places

Mt. Fuji & Arakurayama Sengen Park Nov. 2020

I took a day trip to Arakurayama Sengen Park (新倉山浅間公園) that is probably more popular with tourists coming to Japan than Japanese people. There may be quite a few Japanese people who do not know that park except the locals. This year in 2020, due to the coronavirus COVID-19, overseas travelers have not been able to come to Japan. So the park was not crowded on the day I went.

About

This place consists of Arakura-Fuji-Sengen Shrine (新倉富士浅間神社), Chureito pagoda (忠霊塔), and Arakurayama-Sengen Park (新倉山浅間公園).

The map from Arakura-Fuji-Sengen shrine official site

Arakura-Fuji-Sengen Shrine

Shinto shrine is called Jinja (神社) in Japan. A jinja is a Shinto facility which is a specific Japanese religion. Many Japanese people go to a jinja to worship on New Year. The meaning of Shinto is to find God in nature such as animals, plants, mountains and rivers, natural phenomena, and mythical ancestors. Sengen, part of the name of this shrine is a type of Shinto Shrine on the worship of Mount Fuji in particular. There are approximately 1300 Sengen jinja shrines in the country.

Omote-sando

Tori-i gate

First, head to Tori-i gate from Omote-sandō. Sandō is the pathway to a shrine for going worship. Omote means main, so Omote-sandō is main sandō. When walking on Sandō, it is said that it is advisable to walk on the side of the path. But most Japanese people might not care about it. Before worship, it should wash our hands to purify at Temizuya. After that, we can go worship.

In Shinto, there are no founders and lessons, so everyone can join with any religious beliefs. If you are interested why don't you try worship of jinja!

Temizuya

Main shrine

Omote-sandō (表参道) :  It means the approach to the shrine.
Temizuya (Chozusha) :
Cleanse your hands with fresh water here before worship. It is undrinkable water, and you cannot touch your mouth to the ladle.

This shrine has also small jinja shrine facilities.
Arahama jinja shrine : It enshrines textile (sericulture) deity and it is also said deity of marriage.
Shiogama jinja shrine : It enshrines easy delivery, child care , and expecting deity.
Atago jinja shrine : It enshrines fire prevention deity.

Autumn leaves

Main shrine

learned English of a shrine in this website.

From: Description of a shrine

 

Chureito pagoda

The Chureito (忠霊塔) Pagoda is now a symbol of this town, Fujiyoshida City. The pagoda in the Arakurayama-Sengen park is a five-storied pagoda, a cenotaph for the wars such as World War 1, World War 2, which was established in 1962. The official name is The Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument.

 

Arakurayama-Sengen Park

Arakurayama-Sengen Park is located on the hillside of Arakurayama (Mt. Arakura) and has a great view of Fujiyoshida city in front of Mt. Fuji. It is the best view spot of Mt. Fuji in the Fuji Five Lakes area, and is famous as a spot where you can capture the symbolic scenery of Japan such as cherry blossoms, Mt. Fuji, and the five-storied pagoda in one photo. In every April, the Sakura Festival is held when the 650 Someiyoshino cherry blossom trees in the park are in full bloom, but this year 2020, the festival was not held due to the Coronavirus. Besides, the park itself had been temporarily closed. The park was unclosed in June, and the observation deck behind the Chureito Pagoda was also unclosed in September.

Sakuyahime 398 steps

Promenade

After passing by the jinja shrine, head to observation deck and Chureito pagoda using steps or gently sloping promenade. It will arrive at the observation deck about 10 minutes.

Sakuyahime steps : 398 stone steps leading to the Chureito Pagoda. You can also exit to the promenade on the way.

Gentle slope

Almost there

 

How to get there

Trains

Arakurayama Sengen Park is located at Fujiyoshida city in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan. The closest train station to this park is Shimoyoshida Station of Fujikyu Railway. It can be reached in about 2.5 hours by train without a limited express from Tokyo, and it is easy to access from Shinjuku station.

Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station and transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line at Otsuki Station. Get off at Shimoyoshida Station. JR Line and Fujikyu Railway are different companies, so you need to buy train ticket again normally for Fujikyu line at Otsuki station. The trains cost for one-way about JPY 2,300 yen with unreserved seat and without a limited express as of Dec. 2020.

 

 

There is also:
Ltd. Exp. FUJI EXCRUSION

 

Route to the park

The route to the Arakurayama-Sengen Park from the Shimoyoshida station is very easy, and it takes about ten minutes walk. You probably won't get lost. The Shimoyoshida station is a very small station, but it has also toilet and vending- machine.

