Tokyo Winter Illuminations: Roppongi Hills 2017-2018

2.Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2017

Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2017

Keyakizaka Street in Roppongi is the stage for the main illumination display at Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas. The 65 trees in the area were decorated with 1.2 million LED lights; turning this street into white and blue, and at special times, into warm amber. Besides the illumination on Keyakizaka street, don’t miss out on other interesting spots: Mohri Garden, Roku-Roku Plaza and West Walk.

roppongi-illumination-pond
roppongi-illumination-red-candle
Date: November 17th – December 25th
Hours: Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori & Mohri Garden 5pm – 11pm; Roku-Roku Plaza & West Walk 5pm-24am
Place: Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori, Roku-Roku Plaza, West Walk and Mohri Garden
Address:6-10-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
URL: Visit website
Access:directly connect to Roppongi station (Hiniya Line); 4-minute walk from Roppongi station(Oedo Line); 5-minute walk from Azabu-juban station(Oedo Line); 10-minute walk from Nogizaka Station(Chiyoda Line)
Admission: free
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Tokyo Winter Illuminations: Midtown Christmas 2017-2018

3.Tokyo Midtown Christmas illumination

midtown-illuminations

Welcoming its 10th anniversary, Tokyo Midtown decorates the ample square in front of the mall with 510 thousand lights. The theme of the Starlight Garden 2017 is “Space Odyssey”, allowing you to explore the different planets in the solar system with this 4-minute illumination show. Interestingly, it offers different shows for each day of the week. The new area “stardust Zone” is also worth visiting, which is sure to make your space trip more exciting.

midtown-blue-trees
midtown-blue-light
Date: November 15th– December 25th
Hours: 5pm – 23pm
Place: Tokyo Midtown
URL: Visit website
Access:Directly connected to Roppongi station (Oedo Line & Hibiya Line); 3-minute walk from Nogizaka station (Chiyoda Line); 10-minute walk from Roppongi –itchome Station(Namboku Line)
Admission: free
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Tokyo Winter Illuminations: Shinjuku Terrace City 2017-2018

4.Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

The concept of Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination 2017-2018 is “smile”, which features countless pink lights. You can find it near Shinjuku station, which allows you to enjoy the display while doing some shopping at the same time. Although it might get chilly, enjoy the cute and romantic atmosphere of Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination.

shinjuku-christmas
shinjuku-pink-lights
Date: November 15st– February 22nd
Hours: 5pm – 12am (from 4:30pm in December )
Place: around Shinjuku West, South and Southeast exit.
Address: 1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0023 Tokyo (Odakyu Department Store)
URL: Visit website
Access: walk from Shinjuku station
Admission: free
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Tokyo Winter Illuminations: Yebisu Garden 2017-2018

5.Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination

Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination

The display of a crystal chandelier at the center of the Plaza of Yebisu Garden Place always attracts thousands of visitors during Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As one of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world, it reaches a 5-meter height and 3-meter width and is composed of 250 lights. Also, you won’t be able to miss the 10-meter high Christmas tree.

yebisu-christmas-tree
yebisu-illumination-market
Date: November 3rd– January 8th
Hours: 4pm – 12am
Place: Yebisu Garden Place
Address: Yebisu Garden Place, 20-4, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Toyko
URL: Visit website
Access: 5-minute walk from Ebisu station(JR Line); 7-minute walk from Ebisu station(Hibiya Line)
Admission: free
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Tokyo Winter Illuminations: Omotesando 2017-2018

6.Omotesando Illumination

omotesando-illuminations

Undoubtedly, Omotesando illumination display is one of the most famous spots to visit during Christmas. This 2017 is the first time in seven years that the lit up display encompasses the whole length of Omotesando street. The 150 trees along the sidewalk are decorated with 900 thousand LED lights with a warm color. If you plan to visit during December 23rd to 24th, you’ll find a dedicated pedestrian path to handle the crowds.

omotesando-lights
zelkova-trees-lights
Date: November 30th –December 25
Hours: Sunset – 10pm
Place: Between Jingumae bridge intersection to Omotesando intersection.
Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Omotesando Hills)
URL: Visit website (In Japanese)
Access: walk from Omodesando Station (Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line and Hanzomon Line ), Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) station (Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line) or Harajuku Station (JR)
Admission: free
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Tokyo Winter Illuminations: Caretta Illumination 2017-2018

1. Caretta Illumination – True Love Story

caretta-illuminations

In order to celebrate its 15th anniversary, Caretta Shiodome shopping complex prepared a special illumination show this 2017. The theme is “Beauty and the Beast”, which was decided through a vote on Twitter. The site is decorated with 250 thousand LED lights and features a special show going on three times per hour, from 5 pm to 21 pm. Enjoy the fantastic illumination, singing along the melody of “The Beauty and the Beast” for the ultimate romantic Christmas.

candles-caretta-illumination
caretta-illumination-colorful
carretta-blue-light
Date: November 16th – February 14th 2018 (closed on January 1st and 2nd)
Hours: 5 pm – 11 pm (January 3rd – February 14th  6pm – 11pm)
Place: Caretta Shiodome
Address:1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, 105-7090 Tokyo
URL: http://www.caretta.jp/Illumination/
Access:5-minute walk from Shimbashi Station; 2-minnute walk from Shiodome Station
Admission: free

Tokyo Winter Illuminations |Top Picks of 2018

Christmas and New Year’s is coming! Have you decided how to spend your break in Tokyo? In recent years, Tokyo winter illuminations shows and displays have become must-see attractions to visit during this season in Tokyo. WAttention brings you 6 illumination spots in Tokyo that will leave you in awe.

