lake. I knew D would be ecstatic about this.

To get to Yamanakako, D and I headed to Busta Shinjuku (bus station) in Tokyo and boarded the 11:05AM bus. Our bus passed through other tourist famous spots like Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park at Yamanashi; and Kawaguchiko, the most developed of the five lakes. As we neared our stop, we were giddy with excitement looking at the tip of Mt. Fuji prominently glowing under the sunlight from a distance.

We got off at the Yamanakakoasahigaoka station. Luggage in tow, we walked for around 15 minutes’ next to the Lake Yamanakako. At that time, there were only a handful of cherry blossom trees in full bloom, but it was still quite a pleasant walk as we appreciated the cool air, the view of the swans on the lake, and the sound of birds flying about. Scouting the lake, I made a plan on checking out its surroundings that afternoon.

When we got to the hotel the reception staff warmly welcomed us and explained the hotel’s facilities. Our villa was at the far end of the hotel, and D and I were so happy to find that it was spacious, fully equipped and, most importantly, offered a view of Mt. Fuji from the living room window. The villa had three floors – the ground floor being the foyer and having a barbeque grill; the basement having the bedroom and the bathroom; and the second floor having the kitchen, living room, dining room and a washroom. Within the hotel grounds there was an indoor parking (which was D’s go to as the bicycles were parked there), some vending machines and a laundry room.

After settling in, D and I rode our bicycles and explored the neighborhood. We bought snacks for our hotel at the 7Eleven near the bus stop. We checked out the cafes and restaurants nearby, and headed to the park next to the lake. In the afternoon, D and I attempted to cycle as far as we could around the lake, however when we got to the part where there was a slight uphill, I knew I couldn’t carry on and so D and I cycled back to the hotel. For dinner, D and I walked back to 7Eleven and got ourselves bowls of soba as it definitely got colder after sunset. After dinner I enjoyed a can of Suntory beer while watching Netflix in the hotel.

The next day, D and I explored Yamanakako separately. He cycled around the lake while I walked on the park. We met up for lunch and we compared photos we took. D described to me his easy 14-kilometer ride around the lake and proudly showed me his best photo shot. I had to agree the shot was spectacular. He said the location where he took it was actually quite near to where we decided to turn around the day before. Since I could not cycle the slight uphill he said we could walk to it in the afternoon instead. I readily agreed.

D’s best photo of the mountain and the lake

That afternoon, we walked on to the location where D took the photo. I enjoyed watching the ducks quack around on the beach. It was almost sunset, and there were a few locals ready with their cameras. I imagine the sunset view from that place was beautiful. Though I wanted to stay to see for myself, the temperature dropped and it got colder than the night before, so we hurriedly walked (and I shivered) back to the hotel. Note to self: no matter how warm the day is, I should still bring a jacket because I can never tell how long I would be staying out.

On our last day in Yamanakako, we went for a morning stroll at the park to say adieu to the lake and Mt. Fuji. The view can never get old, and it’s absolutely stunning. Here’s my favorite video taken of the lake a few meters away from our hotel.

Lake Yamanakako

Before this trip, when family and friends ask me what I consider is the best location I have visited in Japan, I would say it’s the Japan Alps at Kamikochi. Now I have Yamanakako on the top of my list, followed by Kamikochi. Yamanakako is truly a beautiful, simple and serene place. Being just a couple of hours’ away from Tokyo I am sure we will go back here when we’re to the city for a vacation.

By MrsWayfarer

Living Free and Making a Difference


  1. This is absolutely stunning! Not only did you get to see the abundant cherry blossoms, but you also got to see Mt. Fuji unobstructed! You had a fortuitous visit to Japan, and what a way to welcome in the spring!

    Liked by 1 person

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