Mt. Fuji Circumnavigation

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
435
103
Tokyo
#1
Early in Golden Week this year, Naomi-san and I decided to do a couple of days cycling near Mt Fuji and the 5 lakes. Luckily for me, the Friday before Golden Week was a Company holiday, so we were able to leave Tokyo on Friday and avoid the hellish traffic jams that begin as soon as the official holiday starts :)
Our plan was to have an easy, cruisy first day and then on the second day, complete a circumnavigation of Fuji-san. This route was recommended in the "10 of the best rides" book, and we planned to follow the suggested course almost exactly.
Our easy day was just that, we did a quick loop of Yamanaka-ko, stopping many times along the way for photos. Most of the lakeshore has a smooth cycling road, wide enough to zip along nicely.
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We stopped for a while to play with the swans...
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And Naomi-san got this great shot of one with Fuji-san....
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We had time for a visit to a local onsen and just as dusk was falling, we drove back to the lake for a sunset view of Mt. Fuji

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We returned to the pension where we were staying, and had a delicious dinner made from all local ingredients from Yamanashi-ken, except for some salmon, which came "from the sea" according to the owner! Her little daughter Moe-chan was very interested in us and kept us entertained by playing the piano, drawing, climbing up parts of the building :D I think she had not seen many foreigners before.

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The next morning was bright and sunny, although the air was still cold, as Yamanakako is at 1,000 m elevation. After breakfast, we were soon ready to go. Naomi-san suggested we run the loop clockwise, the opposite direction from suggested in the guide book, since the road to Gotemba gets really busy during the holidays. This turned out to be a great choice, as the trafffic was already building on the Gotemba road (we were able to slip by on the path) but the rest of the way we were never balked by traffic at all :)
Doing the ride this way round meant we started with about 10km of smooth downhill, which was a fun start to the ride! Navigation was simple, just keeping Fuji-san on our right meant we were heading in the right direction.
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The road around the south side of Fuji was really varied, from the mountain pass terrain coming down from Yamanakako, through open pasture and then into a Japanese Cedar forest.
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We passed by Fuji Children's world which had these fantstic stone heads outside the entrance
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The highlight of the loop, for me, was our stop at Shiraitonotaki falls. These are a spectacular set of waterfalls, some from surface water and some bursting out from porous rock. It is a truly spectacular area. There were plenty of people around but we were still able to get up close to the falls and feel the spray.
Rainbow formed by spray:
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Looking skinny :cool:
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Base of the falls
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Naomi at the falls
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We stopped for a light lunch of roast sweetcorn followed up by ice cream and cappucinos, truly a civilised lunch-break!

From the falls at Shiraitonotaki, we were faced with the longest climb of the loop, with 20km of uphill. Fortunately the gradient was gentle and the wind was blowing us up the hill. It was still a long drag, but we made it to the summit at Zyukai lookout.
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A long, long downhill followed; the roads were still quite empty and we zoomed down towards Saiko before skirting its south shore.

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We were flying along around the snaking curves with a strong following wind...
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At the east end of Saiko lake, Kawaguchiko began almost immediately, and the road followed the northen shoreline. We could see people boating, fishing and windsurfing.

We managed to avoid most of the busy roads through Fujiyoshida city, and had enough energy for a final lap of Yamanakako, going the opposite direction from our short tour the previous day.

We arrived at the end of the ride early enough for a second visit to the onsen to loosen up our muscles, and stuck around there for supper which was a local speciality called Houtou. It certainly was "hot-o", but also very tasty with local mushrooms and vegetables.

All in all, a superb ride and highly recommended.
 
Likes: Karl

Yasuhiro

Speeding Up
Jan 20, 2007
66
6
28
Tokyo
#2
Alan and Naomi-san, it is a great report for a great route! I really want to ride around Mt. Fuji someday after I read this post. Actually, I have never ridden there. "10 of the best rides" seems to a must book to buy. The pictures of Mr. Fuji you took are too beautiful (above and below beautiful Naomi-san!). I would like to show them to my colleagues here in Germany. At least most of they know Sushi and Fuji-san about Japan.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,514
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#3
Nice trip and photos. Did you see the view of Mt Fuji from Saiko as well? I heard it is the one on the 5000 yen note. Everywhere down near there is good for cycling and relaxing...can't go wrong much.
 

Naomi

Maximum Pace
Apr 20, 2007
201
6
48
Tokyo
#5
That was an absolutely gorgeous view of the Mt Fuji. We were so lucky that we could see the Mt Fuji all day long from any direction without clouds :)
 
May 22, 2007
3,587
1,404
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#13
Happy to see Naomi is still rocking the Terry.
Discussion in 'Vox Populi (formerly blogs)' started by AlanW, May 3, 2009.
For a scenic trip, definitely worth dipping down to Saiko and then going through the tunnel and around the North shore of Kawaguchi-ko.
Oooh yes. It certainly is nice around the lakes. I've done that as a separate trip before heading down to Minobu, but not as part of a Fuji loop. I don't recall it being congested but that might have been sheer luck.
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
435
103
Tokyo
#14
Happy to see Naomi is still rocking the Terry. Nice ride, great views and useful info' .
That was a while ago.....the Terry was sold to another TCC member. It was a good bike though; hopefully still doing good service somewhere. Route 139 between Kawaguchiko and Yamanakako can get very crowded (it's also uphill in the direction we rode) so I try to avoid it during busy times.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,658
477
103
Japan
#15
Ha ha, I totally never looked at the OP date,it also explains why I thought you looked a lot younger!. She's on a Colnago now right. Thanks for the info all the same.
 

inocima

Warming-Up
Jul 23, 2018
3
8
3
37
Kanagawa-ken, Japan
#16
This is an old thread, but I wanted to say thanks anyway as it helped me a lot when planning for this ride.

I rode from Atsugi then followed the route posted by Half-Fast Mike and back, for a total of 200km last Monday.

The roads around Mt. Fuji were fine, just getting to Gotemba and back is not recommended during weekdays, as there is too much heavy truck traffic on the 246 and in the 10km between Yamakita-cho and Oyama-cho, the road gets narrow, so it’s impossible to fit 2 trucks going in opposite directions and a road bike at the same time in a safe manner.