Jutting out of the horizon, often crowned with a celestial cap of snow, Mount Fuji is the king of Japan’s scenic sights. Radiating an air of tranquility, this active volcano has enticed and entranced all who’ve seen it for millennia — especially since the advent of Tokyo’s skyscrapers. Making the pilgrimage out of the city to the mountain itself provides for a concentrated sense of serenity as well as some unparalleled views. But there’s more to this area than the summit. Whether you’re looking to add to your Fuji visit with accompanying pit stops, or just want to take in the sights without hiking a mountain, here are some of the fascinating things to do around Mount Fuji.
Steeped in history, Sunpu Castle is where shogun Tokugawa leyasu spent most of his storied life. While many of the original structures are no more due to the fires and earthquakes of the last several centuries, faithful recreations help preserve the timelessness of the grounds. The moat and walls, however, are original. No matter what part of the park catches your eye, the entirety of this oasis has a penchant for providing engaging strolls.
Just down the street from Sunpu Castle is the Shizuoka Sengen Shrine. A complex actually comprised of three different, major shrines — Sengen jinja, Ohtoshimioya Jinja and Kambe Jinja — the aggregate 26 individual structures are a living time capsule. While the swords, armor suits and artifacts on display at the onsite museum are certain to captivate, it’s the locale itself that steals the show: The grounds’ Momoyama-style architecture and décor contrasted with the backdrop of trees and Mount Fuji solidify its place as one of the most fascinating things to do in the area.
Another shrine you’d be wise to visit while in the Mount Fuji area would be Kunōzan Tōshō-gū. The burial place for the aforementioned shogun Tokugawa leyasu, the shrine complex’s location on Mount Kuno is more than a peaceful resting place — it’s an enchanting day trip. Venturing here on foot will see you scaling 1,159 fabled stone steps, with cool sea breeze and stunning views keeping you company every step of the way. For those less inclined to ascend stairs, the ropeway connected to Nihondaira Plateau is a breezy five-minute ride. Either way, the destination is just as rewarding as the journey: The ever-regal Romon Gate, the museum of his belongings and the mausoleum itself will steal your breath and run away with your imagination.
Narusawa Hyoketsu isn’t a shrine in the conventional sense, but it qualifies as one of the most fascinating things to do around Mount Fuji. You see, where there are volcanoes (Mount Fuji), there are bound to be caves created from volcanic activity. Narusawa Hyoketsu (translated as “Ice Cave”) is one of the largest in the area. Situated between Mount Fuji and the edge of the Aokigahara forest, you’ll descend past the cave’s opening and down a 70-foot staircase to reach the cavern floor itself, which is filled with naturally forming ice. Between the icicle stalagmites and stalactites, and the way the light seems to turn ethereal passing through them, it’s easy to feel like this natural cave should be a shrine to something.
Ready to delve into the wonders and scenic sights of Mount Fuji? Give one of our travel agents a call. Not only are they full of insights like the ones above, but also they’re equipped with exclusive perks and amenities through their professional relationships. Enjoying the many wonders of Japan makes for a good getaway, but enjoying them in addition to the luxe accommodations of Norwegian Cruise Line makes for an unforgettable getaway.