2017 List of Illuminations:

1. Caretta Illumination – True Love Story
2. Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2017
3.Tokyo Midtown Christmas illumination
4.Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination
5.Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination
6.Omotesando Illumination

1. Caretta Illumination – True Love Story

caretta-illuminations

In order to celebrate its 15th anniversary, Caretta Shiodome shopping complex prepared a special illumination show this 2017. The theme is “Beauty and the Beast”, which was decided through a vote on Twitter. The site is decorated with 250 thousand LED lights and features a special show going on three times per hour, from 5 pm to 21 pm. Enjoy the fantastic illumination, singing along the melody of “The Beauty and the Beast” for the ultimate romantic Christmas.

candles-caretta-illumination
caretta-illumination-colorful
carretta-blue-light
Date: November 16th – February 14th 2018 (closed on January 1st and 2nd)
Hours: 5 pm – 11 pm (January 3rd – February 14th  6pm – 11pm)
Place: Caretta Shiodome
Address:1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, 105-7090 Tokyo
URL: http://www.caretta.jp/Illumination/
Access:5-minute walk from Shimbashi Station; 2-minnute walk from Shiodome Station
Admission: free

2.Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2017

Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2017

Keyakizaka Street in Roppongi is the stage for the main illumination display at Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas. The 65 trees in the area were decorated with 1.2 million LED lights; turning this street into white and blue, and at special times, into warm amber. Besides the illumination on Keyakizaka street, don’t miss out on other interesting spots: Mohri Garden, Roku-Roku Plaza and West Walk.

roppongi-illumination-pond
roppongi-illumination-red-candle
Date: November 17th – December 25th
Hours: Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori & Mohri Garden 5pm – 11pm; Roku-Roku Plaza & West Walk 5pm-24am
Place: Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori, Roku-Roku Plaza, West Walk and Mohri Garden
Address:6-10-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
URL: Visit website
Access:directly connect to Roppongi station (Hiniya Line); 4-minute walk from Roppongi station(Oedo Line); 5-minute walk from Azabu-juban station(Oedo Line); 10-minute walk from Nogizaka Station(Chiyoda Line)
Admission: free

3.Tokyo Midtown Christmas illumination

midtown-illuminations

Welcoming its 10th anniversary, Tokyo Midtown decorates the ample square in front of the mall with 510 thousand lights. The theme of the Starlight Garden 2017 is “Space Odyssey”, allowing you to explore the different planets in the solar system with this 4-minute illumination show. Interestingly, it offers different shows for each day of the week. The new area “stardust Zone” is also worth visiting, which is sure to make your space trip more exciting.

midtown-blue-trees
midtown-blue-light
Date: November 15th– December 25th
Hours: 5pm – 23pm
Place: Tokyo Midtown
URL: Visit website
Access:Directly connected to Roppongi station (Oedo Line & Hibiya Line); 3-minute walk from Nogizaka station (Chiyoda Line); 10-minute walk from Roppongi –itchome Station(Namboku Line)
Admission: free

4.Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

The concept of Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination 2017-2018 is “smile”, which features countless pink lights. You can find it near Shinjuku station, which allows you to enjoy the display while doing some shopping at the same time. Although it might get chilly, enjoy the cute and romantic atmosphere of Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination.

shinjuku-christmas
shinjuku-pink-lights
Date: November 15st– February 22nd
Hours: 5pm – 12am (from 4:30pm in December )
Place: around Shinjuku West, South and Southeast exit.
Address: 1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0023 Tokyo (Odakyu Department Store)
URL: Visit website
Access: walk from Shinjuku station
Admission: free

5.Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination

Yebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination

The display of a crystal chandelier at the center of the Plaza of Yebisu Garden Place always attracts thousands of visitors during Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As one of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world, it reaches a 5-meter height and 3-meter width and is composed of 250 lights. Also, you won’t be able to miss the 10-meter high Christmas tree.

yebisu-christmas-tree
yebisu-illumination-market
Date: November 3rd– January 8th
Hours: 4pm – 12am
Place: Yebisu Garden Place
Address: Yebisu Garden Place, 20-4, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Toyko
URL: Visit website
Access: 5-minute walk from Ebisu station(JR Line); 7-minute walk from Ebisu station(Hibiya Line)
Admission: free

