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Located in Shizuoka prefecture to the west of Mount Fuji, Tanuki Lake and Shiraito Falls are two stunning places you should go to see!
The Fuji 4 main routes
Fujinomiya—alongside Yoshida, Subashiri and Gotenba—is one of the four main routes taken to climb up Mount Fuji (it is the steeper, but shortest option). If you get the opportunity to drive to any of these places, do not hesitate!! The roads are amazing with many different views of Mount Fuji. (Remember that drivers in Japan drive on the left side of the road. If that is unfamiliar to you, check out this article to learn how to drive in Japan).
If you want to hike one of the trails, you will have to wait for summer because they are only open from the beginning of July to the beginning of September. More information about Mount Fuji climbing can be found on this website.
The waterfall of white threads
The wonderful Shiraito Falls (白糸の滝 or Shiraito no Taki which literally means “the waterfall of white threads,” you will understand why when you see it) are located in the little town of Fujinomiya. Designated as a national place of scenic beauty and a “Natural Treasure of Japan” since 1936, the falls were regarded as sacred under the Fuji cult and listed as one of “Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls” (in a listing published by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment in 1990).
Melted snow from Mount Fuji
The water falling is melted snow coming from the top of Mount Fuji, springing from a lava wall. From the top of Fuji to the waterfall, it takes ten to fifteen years for the water to spring out after a long journey underground.
The Shiraito Falls are not considered very high (only 20 meters), but they are 150 meters wide! As there is no river flowing into the waterfall, it seems like the water is coming from the trees! Also, as only a small portion of the water flowing is rain water, the strength of the flow stays relatively constant independent of the weather.
The site is most beautiful in summer when the vegetation is lush, or around late October surrounded by the autumn colors. Free entrance! Many souvenir shops and restaurants in the vicinity.
Located in a corner of the vast Asagiri Highland, on the western slope of Mount Fuji, Tanuki (田貫湖 or Tanuki-ko) is a 3.3 km circumference lake. Originally a swampy area, the lake was created in 1935 by diverting the waters of nearby Shiba River in order to create a reservoir for use in irrigation.
Nowadays, Tanuki is a perfect place for photographers! When the weather is clear, you can see Mount Fuji reflected on the surface of the quiet lake.
But the optimum viewing time is between April 20 and August 20, when the sun rise from the peak of Mount Fuji is like a diamond (the phenomenon is known as “Double Diamond Fuji”) reflecting into the lake. It must be breathtaking! I visited the lake in winter, so I could not see it…but it was still such a gorgeous sight.
How to get there
I think driving a car is the most convenient way to visit this area. For both places, the closest highway is “Fuji I.C”. A parking lot is available near the Shiraito Waterfall for ¥500, and there is a free parking near Tanuki Lake. Approximately 2 times per year around January, the roads can be snowy, so make sure to inquire before leaving on your journey!
By public transportation
The buses between Shin-Fuji Station (JR Tokaido Shinkansen) and Fujinomiya Stations stop at Shiraito Falls and Tanuki Lake along the way. The one-way trip from Shin-Fuji Station takes about one hour and cost ¥1060. There are only 3-4 buses per day, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Need more information? You can find up to date information about Shizuoka’s history, sightseeing locations, accommodations, food, and transportation by clicking on the link below: