Friday, November 13, 2015

Momiji Tunnel at Kawaguchiko for red leaves viewing in autumn

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
This year hasn't been good to see red leaves due to the more than usual number of rainy days. One of the popular spots is the "Momiji Kairou" at Lake Kawaguchi. Momiji means red leaves and the English translation can be "Momiji Tunnel" or "Maples Corridor" although they are two separate but close-by places on the map. A "Momiji Matsuri" festival is held every year from the end of October to mid November with road stalls and romantic night illumination so it is a popular destination during November for people to see both Mt Fuji and red leaves.

There are a few ways to get to Kawaguchi-ko station from Shinjuku station. Odakyu offers a 3 day Fuji Hakone pass for 7,400yen and JR offers a 2-day round trip ticket for 5,600yen. We were only going on a day trip so we opted for the JR round trip ticket that includes sitting in a limited express train called Kaiji 101 that you can board within the JR platform at Shinjuku station.

If you are not going up to the fifth station and planning to go around Lake Kawaguchi, then I recommend just queuing up and buying separate tickets that will cost around 2,500yen one way. However if you stay far from Shinjuku, then you might just break-even to get the round trip ticket as it also includes ride within JR Yamanote Line.

You can also take local trains, but that will take around 3 hours for just one-way and costs around 2,000yen. Highway buses are cheaper at 1,750yen and takes 2hours but tickets get sold out pretty fast.

fujikyuu train
Most trains will not go directly to Kawaguchi-ko station so you will need to transfer to a Fujisan Limited Express train on the Fujikyuko line at Otsuki station. Their trains are damn cute!

Be sure to take a photo with them!

It takes around 50min to get to Kawaguchi-ko station!

If you are there early and going around to at least 2-3 attractions, then buying a 2-day bus pass for 1,200yen is worth it.

You can hop on these buses to get around the lake easily.

Queue was very long at the station so they had to write queue numbers to make sure you are at the right queue as there are two different routes. One is the Green-line that goes towards the west of the lake and a Red-line that goes to the east of the lake where the red leaves are.

It will cost 380yen from Kawaguchi-ko station to #19 Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, where the festival is held. If you did not buy the pass, you will have to pay exact cash when you get down.

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
So many people!

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
Very beautiful with Gingko yellow leaves as well :3

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
Not sure why there is a small hut but there seems to be water coming out from underground.

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
There were so many people so we decided to walk around a bit and discovered this nice path with colorful leaves!

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
I suppose this is the Momiji Tunnel with already fallen red leaves thanks to the 3 days of continuous rain...

We actually came here for the supposedly damn scenic view of Mt Fuji set against patches of red leaves... but here was what we saw...  Based on fan feedback, the area is cloudy most of the time and the best time to catch Mt. Fuji is actually during early morning before the clouds set in. She caught it on 7am so the best way to catch the beautiful mountain is staying at a hotel there overnight and waking up early to catch the scenic view.

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall
So ok nevermind, we started to shoot each other in various balancing yoga poses...

...and shoes.

We wanted to wait for the night illumination that starts when skies grow dark at around 5pm. It was cold, around 10 degrees celsius so we went into a cafe to "chill out" first. We regretted it because it was expensive... seems that there's no good food up here!

紅葉回廊 2015 momiji tunnel maples corridor lake kawaguchi kawaguchiko red leaves autumn fall night illumination
Night illumination was nice, but actually you can see at Rikugien (Rikugi Park) in Tokyo too at the end of the month~ You cannot see Mt Fuji or anything else anyway.

The stalls at the road side doesn't seem to be getting much business...

The bus seems to run from 9am to 6pm daily so you should depart from Shinjuku ideally at around 6-7am to explore more attractions.

With that, I definitely recommend staying at Lake Kawaguchi for 2-3 days (including going to Gotemba Premium Outlet or Fujikyu Highland amusement park). Oh well, maybe next time!

9 comments:

  1. Err... don't worry. I've been to Kawaguchiko and near Mt. Fuji so many times and 80% of the time I didn't get to see Mt. Fuji because of cloudy weather. T___T ....

    Awesome autumn photos, though. I've never been in that region during autumn, I always wanted to go, but never had days off around that time of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jasmine!
      Oh I just had a tip off that the best time to see Mt Fuji is early morning before the clouds set in!

      Delete
  2. Wow, the Fuji Five Lakes look really good. Our own research led to us finding out about the Fuji Shibazakura Festival in May:

    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6919.html

    If we do go to Tokyo again, it's one of the places we'd like to visit. The other would probably be Nikko.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O went there during May too, it's pretty awesome :)
      http://evacomics.blogspot.com/2013/05/mt-fuji-shibazakura-festival.html

      Delete
    2. Wow, that looks stunning. You're so lucky to have the opportunity to visit it twice! So envious...

      Delete
    3. I stayed here for 3.5 years so it was easy :P
      Now not so easy ;)

      Delete
  3. I like that pic that you drew your own leaves and mt fuji! hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAHA... but glad we made the trip up because the leaves in Kyoto are sort of balding by the rain these days...

      Delete
  4. Wonderful post and pictures. I myself spent three days in lake Kawaguchiko area in Cherry blossom in April '2016. I liked walking along the lake and Chureito Pagoda. View of Mt Fuji from the area is magnificent to say the least. Check my experience and some amazing pictures on my blog post :
    http://www.ultrawidelife.com/walking-along-the-kawaguchiko-lake-and-wind-caves-of-mt-fuji/

    ReplyDelete

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