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!
Sim Card and Internet
One of the best investments you can make for your trip to Japan is to buy/rent a sim card or 4G hotspot. This will give you internet access while on the go throughout the cities in Japan, where free public wi-fi is extremely limited.
We have used both sim cards and 4G hotspots during our trips to Japan. A sim card is perfect if you just have your phone – just check the sim card is compatible with your phone The 4G hotspots are great if you have multiple devices that need internet or if you’re travelling a group. They also avoid any compatibility issues with installing a sim card.
We used the Klook app to order our sim cards for our last trip. The app is great as you can order in advance and pick up on arrival or from various departure cities.
- The best 4G hotspot on offer is provided by URoaming with unlimited data – check prices now!
- The best sim card is from Docomo (who we used) – check prices now!
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
This is probably the best option for getting to the Chureito Pagoda. 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 and although the tolls can add up( we spent around $40 in one day) the flexibility of the car was more than worth it. RentalCars.com offer some of the best prices for renting cars – check prices now!
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 Private Car
Another option that will allow you to see everything in the Mount Fuji area in one day is a day tour from Tokyo. We use the Klook app for lots of bookings in Asia – Here’s an example of a private tour which can take 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.