6.Omotesando Illumination

omotesando-illuminations

Undoubtedly, Omotesando illumination display is one of the most famous spots to visit during Christmas. This 2017 is the first time in seven years that the lit up display encompasses the whole length of Omotesando street. The 150 trees along the sidewalk are decorated with 900 thousand LED lights with a warm color. If you plan to visit during December 23rd to 24th, you’ll find a dedicated pedestrian path to handle the crowds.

omotesando-lights
zelkova-trees-lights
Date: November 30th –December 25
Hours: Sunset – 10pm
Place: Between Jingumae bridge intersection to Omotesando intersection.
Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Omotesando Hills)
URL: Visit website (In Japanese)
Access: walk from Omodesando Station (Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line and Hanzomon Line ), Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) station (Chiyoda Line and Fukutoshin Line) or Harajuku Station (JR)
Admission: free

Fuji Five Lakes in Autumn: Stunning Colors of Japan’s Foliage (Part 2)

Enjoy the beauty of Lake Saiko while canoeing
Enjoy the beauty of Lake Saiko while canoeing

Mt. Fuji puts on a new look every season. Fall is a great time to visit the Fuji Five Lakes (Yamanakako, Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Shojiko and Motosuko) because you get to observe the Japanese custom of viewing autumn colors. While here, take the time to explore Mt. Fuji and be awed a dazzling display of autumn colors around this World Cultural Heritage Site. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy nature’s blessings in Japan.

View of Mt Fuji from Lake Motosuko
View of Mt Fuji from Lake Motosuko

Yamanakako and Kawaguchiko are the most visited lakes among the Fuji Five Lakes. However, Saiko, Shojiko and Motosuko are equally enchanting with plenty of nature to see. Make full use of Mt. Fuji Pass and extend your journey a little bit further to visit these three lakes.

Love-shaped wind cave was carved out by natural forces!
Love-shaped wind cave was carved out by natural forces!

Unique topography formed by lava flow
Unique topography formed by lava flow

Fantastic illumination inside the Narusawa Ice Cave
Fantastic illumination inside the Narusawa Ice Cave

Breathtaking nature at Lake Saiko

At the center of the Fuji Five Lakes is Saiko. The area is full of natural wonders, such as a sea of forest called Aokigahara. Fugaku Wind Cave and Narasawa Ice Cave top the most popular attractions among western visitors in recent years. The average temperature of the two lava caves at the foot of Mt. Fuji is 3 degrees Celsius and thus pleasantly cool in the summer and relatively warm in the winter. In the past, the wind cave served as a natural refrigerator to store silkworm eggs. In the ice cave, you can appreciate icicles formed by drops of water seeping from the ceiling. One major difference between the two caves is that the wind cave is horizontal and relatively flat while the other is steep and strenuous.

Before visiting the caves, we stopped by the shop to get some food
Before visiting the caves, we stopped by the shop to get some food
 Yamanashi-style noodle soup flavored steamed bun (left) and Fujizakura pork steamed bun
Yamanashi-style noodle soup flavored steamed bun (left) and Fujizakura pork steamed bun
You can get a bowl of Yoshida udon here but the noodles tasted softer than the locals like it
You can get a bowl of Yoshida udon here but the noodles tasted softer than the locals like it

Corn flavored ice cream is also worth a try!
Corn flavored ice cream is also worth a try!

Before visiting the caves, we stopped by a shop in front of the wind cave to replenish our energy. After savoring a bowl of Yoshida udon and Yamanashi-style noodle soup flavored steamed buns, we took the advice of a local and tried the corn flavored ice cream, which was sprinkled with salt to bring out the sweetness of the corn.

Canoeing at Lake Saiko
Canoeing at Lake Saiko
We were quite tense because it was our first try at canoeing. The beauty of Lake Saiko, however, soothed our nervousness right away.
We were quite tense because it was our first try at canoeing. The beauty of Lake Saiko, however, soothed our nervousness right away.

Besides visiting the lava caves, we took a try canoeing at Saiko. All you need is make a reservation with PICA Fuji Saiko Lake beforehand to enjoy the fun. We paid careful attention to the instructor before setting off and learned tips like how to hold the paddle properly and how keep the boat from flipping over. We were quite nervous at first and paddled slowly in the strong wind, which blew us off course several times. It took us a while to get used to the routine and it was all downhill from there. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, this is the right spot for you.

Thousand yen view from Motosuko!?

See the resemblance between the Mt. Fuji you see here and the one in a 1,000 yen bank note?
See the resemblance between the Mt. Fuji you see here and the one in a 1,000 yen bank note?

It is known to a lot of Japanese people that the reverse view of Mt. Fuji found in a 1,000 yen bank note was inspired by a photograph taken at Motosuko. We took off from National Route 139 (aka Fuji Panorama Lin) in pursuit of this beautiful scenery. After making a turn for National Route 300 along Motosuko, we stopped at a space large enough to park several vehicles. We saw many people taking a photo of Mt. Fuji here, but if time is on your side, it is suggested that you go further uphill to the place where the famed photo was actually taken. As we were on a busy schedule, we had no choice but to take a photo here—which was not that bad at all.

