Let’s have the ultimate cherry blossom experience! – Fuji and Hakone

Mount Fuji is the majestic mountain that symbolize Japan. More and more people from Japan and overseas visit Fuji every year, and it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Although Mount Fuji is beautiful at any time of the year, the memorable scenery of Mount Fuji and the cherry blossoms that you can only see in spring will stay with you for the rest of your life.

On the other hand, at Hakone, the closest hot spring resort closest to Tokyo, you can enjoy a distinctly Japanese atmosphere. Let’s enjoy the magnificent views of the cherry blossoms blooming in amongst nature.

Popular Hanami Spot Ranking – Fuji

1. Iwamoto Mountain Park (Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture) http://www.city.fuji.shizuoka.jp/machi/c1404/fmervo0000007p0u.html

■ Highlights: This is a park located in a hilly area close to Fuji River at an altitude of 193 meters. From the observation deck, you have a great view of Mount Fuji and Suruga Bay. The contrast between Mount Fuji and about 310 cherry trees of Somei Yoshino and Yamazakura varieties is truly magnificent. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the area will be illuminated at night so you can still enjoy them after dark. You will be sure to get an ultimate view of the cherry blossoms here!

Since this location is in a hilly area away from train stations, it will be easier to use a charter vehicle.

■ Typical Blooming Season: Early to late April


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■ Kaguya Iwamotoyama Cafe: https://www.kaguya-cafe.com/

In this café, you can get an amazing view of Suruga Bay as you enjoy a meal or coffee. Their pancakes are so popular that they are sold out by 1pm every day. Their menu includes items with generous servings, such as various sweets, hamburgers and BLT sandwiches. It is situated near the entrance of Iwamoto Mountain Park, so why not stop by before or after checking out the cherry blossoms!

2. Mount Gotenyama (Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka City):

■ Highlights: This location is a well-known cherry blossom spot with approximately 600 cherry trees of Somei Yoshino and Oshimazakura varieties. Let’s head towards the square by following the boardwalk and crossing the Sakura Suspension Bridge. The contrasting colors of the blue Suruga Bay and the pink cherry blossoms that you can see from the square is just breathtaking. When it is in full bloom, the site will be illuminated at night so you can get a different view of the cherry blossoms to the one you can see during the day.

To avoid the crowds, we recommended that you get one of our charter vehicles to drive you there early in the morning.

■ Typical Blooming Season: Early to mid-April


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■ Gotemba Premium Outlet: https://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/gotemba/

Located at the foot of Mount Fuji and near a highway interchange, it is a convenient spot to stop over by car. There are about 210 outlet stores of famous brands from Japan and overseas, which includes luxury brands, sports, interior and outdoor goods stores. There are also many eateries, so it is an ideal location for lunch or tea break. Only in Gotemba you can shop with an amazing Mount Fuji view.

Opening hours: <December – February> 10:00am ~ 7:00pm <March to November> 10:00am-8:00pm

Closed: Once a year, third Thursday in February

3. Taiseki-ji Temple (Fujinomiya City): http://www.nichirenshoshu.or.jp/page/taisekiji/jpn/taisekiji_1_j.html

■ Highlights: In the vast precincts of Taiseki-ji Temple, there are about 5000 cherry blossoms. You can appreciate the stunningly beautiful scenery with Mount Fuji in the background. The beauty of the weeping cherry trees is especially famous. You can also see the historic five-storied pagoda that is listed an important cultural property of Japan. At Taiseki-ji Temple you can enjoy cherry-blossom viewing in a calm and serene atmosphere. Since it is hard to reach via public transport, we recommend that you visit by using a charter vehicle.

Closed: Saturday & Sunday

■ Typical Blooming Season: Early to mid-April


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■ Kariyado no Gebazakura: http://www.city.fujinomiya.lg.jp/kankou/llti2b0000000wzq.html

At this location, you can see one of the oldest Yamazakura cherry in Japan called “Akame Shirobana (red bud, white flowers) Yamazakura”. This variety has also been designated a natural monument of Japan. From mid-April to late April every year, the pink flowers of this tree will gradually change color to white. Even if you miss the full bloom season, you can still enjoy the cherry blossoms here until the end of April.

Popular Hanami Spot Ranking – Hakone

1. Cherry Blossoms by the Haya Riverbank in Miyagino (Hakone, Ashigarashimo District):

■ Highlights: There are about 120 cherry trees growing along Haya River near Gora Station, and you can explore about 600-meter row of cherry blossom trees. The cherry blossoms surrounded by nature of the mountains and the river will make you feel nostalgic and relaxed. The site will be illuminated between 6pm and 9pm when it is in full bloom, so it will be a good idea to stay at a hot spring accommodation and enjoy the cherry blossoms at night. As it is in the middle of the mountains in Hakone, it will be easier to visit using a charter vehicle.

