6 minutes reading time Japan
No trip to Japan would be complete without seeing at least a glimpse of the country’s tallest mountain with your own eyes. Mount Fuji is the national symbol of Japan; the snow capped volcanic cone has been immortalised in countless works of art, and taken on sacred, near-mythical proportions within Japanese culture. It’s also one of the most visited tourist sites in Japan, and an entry on many people’s bucket lists.
Thousands of tourists climb Mount Fuji every year, and many more visit the shrines near its base to pay their respects. There are numerous tour companies which ferry visitors to and from the mountain lodges every summer, and plenty of private guides which lead small hiking parties up and down the winding trails. Unfortunately, many of these adventures have been put on pause this year, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Not only will Mount Fuji be closed over the entire 2020 climbing season, but many of the mountain huts and facilities will be off limits too.
However, you don’t have to hike to the summit to appreciate the mountain’s natural beauty, or to capture its essence on camera. In fact, there are many ways that you can view Mount Fuji without leaving Tokyo’s city limits. The mountain is easily visible from Tokyo on a clear day – but of course some vantage points are better than others.
From the SkyTree Observation Deck to the Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal, there are plenty of places where you can observe uninterrupted views of Mount Fuji from Tokyo. Here are our top 5 places to view Mount Fuji from the city:
5. The SkyTree Observation Deck
Although Mount Fuji is located to the west of Tokyo on the island of Honshu, its peak is readily viewable from the Tokyo SkyTree – the tallest manmade structure in Japan. One of the newest additions to the capital’s skyline, Tokyo Skytree soars 634 meters above the ground, offering up incredible panoramic views of the entire Kanto region. Without any other towers to obstruct your view, you can clearly see the mountain on a mild spring or summer day from the building’s Observation Deck.
It’s easy to reach the Tokyo SkyTree from the centre of the city – just take the Tobu Skytree Line from Asakusa, disembarking at Tokyo SkyTree Station. You’ll be dropped off right at the base of the tower complex, which doubles as the entrance to the Tokyo Solamachi shopping centre. The entrance and the ticket counters are located on the 4th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, with prices starting at ¥1,550 for access to the observation deck on floor 350 and ¥3,100 for access to the top deck on floor 450.
4. Roppongi Hills
A large development project in the centre of the city, Roppongi Hills is a mega-complex of offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés, and movie theatres, all arranged around several outdoor spaces. From the Roppongi Hills’ Tokyo City View Observation Deck, it’s possible to enjoy the amazing panorama which make up Shibuya and Shinjuku’s urban landscapes, while looking out towards Mount Fuji.
According to Roppongi Hills residents, the best time to visit is in the fall or the winter, where the view of Mount Fuji’s snow covered peak is at its most striking. You’ll need to purchase a ticket to enter the indoor Tokyo City View Observation Deck (from ¥1,800 onwards), and then a second entry pass for the outdoor Sky Deck (¥500), should you wish to stroll outside and take photographs without panes of glass hindering your shot.
3. Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal
You might be surprised to discover that one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from Tokyo is Haneda Airport’s International Passenger Terminal. There’s an observation deck located on the fifth floor, just a short walk from the check in desks. Not only will you be able to observe flights landing every few minutes, but the outline of Mount Fuji in the distance.
The view is said to be spectacular in the late evening, when the glittering Yokohama skylines add another dimension to the landscape in front of you. Should your flight just so happen to land at this time, or if you’re lucky enough to have a couple of hours to spare at the airport on your way home, try to head to the observation deck at Terminal 2 to savour the views of the majestic Mount Fuji.
2. The Observatory at Tokyo Tower
If you visit the Observatory at Tokyo Tower on a sunny day, you’ll likely be able to see the peak of Mount Fuji nested behind the rows and rows of skyscrapers. The iconic observation tower is located in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, and houses two main observation decks – one at 150 meters and the other at 250 meters. If you head there to catch sight of Mount Fuji, you’d be well advised to make your way to the top deck, and time your visit with the weather. Cloudy days should be avoided if you’re hoping to look out towards the island of Honshu!
Easily accessible from the Akabanebashi and Onarimon metro stations, the Tokyo Tower is open daily to tourists. Ticket prices start at ¥1,200 for the lower deck and ¥3,000 for the upper deck, but you can save a little money by booking online and in advance. The best time to visit is during the early evening – not only does the tower light up beautifully in an array of different colours, but you can also grab a quick meal at one of the many local restaurants at the tower’s base.
1. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Observation Deck
Don’t be fooled by the building’s very formal name; the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office is actually one of the best places to view the glorious Mount Fuji for free. The observation deck on the 45th floor offers fantastic views of the volcano, and there’s a cute little coffee shop at the top which charges very reasonable prices. The next time that you’re sightseeing in Shinjuku, and need a moment to rest your feet, why not stop by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office and sip on a hot cup of coffee while overlooking the city below?
The South Tower guarantees you a view of the mountain on a clear day, with scenic views at every turn. You will have to pass a quick security check, however the lines move quickly, and the speedy lifts up are closely monitored by the staff to prevent overcrowding. If you can, time your visit for the early evening to avoid the school groups, allowing you to explore the observation deck at a more peaceful pace.
This article was written by Alice, one half of the editorial team at Flying Sushii. For more inspiring and informative articles about Japan, you can visit the Flying Sushii website.
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