We used Mt. Fuji Pass to access the following attractions:
–Fugaku Wind Cave and Narusawa Ice Cave (free entry upon showing the pass)
— Fujikyu Bus (unlimited rides on designated buses touring the Fuji Five Lakes area)

See Part 1

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

Fuji Five Lakes in Autumn: Stunning Colors of Japan’s Foliage (Part 1)

Fabulous view of autumn colors from Mt. Kachikachi Ropeway
Fabulous view of autumn colors from Mt. Kachikachi Ropeway

Mt. Fuji puts on a new look every season. Fall is a great time to visit the Fuji Five Lakes (Yamanakako, Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Shojiko and Motosuko) because you get to observe the Japanese custom of viewing autumn colors. While here, take the time to explore Mt. Fuji and be awed a dazzling display of autumn colors around this World Cultural Heritage Site. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy nature’s blessings in Japan.

We took a direct bus to Kawaguchiko from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal
We took a direct bus to Kawaguchiko from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal

If you want to visit the Mt. Fuji area from Tokyo, you can either take the train or a direct bus from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Kawaguchiko. Relax for about two hours on the bus before arriving at Kawaguchiko Station, a bustling station in the area.

Autumn leaf viewing around Kawaguchiko

Cruise Kawaguchiko on Ensoleille
Cruise Kawaguchiko on Ensoleille
Mt. Kachikachi Ropeway reaches the summit in three minutes. Once a top, one is greeted with a spectacular view.
Mt. Kachikachi Ropeway reaches the summit in three minutes. Once a top, one is greeted with a spectacular view.
Limited edition goods are on sale at this tea house at the mountain top
Limited edition goods are on sale at this tea house at the mountain top

Areas around Kawaguchiko and Yamanakako are known for tourism, due to their convenient access and transportation. Mt. Fuji Pass, for example, gives you unlimited rides on nearly all the buses operating in the Fuji Five Lakes area. This time, we decided to get a bit closer to Mt. Fuji by taking a pleasure boat called Ensoleille around Kawaguchiko. After the refreshing cruise, we took Mt. Kachikachi Ropeway to the top of Tenjosan, which measures 1,075 meters above ground. The panoramic view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. Shades of autumn came in stark contrast with dark greens of conifer trees, looking like a scene straight out of an oil painting. This autumn version of Japan is only available to visitors taking the ropeway.

Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival is worth a visit
Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival is worth a visit

The Autumn Leaves Festival is a must see at Kawaguchiko. On a sunny day, the majestic Mt. Fuji comes into view with leaves in the color of red and gold. Consisting of 60 gigantic maple trees on a long path, the Maple Corridor lights up after dark, invoking a fantasy atmosphere totally different from day time.

Lots of fun places to visit around Kawaguchiko and Yamanakako

A view of Mt. Fuji from Oshino Ninja Village
A view of Mt. Fuji from Oshino Ninja Village
Black dango looks as mysterious as a ninja
Black dango looks as mysterious as a ninja

Besides nature, there are a bunch of recreational and entertainment facilities on the way to Yamanakako. Visiting these places will definitely make your trip more memorable! The Oshino Ninja Village, for example, gives you a once in a lifetime chance to dress up as a ninja. You can also enjoy ninja shows and try making your way through a trick house.

Lisa and Gaspard Town at Fuji-Q Highland is a popular check-in attraction on social media
Lisa and Gaspard Town at Fuji-Q Highland is a popular check-in attraction on social media
Limited edition Mt Fuji cookies in purple and yellow sweet potato flavors
Limited edition Mt Fuji cookies in purple and yellow sweet potato flavors
Limited edition purple sweet potato panini
Limited edition purple sweet potato panini

For those looking for excitement, Fuji-Q Highland is the place to go. There are quite a few Guinness World record breaking roller coasters as well as the Lisa and Gaspard Town, a popular check-in attraction on the social media. Get your hands on limited edition Mt. Fuji cookies in purple and yellow sweet potato flavors or a purple sweet potato panini to quench your hunger.

Board the amphibian bus to explore the area
Board the amphibian bus to explore the area
What about fried chicken black as lava?
What about fried chicken black as lava?

Among the Fuji Five Lakes, Yamanakako is the closest to Mt Fuji and the largest. A rare but beautiful phenomenon called Diamond Fuji can be viewed from here. Last time we took the Ensoleille to cruise the lake, but this time, we have opted YAMANAKAKO NO KABA, an amphibian bus that takes visitors deep into the woods before diving into Yamanakako. Learn about the wild life of Yamanakako by listening to the tour guide, who is good at keeping audience engaged. For those who don’t understand Japanese, free audio guide is provided in multiple languages, including Chinese, English, Thai and Indonesian.

