Monday, April 20, 2009

The Fuji 5 Lakes

The 富士五湖, fujigoko, are 5 lakes on the north side of Mt. Fuji. Well, it was only 2 lakes, then around the year 800 the mountain erupted and the lava flow split the big one into 4 little ones. The fertile volcanic soil also gave rise to 青木が原, aokigara, which is like the number one place to commit suicide in Japan. Hella people just wander into the forest, never to be seen again.


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On a wonderful spring Sunday I took the CB1000 on a mission to see all 5. Let's go...

Lake Yamanaka
山中湖

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Coming from Tokyo, this is the first one you'll see. It's a rather boring lake, but it's proximity to the mountain, which hovers over you in all its glory, makes this a cool stop.

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Not a lot going on here, the shore is just rocks. So head west a bit for the most popular destination of the 5...

Lake Kawaguchi
河口湖

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If you want to relax in a $400 a night hotel and sip martinis on your balcony while the sun sets over Fuji, this is the place to go. There's plenty of ways to spend (waste?) your money here, like rides in a giant swan-shaped boat or an herb museum.

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Or you could take part in something free with your kids.

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Dinner or a new addition to the family?

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Lake Sai
西湖

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Looks like this is a good place to chill. No motor boats or developed buildings, and gravel beaches next to clear cool water. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Skinny dipping this summer!

There are also some caves which cater to tourists. I went to one called the "bat" cave, and after getting my jeans covered with... cave goo... I was told the bats hibernate until summer.

Lake Shoji
精進湖

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Super puny lake. Apparently the fishing is good here.

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Lake Motosu
本栖湖

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The last lake, and farthest to the west. This lake has the view found on the back of the 1000 yen note. It also has a yellow submarine that you can ride around in. With the John Lennon museum in Saitama, and now this, Japan is a veritable mecca for Beatles fans. I was kinda beat by this point, and wanted to make it back to the mountains above Lake Kawaguchi to see the sunset.

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Honest, it looked exactly like that!

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There was a local photo club up there, waiting for the clouds to clear a bit.

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About a total of 400 km to drive from Tokyo to the mountains and back. Access is very fast on the expressways, but expect some traffic on the way back if it's a Sunday. I opted to take Route 20 to some mountain roads out there in the morning, then the express on the way back at night.

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6 comments:

Todd said...

Lake Sai looks like a spectacular spot to relax! I wish there were some deserted lakes around here...

Anonymous said...

Really nice photos, but it looks like you've got the saturation turned way too high or something. Especially on the Lake Shoji photo, it's created a halo around the red trees, and the grass on the lake Kawaguchi photo looks like an alien landscape.

Brian said...

Yeah, I admit I went a little crazy with the levels. Something therapeutic about moving sliders in Lightroom...

Chuwy said...

Nice Saiko pic! I cycled round those lakes this weekend. Starteda t Gotenba and finished at Numazu. hit al lkaes plus Slyvans and Fujisakura beer, Bayernmeister eber and the Taproom. Great beer, great riding (beer was in evening), great views, great weather, great times.
Done the Fuji ride 4 times now. Never get bored of it. The forest road just past Fujinomiya is great cycling, probably cool to motorcyle round, too. nice pics, dude. From Numazu, i also cycle down round the Izu peninsular on the bike. Again, AMAZING views but killer hills. Agony by bicycle but pure bliss on your bike!

edjusted said...

That sunset picture is fantastic! At first I thought it was a picture of a forest on fire!

long island used boats said...

It's just the right spot for some boating. There are a lot of activities you can do around.