The picture-perfect Fuji Shibazakura Festival

portadashibazakura
Small flowers with five heart-shaped petals in various shades of pink and purple cover the ground of a wide open area. Their different colors come together to weave a beautiful tapestry. As if that idyllic, almost surreal landscape weren’t enough, the picture-perfect view is crowned by Mt. Fuji, with its peak half covered in snow. This is what awaits visitors at the venue of the Fuji Shiba-zakura Festival, which draws both locals and visitors to its enchanting view every spring, making it a great starting place to explore the Fuji Five Lake area.

A two and half hour ride away on the express bus from Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal, the venue for Fuji Shiba-zakura Festival features more than 800,000 moss phlox flowers, also known as Shiba-zakura in Japanese (meaning “lawn cherry blossom”). Besides snapping calendar worthy pictures, visitors can enjoy a variety of delicious local dishes at the Mt. Fuji delicious food festival, located in the food area of the venue. Unique souvenirs such as limited-edition green tea boxes and an endless supply of Mt. Fuji-themed products are also available for purchase at the souvenir store.

Recently, two of our WAttention Ninjas had the chance to visit the Fuji Shiba-zakura Festival, and this is what they had to say about their trip.

Rozemarije Zijlmans

We took a comfortable bus ride from Shinjuku Station to the Fuji Shiba-zakura Festival, where we met a stunning landscape: a carpet of pink, purple, lilac and fuchsia flowers. Like the cherry blossom, shiba-zakura bloom in five petals, but they grow rather quickly, covering the ground like a lawn with thousands of flowers.
Without a doubt, the best spot for a coffee or tea break is the Fujiyama Sweets Sakura Café, serving sweets that look pink and delicious. We tried the Cherry Blossom-cheesecake, while enjoying the view. Next to us, on the panorama plaza bridge, people were trying to fit two Mount Fuji in their picture; the real one and a miniature one made out of shiba-zakura flowers.
We then took the Shiba-zakura Liner bus which dropped us off at the small, wooden station of Kawaguchiko. From there it was an easy walk to the Kawaguchiko lakeside where we got on board the pleasure boat “Ensoleille” for a pleasant trip around the lake before coming back to Tokyo.
roddy2
roddy3
The Fuji Shiba-zakura Festival held in Yamanashi Prefecture is an unbeatable experience. I was impressed by the view of thousands of flowers covering up the whole ground. The festival also offers a variety of seasonal food and souvenirs to browse and enjoy. Sake fans can enjoy buying a Mt. Fuji-shaped bottle or a local wine brewed in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture. I also liked the sakura mochi (rice cake), wrapped in stunning festive boxes, as well as other Japanese food and drinks. After enjoying the beautiful view, we hopped on the Lake Kawaguchiko sightseeing cruise to leisurely soak up the scenery. Yamanashi Prefecture has a variety of different foods to be tried, including Hoto, a thick noodle dish that is perfect during a chilly spring day. The beauty and charm of Shiba-zakura, and Lake Kawaguchiko in general, is a stunning snapshot of the dream-like nation that is Japan.

Taylor Bond

simon2
1simon
simon3

Sample schedule for a day visiting the Fuji Shiba-zakura festival and a cruise on Lake Kawaguchiko. shibazakuraschedulefinal

The Fuji Shiba-zakura Festival

Open: from Saturday April 15, 2017 until Sunday May 28, 2017 from 8:00 to 17:00
Entrance fee: Adults 600 JPY, Children 250 JPY
Address:212 Motosu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun,Yamanashi-prefecture
URL:http://www.shibazakura.jp/eng/
Bus Reservations:http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/highway/detail/id/1/
Phone: 0555-89-3031

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

WAttention NINJA meeting

What is WAttention Ninja?

You may already know Ninja from comic books and animations, right?

What you might not know is that unlike the Samurai who live for battle, the majority of Ninja were informants, whose primary job was to collect intelligence.

WAttention is now recruiting foreign students and residents who want to collect and spread information about Japan as WAttention Ninja.

Print

The Perks!

The perks of becoming a WAttention Ninja are endless!
・Go on interview trips around Japan for FREE
・Meet people you wouldn’t normally get to meet and try unique experiences
・Participate in numerous events and conduct backstage interviews
・Visit up-and-coming cafes and go to pre-opening restaurant receptions
・A variety of awards (certificate, original Ninja products, etc.)

Join us for our first WAttention Ninja Meeting

tabealetters
WAttention Tokyo, a free magazine for foreign visitors to Japan invites you to our first WAttention NINJA meeting! Meet other like-minded travelers and bloggers and chat with WAttention staff at a Cafe in Harajuku, Tokyo.

What’s on the agenda?

-A chat about your interest and ideas about sharing Japan’s charm with the world
-A survey to improve the quality and reach of our magazine and website
-Free snacks and soft drinks
-All participants will receive an original tote bag!

Notes:
-Please pay for your own transportation fees from your home to/from the venue in Harajuku, Tokyo.
-We will take promotional pictures during the event, so please join only if you agree to have your picture taken for this purpose.
-Please understand that due to limited space, we might not be able to invite all of our applicants.