The “Yuyake no Nagisa, Fall Foilage Festival” at Yamanakako is romantic and charming
The “Yuyake no Nagisa, Fall Foilage Festival” at Yamanakako is romantic and charming

The Asahigaoka Lakeside Park at Yamanakako holds the “Yuyake no Nagisa, Fall Foilage Festival” every year, featuring a 600 meter long maple corridor with falling leaves as the red carpet. The gradient of yellow, orange and red leaves is visually pleasing and romantic.

Capsule Hotel—smart and economical accommodation

The CABIN & LOUNGE HIGHLAND STATION INN is not far from the station.
The CABIN & LOUNGE HIGHLAND STATION INN is not far from the station.
The hotel provides full amenity and a comfortable semi-double bed, which is a bit larger than a single one.
The hotel provides full amenity and a comfortable semi-double bed, which is a bit larger than a single one.
Hotel guests receive free admission to Fujiyama Museum. How about ordering a photogenic Mt. Fuji dessert and upload the photo to your favorite social media?
Hotel guests receive free admission to Fujiyama Museum. How about ordering a photogenic Mt. Fuji dessert and upload the photo to your favorite social media?
Hotel guests can enjoy Fujiyama Onsen with a discount price
Hotel guests can enjoy Fujiyama Onsen with a discount price

We have decided to make CABIN & LOUNGE HIGHLAND STATION INN our home for one night. Opened in April 2017, this capsule hotel is not far from the station and easily accessible. The room is quite comfortable, equipped with full amenity and a semi-double bed, which is a little bit bigger than a single bed.
All hotel guests are entitled to free entry at Fuji-Q Highland and Fuji-Q Highland Free Pass discount. For hot spring lovers, discount price also applies to Fujiyama Onsen. Worried about transportation? There is free shuttle bus operating from Fuji-Q Highland to Fujiyama Onsen. Hotel guests can also visit the Fujiyama Museum for free. The museum houses various paintings of Mt. Fuji and sells a wide variety of Mt. Fuji themed goods—even the dessert at the coffee shop was designed in the image of Mt. Fuji, a spiritual symbol of Japan.

Buffet at Highland Resort Hotel and Spa
Buffet at Highland Resort Hotel and Spa
Seats facing Fuji-Q Highland feature a grand view of roller coasters
Seats facing Fuji-Q Highland feature a grand view of roller coasters

If you are a gourmet, you can’t ignore the buffet at Highland Resort Hotel and Spa. There is a wide array of Japanese, Chinese and western dishes to satisfy your palate. You can either pick a seat facing Mt. Fuji to feel its presence or a seat facing the Fuji-Q Highland to see people screaming away on roller coasters!

We used Mt. Fuji Pass to access the following attractions:
–Kawaguchiko pleasure boat Ensoleille (free ride upon showing the pass)
–Mount Kachikachi Ropeway (free ride upon showing the pass)
–Fuji-Q Highland (free entry upon showing the pass and access to one attraction for free)
–Fujikyu Bus (unlimited rides on designated buses touring the Fuji Five Lakes area)

Fuji Five Lakes in Autumn: Stunning Colors of Japan’s Foliage (Part 2)

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

Experience every shade of autumn at Nikko’s Chuzenji lake area

1-Kegon-falls-with-chuzenji-lake-view
Nestled in the mountainous Tochigi prefecture, to the north of Tokyo, Nikko is mostly known for the intricately decorated Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, equally impressive and often overlooked by foreign tourists is the area’s breathtaking nature. We present you with a sample itinerary and ideas on how to best explore Nikko’s nature.

Start your trip in comfort

We recommend starting as early as possible to make the most out of your day, especially if you want to make it as a day-trip. However, staying the night will allow for a more relaxed itinerary.
The most convenient way to reach Nikko from Tokyo is departing from Asakusa Station on Tobu Railway’s Revaty Limited Express train that makes the trip in just an hour and 50 minutes.

Tobu Railway’s Revaty Limited Express train is the most convenient way to reach Nikko
Tobu Railway’s Revaty Limited Express train is the most convenient way to reach Nikko

Since I was going as a day-trip, I decided to catch the earliest train departing at 6:30am. Despite feeling still half-asleep, as the train was leaving Tokyo, I was rewarded by great views of Asakusa’s bridge over the Sumidagawa river at dusk and the TOKYO SKYTREE glowing in the morning mist.

The ride was very smooth, with comfortable seats, power outlets and free Wi-Fi connection. Eventually, after a while of looking out the window, I dozed off and before I knew it, I was already at Tobu Nikko Station.

3-tobu-train-seats
3-power-outlet
3-tobu-free-wifi

Tobu Nikko Station is a barrier-free station that is particularly welcoming to foreign tourists, and offers a tourist information center, souvenir shops and rental lockers. There, you can purchase all kinds of tourist passes to make the most out for your adventure in Nikko, some of them are available exclusively to foreign visitors!

29-tobu-nikkko-station-
29-entrance-to-toursitic-info
29-touristic-inforamtion-machine

I decided to purchase the Senjogahara Free Pass for 2,650 yen, which is valid for two days and allows travel on Tobu buses between Tobu Nikko Station and different stops around Lake Chuzenji Area.