■ Typical Blooming Season: Early to mid-April


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■ The Hakone Open-Air Museum: http://www.hakone-oam.or.jp/

At this museum, artworks are exhibited all around the vast museum grounds. It is where you can appreciate art while exploring the exhibits located both indoors and outdoors. There are about 120 works in the Outdoor Sculpture Garden, and you can enjoy the fusion of nature and art. At the Picasso Exhibition Hall, which is a permanent fixture at the museum, you can see the one of the best collections of Pablo Picasso’s works. There are also cafes, restaurants and children’s facilities, so the whole family can enjoy themselves.

Opening hours: 9: 00am-5: 00pm 

2. Onshi Hakone Park (Hakone, Ashigarashimo District): http://www.kanagawa-park.or.jp/onsisite/

■ Highlights: From this park you can see the magnificent symbol of Hakone, Lake Ashi and the world heritage Mount Fuji in full view. You can also see many seasonal plants all year. During the cherry blossom season, you can appreciate the beautiful flowers of Mamezakura from mid-April and Oshimazakura in the beginning of May. The park also has a well-kept Japanese garden and a museum facility. Why not stop by during your sightseeing tour in your charter vehicle.

Lakeview Observatory Opening Hours: 9: 00am-4: 30pm


■ Typical Blooming Season: Mid-April to early May

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■ Hakone Shrine: http://hakonejinja.or.jp/

Hakone Shrine has a history of 1250 years and many warlords visited this shrine during the medieval period to pray for victory. It is now well-known as a spiritual spot, and many visitors come from both home and abroad. Amulets made using Hakone’s traditional marquetry technique is also popular. There are lots of shops around the shrine so you should be able to enjoy searching for souvenirs while basking in nature.

3. Hakone Gora Park (Hakone, Ashigarashimo District): https://www.hakone-tozan.co.jp/gorapark/

■ Highlights: This park is in Gora, one of Hakone’s hot-spring areas. You can enjoy about 10 varieties of cherry blossoms such as Somei Yoshino, Yamazakura and Kawazuzakura from early April. You can also see a rare variety called Jugatsuzakura (October Cherry) that bloom from October to April. It is a park with rich nature, and you can appreciate various flowers and plants throughout the year. You will have a pleasant experience just by strolling along the well-kept gardens. Why don’t you stay overnight at a Japanese-style ryokan accommodation after seeing the cherry-blossoms, so you can enjoy the hot springs and hospitality in Japan to the fullest.

Opening hours: 9: 00am-5: 00pm (last entry: 4: 30pm)


■ Typical Blooming Season: Early to late April

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■ Hakone Craft House: http://www.crafthouse.org/information.html

This is a facility in Gora Park where you can experience traditional craft making. These lessons include glass blowing, ceramics, glass beads making, accessory production, etc. If you make your own cups, keyholders or earrings, you can take home a souvenir as well as a memory of a fun experience. These lessons will be enjoyable for families or couples. It is a very popular facility for tourists. Prior reservation is required for various experiences, so please make an enquiry in advance.

Opening Hours: 9: 00am-5: 00pm

Avoid the crowds! Fuji & Hakone’s Secret Hanami Spot

■ Lake Tanuki (Fujinomiya City)

When the cherries are in full bloom in mid-April, you can enjoy a magnificent view of about 360 cherry blossoms blooming along the lakeside. As there is a bicycle rental service, it is a good idea to appreciate the cherry blossoms as you cycle around the lake. The lake is also famous as the spot where you can see the “Diamond Fuji”, where the sun shines at the top of Mount Fuji around 20th of April each year. Why don’t you stop by for a picnic with lunch box in hand?

■ Typical Blooming Season: Mid to late April

■ Why is it less crowded?

Although it will be crowded during the cherry blossom season, it’s a place that you can only go by car, so there won’t be as many people if you visit early in the morning.

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■ Araijoshi Park (Manazuru, Ashigarashimo District):

This is a park located near Manazuru station, some distance away from Hakone. It is compact park with a calm atmosphere but has 22 amazing Shidarezakura (weeping cherry) trees. There are bamboo groves surrounding the park and you get a distinctly Japanese feel at this location. There are also some stalls so you can view the cherry blossoms while exploring the area. The area will be lit up at night so you can come see the cherry blossoms even at night.

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

■ Why is it less crowded?

Most of the visitors that come here for the cherry blossoms are locals and very few are tourists. Since it is open 24 hours, you will rarely encounter a crowd if you visit during weekdays.

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Tips and Tricks on avoiding the crowds

■ Visit early in the morning, during the morning, or at night

As there will be lots of people visiting the hot springs, many tourists visit popular cherry blossom spots during the day. If you want to avoid the crowds as much as possible, we recommend that you go see the cherry blossoms in the morning and go to other tourist attractions during the day. Since there will be fewer people going cherry blossoms viewing at night compared to during the day, you can take more time appreciating the flowers at night. We recommend the use of a charter vehicle, as it allows you to organize your schedule freely.

■ Enjoy cherry trees along the road from the car

Fuji & Hakone area has many locations where you can see cherry blossoms from the car, like the riverside or near highway interchanges. If you find a great cherry blossom spot during your sightseeing tour, why don’t you step out for a better look? It will be fun to search for the lovely blossoms while driving through the natural landscape!

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