Visiting the Chureito Pagoda! Best view of Mount Fuji, Japan
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On a recent trip to Japan we made it our mission to find the best view Mount Fuji and our favourite spot was the Chureito Pagoda. Anyone planning a trip to Japan will likely have seen an image of the Chureito Pagoda, a beautiful red hilltop pagoda with the often snow capped Mount Fuji nestled majestically in the background. It’s an iconic image of Japan and one of the best photo locations for capturing Mount Fuji, however few visitors know it’s name or are aware of it’s location. Here’s everything you need to know about the Chureito Pago and its incredible view of Mount Fuji!
The Chureito Pagoda
The five storied pagoda is actually called The Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument but everyone simply refers to it as the Chureito Pagoda. Overlooking Fujiyoshida City, the pagoda itself is part of a much larger shrine known as the Arakura Sengen Shrine.
In years gone by the Chureito Pagoda was largely unknown outside of Japan however in recent times the stunning view has become synonymous with Japan and an extremely popular photography spot. Today it’s one of the most iconic places to photograph Mount Fuji from, and for good reason. The view is absolutely stunning!
How to visit the Chureito Pagoda
The shrine is located on the outskirts of a small town called Fujiyoshida around 3 hours outside of Tokyo.
Chureito Pagoda Tip: Try to visit the pagoda first thing in the morning when you have the best chance of seeing Mount Fuji without any clouds. Mount Fuji is a shy mountain, notorious for its cloud cover, which typically occurs in the afternoon. We visited in the early afternoon and had to wait around 2 hours for the top of Fuji to peek through the clouds and it only stayed for a few minutes!
How to get to Chureito Pagoda by Train
You will need to budget almost a full day to visit the Chureito Pagoda by train.
From Tokyo’s Shujuku Station the journey is around 2.5 to 3 hours each way and requires some changes of train. From Shinjuku travel to Otsuki station and then change to to the Fujikyu Railway line to Shimo-Yoshida for the Chureito Pagoda. The Arakura Sengen Shrine is a ten minute walk from Shimo-Yoshida Station. If you have a JR pass you can use it for the train ride which will save you some money.
We highly recommend anyone planning to visit Japan and travel around the country to get a JR Pass for the trains as you will save a considerable amount of money on train tickets. A JR pass will usually pay for itself after a few journeys on one of the bullet (Shinkansen) train in Japan. Check out our articles here on why the JR pass is worth it and why you might consider the upgrade to the Green JR Pass. We have articles on which one to get and how to order yours.
How to get to Chureito Pagoda by Rental Car
A much quicker and more flexible option is to rent a car which takes around 2 hours each way from Tokyo. We rented a car in Tokyo for the day and it was an amazing experience and allowed us to squeeze in a lot in a single day. The flexibility of the car meant we could visit Nikko, the Chureito Pagoda and Hakone all in one day from Tokyo which would simply not have been possible with public transport. The rental cars are very reasonably priced in Tokyo, however be aware that the road tolls can add up quickly. The single day of driving cost us over $50 in road tolls.
While renting a car in Japan may seem daunting, Japan was one of the best driving experiences we’ve ever had – having driven rental cars in over 40 countries we don’t say that lightly! Japanese drivers are really polite and our Google Maps had no problem with directions.
How to get to Chureito Pagoda by Day Tour
Another option that will allow you to see everything in the Mount Fuji area in one day is a day tour from Tokyo. Here’s an example of a private tour which takes in everything in the area including the Arakura Sengen Shrine – check tour prices here!
Arriving at the Arakura Sengen Shrine
Arriving at the base of the shrine it’s a 400 step climb to the Chureito Pagoda at the top. If you opt for a rental car you can drive the narrow road to the small car park at the top or, if you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the steps!
The viewing area is located up behind the pagoda and this is where the iconic view of Mount Fuji can be seen.
Chureito Pagoda Tip: When we visited the pagoda was relatively quiet and we were able to spend around 2 hours at the viewpoint taking in the view and enjoying the surroundings. However during cherry blossom and busier seasons the pagoda reportedly gets extremely busy so be prepared for crowds at busier times
The Best View of Mount Fuji!
Once you reach the viewing deck behind the stunning red Chureito pagoda you’ll see the view which draws the crowds to the Chureito Pagoda. The view of Mount Fuji fis incredible and we managed to capture a few unforgettable photos during the 2 hours we spent relaxing at the viewing deck, enjoying the view and waiting for those brief moments when Mount Fuji decided to peek out from behind the cloud!
Our patience was eventually rewarded when the cloud cleared and we were presented with the postcard perfect image that brings everyone to the Chureito Pagoda.
Japan Travel Guides
Here are some of the best travel guides for planning your Japan trip. We personally used the Lonely Planet Japan series for our trip planning. Click on the images below to buy yours now!
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