Inside of Shimoyoshida station

Inside of Shimoyoshida station

Exit the station and go to the right. Follow the narrow paving stone road. Cross the railroad crossing on the way, then turn left and proceed paving stone road further.

Shimoyoshida station

Paving stone road

Railroad crossing

When you meet the normal road which is not paving stone road, turn left. Then you can see elevated highway just there. I think you do not notice it is a highway though. After turning left, go straight a little, there is crossing, so turn right.

Chureito Pagoda tile

Meet the normal road

Turn right

The shrine entrance

Keep going and cross the stream, you will find the entrance to the shrine.
The entrance is hard to see a little in this photo though.

 

When to go

I think the most important thing when going to see Mount Fuji is good weather. There is nothing more pointless than going in bad weather. On a bad day, the mountain is in the clouds and become quite invisible. Check the weather forecast and then you should go when that is perfectly okay. Then you should leave the hotel early in the morning, if you were in Tokyo. Get up early. Clouds will increase around Mount Fuji in the afternoon, so it is good in the morning. In the afternoon, the conditions are not good. Really, go on a beautiful clear day morning.

A good season for viewing Mt. Fuji is when the air is clear. In other words, the winter is good. Due to the high humidity in summer, clouds are likely to appear and the air is blurred. Specifically, it is from November to early April. When it becomes winter pressure pattern, the weather around here will be clear up beautifully. Then, that is the best chance. In April, the probability of winter pressure pattern is low, but cherry blossoms bloom in this park, and Mt. Fuji that the summit has covered with snow. You can see them all at once.

 

Oshino Hakkai

About Ohino-Hakkai

Oshino-Hakkai is also a popular tourist spot near Arakurayama Sengen Park. Since you are here, might as well go to this spot. This is known as the place where the subsoil water of Mount Fuji upwell, and it is also a place where the water is very clean. You can't come over here on foot from Arakurayama Sengen Park and have to use train and bus, but I think it is worth it. Staying time in the park is probably about 1.5 hours, so after that if you come here, you would be able to spend a total of half a day in a beautiful location right next to Mount Fuji. Mount. Fuji can be seen beautifully for about half a day in the morning, so that is just right.

Oshino-Hakkai Springs is a part of the components of UNESCO World Culture Heritage of Mount Fuji. It refers to the eight spring ponds that originate from the underground water of Mount Fuji, and around their places. And the water is super crystal clear.

Oshino-Hakkai 8 Sacred Springs
1. Deguchi-ike Pond : It is the largest pond in 8 ponds, and located only this pond away.
2. Okama-ike Pond : It is the smallest pond in 8 ponds.
3. Sokonashi-ike Pond : Since it is on the Han-no-ki Bayashi Museum, an admission fee of 300 yen is required.
4. Choshi-ike Pond : You can clearly see the water coming from the sand at the bottom of the pond.
5. Waku-ike Pond : NASA experimented with the water in this pond.
6. Nigori-ike Pond : It is next to the Waku-ike Pond and joins the river. The name of pond means muddy, but now it is not muddy because well water is flowing in.
7. Kagami-ike Pond : This pond has very little spring water.
8. Shobu-ike Pond : The pond is located on the east side of Kagami-ike, and you can see plants such as the sweet flag (Shobu).

Spring water outlet, water depth 8m

Nakaike Pond

As a matter of fact, Nakaike Pond is not officially one of the eight ponds of Oshino-Hakkai. This is the bustling place with many tourists, but it is a privately owned pond, and artificial one. I had been to there for the first time in a while, but I felt that they were commercialism, and did not get a good impression.

 

 

Scenery from Oshino Vill.

 

How to get to Oshino-Hakkai

From Chureito Pagoda
By bus :
The loop bus service is available. That is W-Line of the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site Loop Bus of Fujikyuko-Bus. It is unlimited rides for 2 days for 1050 yen.
By train and bus : Take the train from Fujiyoshida station to Mt. Fuji station (Fuji-san eki) on the Fujikyuko-line. Then change to the bus. Take F-Line that is called Fujikko-go bus. It is unlimited rides for 2 days for 1500 yen or one-way ticket for 400 yen that is from Mt Fuji sta. to Oshino-hakkai.

Bus_map from Fujikyuko_Bus official site

Fujikyuko Bus Official site

 

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