4-tobu-ticket-pass-machine-nikko

Make sure to consult with the station staff which pass is most convenient for your planned itinerary, or use one of the vending machines with instructions in many languages. When you leave the station, look for the platform with your destination written on it to make sure you catch the right bus.

5-in-line-to-take-bus-to-lake-chuzenji

The bus took me on up the mountain on the famous Irohazaka Slope, which was lined by trees with different shades of red, amber and orange.

Akechidaira Ropeway’s idyllic landscape

Akechidaira Ropeway
Akechidaira Ropeway

I got off at Akechidaira bus stop, where the lower station of Akechidaira Ropeway is located. From mid-October, the autumn foliage attracts lots of people, so the area was very crowded. These conditions proved ideal for a sneaky macaque to snatch away a plastic bag with food from an unsuspecting tourist. Since I was not the victim, it was admittedly a funny moment, but beware of them, as they are not afraid of people and could become aggressive if provoked.

A Japanese macaque munching on somebody else’s treat
A Japanese macaque munching on somebody else’s treat

The ropeway takes only three minutes to reach the upper station and costs 730 JPY round-trip. As you ascend, you can get unrivaled views of the plateau below and the mountains covered in autumn foliage.

8-view-achekidaira-ropeway

Once at the top, you will be amazed by the picture-perfect, idyllic landscape of the multi-colored mountains surrounding the intense blue of Lake Chuzenji with the white stream of Kegon Waterfall at the center, giving it the appearance of an oil painting.

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An elevator down the mountain to Kegon Waterfall

Kegon Waterfall is a sightseeing spot in its own right, and after seeing it from afar, it was time to get closer. I came back down on the ropeway and took the bus to Chuzenji Onsen bus stop, where after walking for a few minutes I reached the Kegon Waterfall’s elevator, complete with an operator as if it was the entrance of a fancy hotel.
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The elevator takes you down the length of the falls, and after passing through a damp tunnel, the sight of the mighty Kegon Waterfall finally appears leaving you in awe. The roughly 100 m tall drop of water creates a pleasant mist, while smaller streams flow through rocks covered in moss, all set against a palette of autumn leaves creating a spectacular sight that is actually considered among the top three most beautiful falls in all of Japan.

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After lots of well-deserved picture snapping, I decided to grab something to eat, and looked around the food stalls near the elevator entrance. With my stomach already rumbling, I decided to take a leap of faith and try the gyoza croquette. That’s right, a gyoza, a pan-fried dumpling and Tochigi prefecture’s specialty, stuffed inside a croquette filled with mashed potatoes. (330 JPY).

Gyoza (fried dumpling) inside a croquette
Gyoza (fried dumpling) inside a croquette

I felt that my menu was lacking in protein, so I decided to spend 700 JPY more on one of the local specialties: the char or “iwana” in Japanese, a freshwater fish charcoiled(charcoaled?)-grilled on the spot and sprinkled with salt.

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While still biting on my grilled char, I sped up my pace in order to catch the Chuzenji-ko cruise, only stopping on my way to the pier to snap a picture or two of the beautiful Torii gate belonging to the nearby Futarasan-Jinja Shrine and serving as a gateway to Chuzenji Onsen town.

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Chuzenji-ko Cruise and the quintessential autumn colors

I made it barely on time to purchase my 1150 JPY ticket for the cruise on the “Nantai” a brand new vessel that takes tourists around the main sightseeing spots in Lake Chuzenji.

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Most people headed towards the open deck in the top to enjoy unobstructed views of the landscape, and while I did snap some pictures there, I found the lower floors to be much more enjoyable, with less people, and equally impressive views.

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The ship cruises at a leisurely speed, not too far from the shore, letting visitors appreciate the houses with their little piers, couples sharing rowing boats and even wave “hello” to neighboring ships or people practicing kayaking.

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Mt. Nantai, for which the ship is named after, dominates the landscape with its different shades of autumn foliage. The ship stops at different spots of interest such as the summer cottages of foreign embassies that chose Nikko as their favorite resort.

I decided to stay on the ship longer to take in all the nature, and that gave me the opportunity to encounter breathtaking sights such as an impossibly small island on the lake, and crimson trees that were so bright that it almost hurt my eyes.

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Tachiki Kannon Statue, a relic rooted in nature

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The cruise left me at Chuzenji Temple, which gives the lake its name and it’s home to the Tachiki Kannon, a six-meter tall statue carved from a tree that is still rooted in its place, representing the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. There are guided visits offered only in Japanese. However, I do recommend visiting the second floor to take a look at the intricate ceiling paintings depicting a white dragon and the wild flowers found around Nikko. The terrace also offers stunning views of the temple with the lake.

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Walking around the shores of Lake Chuzenji

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Instead of taking the bus, I decided to walk back to Chuzenji Onsen bus stop to take in some of the peaceful lake shore vibe, and had to stop every few steps to take yet another picture of the landscape.

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The road connecting Chuzenji Temple with Chuzenji Onsen bus stop has many different restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops to explore at your pace.

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This is also where some foreign embassies used to have their summer houses, which have now been turned into parks that are open to visitors. This area is also the perfect place to have lunch at one of the many restaurants offering western food made with local ingredients such as trout.

Add a dash of history and shopping to your trip

If you have been to Nikko before, perhaps you have already visited Nikko Toshogu Shrine and the surrounding historical buildings, but Nikko is home to a lot more interesting sights. From Chuzenji Onsen, take a Tobu bus headed to Tobu Nikko Station, and get off at The Tamozawa Imperial Villa. Featuring unique architecture that blends Edo period and Meiji period elements. The building was constructed in 1899 and originally served as the Tokyo residence of a branch of the Tokugawa family. At some point it also served as the Imperial Palace, where the current Emperor of Japan took refuge when he was still the Crown Prince during the Second World War.

Take some time to explore some of its 106 rooms and beautiful garden.
Take some time to explore some of its 106 rooms and beautiful garden.
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After a long day of sightseeing, you can take a bus back to Tobu Nikko Station, but I recommend that you walk back to appreciate Nikko’s famous Shinkyo Bridge, and stop at one of the many souvenir shops offering the area’s delicacies and unique cuisine.
The option are endless, but do not miss trying a dessert made out of yuba, or tofu skin, a healthy and delicious treat, or visit a sake brewery to taste Nikko’s original brew.

The Shinkyo Bridge is a vermilion-lacquered wooden bridge that crosses the Daiya river.
The Shinkyo Bridge is a vermilion-lacquered wooden bridge that crosses the Daiya river.
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More information:

Access to Nikko
http://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/area/nikko_kinugawa/access.html

Passes and discount ticket information
http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/en/pass/

Tobu bus routes
http://www.tobu-bus.com/en/nikko/

Akachedaira Ropeway
http://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/tourism/nikko_kinugawa/11.html

Chuzenji lake cruise
http://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/tourism/nikko_kinugawa/3.html

A day with the family in the snow!

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Located on the southern slope of Mt. Fuji in Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture at an altitude of 1,300 m, Snowtown Yeti is a ski and snowboarding resort offering a myriad of fun activities for each member of the family. Whether you are an experienced skier or just a beginner, the park offers four different runs, with different degrees of inclination, averaging between 11 to 25. Choose the appropriate run according to your level and hop on a lift or the magic carpet back to the top and slide down as many times as you want.

Snowtown Yeti is the perfect weekend get-away due to its proximity to Tokyo, easily reachable in two hours and a half via a direct bus departing Shinjuku Station, as well as buses from the nearby Mishima, Gotemba and Fuji Stations. Besides exciting slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, the resort features day care facilities and a playground area in the snow for those families with small children, as well as a restaurant offering warm meals and a souvenir shop carrying everything from ski gear to unique mementos from the park.

Snowtown Yeti has one of the longest ski seasons in Japan, since it opens its doors in mid-October and this season it will stay open until April 8th, offering as well unique opportunities such as skiing at nighttime.

Two of our WAttention Ninja from the Philippines got the opportunity to experience a full day of skiing and snowboarding with their children at Snowtown Yeti and this is what they had to say about the trip.

Melissa Borja

Our family had a great time at Snowtown Yeti! The Fujikyu Direct Linerbus that took us to the resort departed on time at 7:30am and we arrived at the resort a few minutes before 10am. I noticed that the ski wear and gear were clean and almost new. I was glad because we did not bring anything except our goggles and gloves! The dressing room was spacious too, which made it very convenient for me when I dressed up my baby. We were lucky to visit on a sunny day and the view of Mt. Fuji was stunning and perfect for an Instagram post!

The area on the left side of the slope is for beginners like me and my husband, while the rest of the slope is for the more advanced skiers like my daughter. Everyone in my family enjoyed our day at Snowtown Yeti because there was something for everyone. After skiing, we had a warm lunch at the restaurant which is equipped with wifi. In the afternoon, we had fun sleigh riding and played in the snow with our baby girl until it was time to board the bus again at 4:20 pm. Before we headed home, we managed to sneak in some shopping for “omiyage” at the resort souvenir store.

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My whole family was really excited for this trip to Snowtown Yeti! My kids’ face lit up as soon as Mt. Fuji came to view. I really liked that the rental station, the lockers, changing rooms and toilet are all conveniently stationed under one roof. While some people prefer a ski-in, ski-out resort, I prefer this resort’s layout in that I can easily navigate through the other facilities of the resort without worrying about slippery pavements and walkways. The signage and maps around the resort were also easy to understand. The restaurants and shops are spacious and provide a wide range of choices for lunch and snacks.
My wife skied mostly in the beginner slope, while me and my daughter navigated the more difficult slopes. I was glad there was also an area where kids and beginners like my son can practice. The Children’s Playroom was still closed at the time of our visit, but we were glad that the area for sleigh-riding was already open. After skiing, we sleighed to our heart’s content. We had such a great time, that we almost lost track of time, so we rushed to the bus bound for Tokyo just in the nick of time!