Apply by filling out the following form:

Touring the best of Mt. Fuji Five Lakes area in just one evening

View from the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
View from the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko

Calmed waters inhabited by koi fish and swans, adorable thatched roof cottages, open fields carpeted with tulips or sunflowers and serene torii gates nestled in the forest, these are just some of the sights found in the Fuji Five Lakes area with the iconic Mt. Fuji at its center. The most convenient way to reach the area from Tokyo is on the Holiday Rapid Fujisan No. 1, which departs Shinjuku station and takes passengers directly to Kawaguchiko without the need to transfer to any other train or the need to pay any express rates. At Kawaguchiko, there are sightseeing bus tours that offer visitors the opportunity to make the most out of their time by taking them to the most iconic spots in a comfortable bus including transportation and admission fees as well as an automatic audio guide in English, Chinese and Thai.

There are two different courses available, both starting from either the Fuji Q Highland Highway bus terminal or Kawaguchiko Station. The “AM” course is a morning tour that goes to the 4th station of the Fuji Subaru line for impressive views at the observatory, then on to the 5th station where visitors can grab a bite and visit the nearby Komitake Shrine. Passengers have the option to stay in the area to explore or come back to Kawaguchiko station.

The “PM” course takes visitors across Ohashi Bridge for postcard views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko and then heads to Lake Yamanakako where tourists get off the bus and board a boat shaped like a giant white swan to cruise its calmed waters. The bus then passes Hana-no-Miyako Park, where depending on the season, enthusiast photographers can snap a picture of fields covered in flowers. Passengers also visit Oshino Hakkai Village, with its traditional houses and clear ponds. The tour ends with a visit to Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja shrine, a sacred place that marks the beginning of one of the routes to climb Mt. Fuji.

Three of our WAttention Ninja had the opportunity to experience the PM course and this is what they had to say.

Janina Karlman

I felt so relaxed when we arrived at Kawaguchiko, like we had just found a refuge from Tokyo’s big city life. First we strolled around the streets, took a lot of pictures, especially near the Lake Kawaguchiko where the cherry blossoms greeted us with their presence!
Later, we visited a Kimono rental shop, where the professional staff helped us with both hair and kimono and the final result was stunning! Afterwards, we headed back to the bus station to join the “Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Bus Tour”. The tour was in a comfortable bus, with friendly staff and an audio guide in several languages, to help those whose Japanese is not so great (like me). We did so many fun things, like getting on a big Swan-shaped boat across Lake Yamanakako, we walked around Oshino Hakkai Village, where locals asked us if they could take our picture because we were wearing kimono. I felt like a rockstar. But my absolute favorite place of the tour was the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine. It was very beautiful and I enjoyed the sacred atmosphere of the shrine.
roddy2
roddy3
The day started well as we enjoyed the view of the countryside and the beautiful nature on the train ride from Shinjuku station to Kawaguchiko. We walked around the lake enjoying the fresh air and the wonderful natural landscape. We then stopped by a kimono rental shop, where we picked out a kimono to wear for the day. Afterwards, we joined the sightseeing bus tour, which took us to the nearby Lake Yamanakako, where we boarded a swan-shaped boat. We took a seat at a sofa in the corner of the boat and sipped coffee, which we bought at the bar of the boat as we enjoyed the calmed 20 minute ride. We then headed to Oshino Hakkai Village. What a beautiful place! with its small ponds and crystal clear water. Here, I felt like a model because lots of people wanted to take our picture with the cherry trees in the background. Finally, after a few more minutes in the bus, we arrived at Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine, where we enjoyed the beautiful nature and the peaceful atmosphere it gave the shrine.

Dagmar Warnecke

simon2
1simon
simon3

Marie-Louise Straub

The day started at Shinjuku station where we took the Holiday Rapid Fujisan No.1 to Kawaguchiko. We arrived approximately two hours later and had some time to explore the town and its beautiful lake. We especially enjoyed taking pictures of cherry blossoms. After a small lunch and visiting a kimono rental shop to dress up for our tour, we joined the PM course of the “Fuji Five Lakes sightseeing tour”. Our first destination was Lake Yamanakako, where we enjoyed taking pictures of koi fish swimming near the pier of the “Swan Lake” pleasure boat. After the wonderful boat ride, we went back on board the bus and headed to Oshino Hakka Village, where we spent time at a nice little stream bordered by cherry trees taking pictures. The bright colors of our kimonos matched perfectly with the cherry blossoms. Our last destination was Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine in Kitaguchi. The road was lined with cedars that led to the shrine, it was impressive and gave us the opportunity to take more nice pictures. After spending time at the shrine and buying omikuji, fortune-telling paper strips, the bus took us back to Kawaguchiko.
lucas3
lucas2
lucas1

Sample schedule for a day using the Fuji Five Lake Sightseeing Bus Tour
schedulefujifivelakes

Fuji Five Lake Sightseeing Bus Tour “Highlights Fujisan-go”

Available dates: Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays from April 22nd to 19 November, 2017 (Except from May 3rd to 5th) and National Holidays from April 22nd to 19 November, 2017 (Except from May 3rd to 5th)
Cost: Adults 2,800 JPY, Children 1,400 JPY for either the AM or PM course.
Adults 4,500 Children 2,250 JPY for both the AM & the PM courses.
Address: Kawaguchiko St.
3641 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
Fuji-Q Highland Highway Bus Terminal
5 Chome-6 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi-ken 403-0017
URL: Visit this website to make an online reservation for the AM course and this website for the PM course. *Reservation closes 30 min before departure, however if there are available seats, you can buy your tickets at the ticket counter.
Kimono rental:Kimono Rental Kotobukiya
Phone: 0555-72-2911 (available only in Japanese)

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with these useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli