Cycling Around the Fuji Five Lakes
One of the best ways to enjoy the refreshing nature of the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko in Japanese) is to get on two wheels, take advantage of the biking trails that surround part of the lakes, and enjoy the lakeside and mountainous views along the way. Covering all of the Fujigoko is quite doable but to do it all in one go is not for the faint-hearted. We have a couple of suggestions: a ride around Lake Yamanakako on a dedicated bike trail, or a more challenging sightseeing bike ride around Lake Kawaguchiko and part of Lake Saiko.
Lake Yamanakako on the eastern edge of the Fuji Five Lakes region is not only the biggest of the Five Lakes, but also the one with the best cycling trail in the area. Although the trail does not cover the whole lakeside it gets pretty close. On a clear day the ride around the lake is one of beautiful scenery, a lot of water, and great views of Mount Fuji. Distance-wise, the whole ride is approximately 14 km and along the way you’ll want to make a few stops to enjoy the wildlife at the Nagaike Water Park, the Koryu Plaza Kirara, and the scenic landscape, among other things. Bikes can be rented at several locations along the northwestern shore of the lake and will set you back 2,000 yen for half a day or 3,000 yen for the whole day. For the serious rider, one challenging detour is to pedal up Road 730 and up to the Panorama Dai to catch the majestic view of Mount Fuji across the lake.
A more challenging ride to take on while at the Fuji Five Lakes is a sightseeing cycling tour of Lake Kawaguchiko including the northeastern side of Lake Saiko. This tour is more extensive than the cycling trip around Lake Yamanakako and involves a short but steep uphill climb to connect you from one lake to the next. So, unless you ride a road or mountain bike, we recommend renting an electric bike from Sora No Shita Outdoor shop (4,000 yen per day) near Kawaguchiko Station.
To get the most out of this cycling tour and to give yourself a higher chance of seeing Mount Fuji, we recommend waking up bright an early especially if you’re visiting during the summer months when there is often low visibility in the day. To see Mount Fuji, you’ll want to ride along the trail that crosses Nagasaki Park and keep watch for the mountain on your left-hand side. Along the way to Lake Saiko, you can stop to take a breather at the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center to then take on the climb up the Momiji and Ashiwada Tunnels.
Once at Lake Saiko and after the steep climb you’ll probably need a solid break and some food. For a simple yet tasty breakfast, we recommend a stop at Misaki Cafe. This is a charming cafe with a terrace view over the the calm blue waters of Lake Saiko. Weather permitting, you can relax by the garden and enjoy the salad, toast, and coffee set. No need to rush out of Lake Saiko, the row of fishermen waiting for the day’s catch is a view to be had.
On the way back to Lake Kawaguchiko you’ll be taking the tunnels once again but this time with a smooth ride down hill, just watch out for the cars sharing the road. Before you head back to the Fujikawaguchiko Town, you should make a final pit stop at Koumi Park. The small patch of soft grass is a great spot to breathe in the freshness of the surrounding nature and, if you’re still hungry, enjoy a snack at the Michi No Eki Katsuyama (roadside stop). From here on you are ready to take on the rest of the trail back to the town.