Edward Borja

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Sample schedule using the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus from Shinjuku Station
schedule

Snowtown Yeti

Open: Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., weekends and public holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., all-night skiing 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the next morning (available on certain days).
Open mid-october to early April of every year.
Address: 2428 Aza Fujiwara, Suyama, Susono-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture 410-1231
Phone: 055-998-0636
Website: http://www.yeti-resort.com/en/
Access: Take the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus near Shinjuku west exit, in front of Kogakuin University.
Price: Yeti Liner Package (Yeti direct liner bus + rental ski + 1 day ticket) Adult 9,000-9,500 JPY, Child (6 to 11) 7,000-7,500 JPY. Please check Snowtown Yeti’s website for all-night skiing rates and other pricing information.

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

Skiing and Snowboarding on Japan’s most iconic mountain

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Located two and a half hours away from Tokyo, Snowtown Yeti is a ski and snowboard resort found on the southern slope of Mt. Fuji at an altitude of 1,300 m. Although it offers breathtaking views of the iconic mountain, people come here to slide down its four different runs, featuring an inclination range between 11 degrees and 25 degrees for those who feel more adventurous.

The park is easily reachable by a direct bus departing Shinjuku Station, as well as buses from the nearby Mishima, Gotemba and Fuji Stations. Snowtown Yeti is the first ski resort in Japan to open its doors around mid-October when the slopes are covered with man-made snow; this season, the park will remain open up until April 8th. At the store, visitors can find all they need in order to spend a fun day in the snow, from ski and snowboarding rental gear, to goggles and hats, available for sale.

The park also offers a restaurant to cozy up with a heartwarming meal and a souvenir shop. And in some select days, the park also remains open through the night for those wanting to join an all-night skiing experience.

Two of our WAttention Ninja from Denmark and Norway got the opportunity to experience a full day of skiing and snowboarding at Snowtown Yeti and this is what they had to say about the trip.

Fredrik Follaug

The bus ride to Snowtown Yeti was really comfortable and convenient, since it takes you directly from the middle of Shinjuku to the slopes of Mt. Fuji. The staff at Snowtown Yeti was very kind and helped us find everything we needed for a good trip. The winter gear we rented was of a good quality and they had many different colors available to choose from. The shop had a great variety of gloves, goggles and hats; lots of different souvenirs and most importantly: a good variety of candy!
The security lockers were very handy as you could place your valuables inside and enjoy skiing without worrying. The weather was really good for skiing the whole day, and the view from the top of the slope was really beautiful, as you could see Mt. Fuji with all its beautiful colors of late autumn. The snow on the slope was really good despite it being man-made, so smooth that it was like skiing on the clouds, and I had no trouble at all maneuvering through the crowd of people on the slope. The slope itself was good for skiers of all levels and we actually became friends with the Japanese skiers, who were very kind and stroke up a conversation with us on the lift to the top of the slope. They were also crazy good at snowboarding, doing so many different tricks and jumping all around. I had a wonderful time at Snowtown Yeti and I would love to come back again.
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I was really excited to go skiing at Mt Fuji as it was my first time skiing in Japan and I had heard nothing but good things about it. The place easily lived up to the expectations, as the snow was really good, the equipment flawless and when we arrived we were already at the top ready to ski down!
The slope was perfect for both inexperienced and experienced skiers alike. There was also a restaurant with good and relatively cheap food as well as multiple stands with delicious treats and a nice little cafe. We also enjoyed looking around in the small shop where you can buy ski equipment and souvenirs, in all shapes and forms from clothes to sweets.
The view was also really beautiful, although we went at the begining of December, there hadn’t really fallen any snow yet, but I can only imagime how beautiful the scenery must be later in the winter.
I could definitely see myself going there again with a couple of friends when more slopes are open for skiing. If you are in Tokyo and looking for a close and good ski experience it is definitely worth checking out Snowtown Yeti ski resort, you won’t regret it.

Jens Evald-Schelde

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Sample schedule using the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus from Shinjuku Station
schedule

Snowtown Yeti

Open: Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., weekends and public holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., all-night skiing 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the next morning (available on certain days).
Open mid-october to early April of every year.
Address: 2428 Aza Fujiwara, Suyama, Susono-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture 410-1231
Phone: 055-998-0636
Website: http://www.yeti-resort.com/en/
Access: Take the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus near Shinjuku west exit, in front of Kogakuin University.
Price: Yeti Liner Package (Yeti direct liner bus + rental ski + 1 day ticket) Adult 9,000-9,500 JPY, Child (6 to 11) 7,000-7,500 JPY. Please check Snowtown Yeti’s website for all-night skiing rates and other pricing information.

Check out the report of another group of Ninjas who visted Snowtown Yeti last February. Or if you are travelling with kids, then check out the report from this Filipino family and learn about their day in the snow.

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