Fuji-Hakone-Izu Overview

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, established in 1936, is one of Japan’s most iconic and diverse national parks, spanning across the Yamanashi, Shizuoka, and Kanagawa Prefectures, and extending into the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Covering an expansive area of approximately 1,227 square kilometers (about 474 square miles), the park is a spectacular collection of natural wonders, including Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak and an enduring symbol of the country’s natural beauty.

The park is divided into four major areas: the Fuji area, known for Mount Fuji and the five surrounding lakes; the Hakone area, famous for its hot springs, volcanic islands, and views of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashi; the Izu Peninsula, with its rugged coastline, scenic beaches, and marine life; and the Izu Islands, which offer spectacular diving spots and the chance to observe unique volcanic landscapes.

Mount Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage site within the park, is a nearly perfectly shaped volcano that has been worshiped as a sacred mountain and has inspired artists and poets for centuries.  It is also one of the official natural wonders of Japan.

The surrounding five lakes (Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, and Motosuko) offer numerous recreational activities, from boating and fishing to hiking and camping, with breathtaking views of the mountain.

The Hakone area is a geothermal wonderland, with sulphurous vents, hot springs, and the Owakudani Valley, where visitors can experience the area’s volcanic activity up close. The Izu Peninsula and Izu Islands boast beautiful beaches, clear waters, and warm climates, making them popular destinations for snorkeling, diving, and relaxation.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park offers a unique blend of cultural significance and natural beauty, providing visitors with a wide range of experiences from climbing the iconic Mount Fuji to relaxing in the hot springs of Hakone and exploring the marine biodiversity of the Izu Islands. This diverse national park showcases the stunning variety of Japan’s landscapes, making it a must-visit for nature lovers, outdoor adventurers, and anyone interested in the natural heritage of Japan.

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Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park Highlights

Iconic Japan

Mount Fuji, Japan’s iconic symbol and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands majestically at 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) above sea level, dominating the landscape of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

This legendary stratovolcano, with its perfectly symmetrical cone, has captivated travelers and artists for centuries with its beauty and grandeur.

Visitors to the park can embark on a pilgrimage to Mount Fuji’s summit, a challenging yet rewarding trek that offers unparalleled views of the surrounding landscapes and the shimmering waters of Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Yamanaka below.

The mountain’s distinct seasons, from the cherry blossom blooms in spring to the vibrant foliage in autumn, provide ever-changing vistas that inspire awe and wonder.

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, numerous trails wind through lush forests and meadows, offering glimpses of cascading waterfalls, serene lakes, and traditional Japanese villages.

Whether admired from afar or climbed to its summit, Mount Fuji is a timeless symbol of Japan’s natural beauty and spiritual significance, drawing visitors from around the world to behold its majestic presence in the heart of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.


The Fuji-Hakone-Izu region, nestled in Japan’s Honshu Island, is teeming with diverse wildlife, beyond its iconic avian inhabitants.

Among the most renowned species is the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata), or snow monkey, known for its distinctive red faces and hot spring bathing behavior.

Here is a quick glimpse into several other popular or intriguing species:

Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata): As noted above, they are known for their red faces and hot spring bathing behavior, Japanese macaques are highly social primates found in various habitats across Japan, including forests and mountains.

Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus): These sure-footed ungulates are often found on mountainsides, featuring a rugged appearance with thick fur and distinctive backward-curving horns.

Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus): This captivating amphibian inhabits the region’s rivers, known for its large size, mottled skin, and unique appearance reminiscent of prehistoric creatures.

Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus): Roaming the forests of the region, the Japanese black bear is a subspecies of the Asian black bear, characterized by its black fur and crescent-shaped chest patch.

Sika deer (Cervus nippon): Graceful deer commonly seen in the woodlands, Sika deer are known for their spotted coats and distinctive calls during mating season.

Izu goby (Gymnogobius isaza): This fish species thrives in the region’s waterways, featuring a slender body and vibrant coloring, often found in freshwater rivers and streams.

Japanese freshwater crab (Geothelphusa dehaani): These crabs are a common sight in the rivers of the region, characterized by their small size, burrowing behavior, and intricate shell patterns.

Japanese raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus): Often spotted foraging in forests, Japanese raccoon dogs are small canids with distinctive facial markings and a bushy tail.

Japanese marten (Martes melampus): A small mammal seen in forested areas, the Japanese marten has a sleek body, sharp claws, and a carnivorous diet primarily consisting of small rodents.

Japanese grass lizard (Takydromus tachydromoides): This reptile species is commonly found in the region, featuring a slender body, long tail, and the ability to quickly dart through grassy habitats.

Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica): Large hornet species present in the area, known for their aggressive behavior and potent sting, making them both feared and respected in local ecosystems


Mount Fuji and the surrounding area are renowned for its iconic and picturesque landscapes.  However, it is also a haven for a variety of bird species.  Here is a look at some of the more popular and hopeful sightings:

Japanese bush warbler (Horornis diphone): A small, inconspicuous bird often heard but not easily seen in the park’s forests, known for its melodious song.

Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus): Commonly found in woodlands and gardens, this small bird has distinctive white eye-rings and feeds on nectar and insects.

Japanese green pigeon (Treron sieboldii): A colorful bird with vibrant green plumage and a distinctively patterned neck, often seen in wooded areas feeding on fruits and seeds.

Japanese wood pigeon (Columba janthina): Larger than the green pigeon, this species is known for its gentle cooing and is found in forests and mountainous regions.

Japanese pygmy woodpecker (Yungipicus kizuki): A small woodpecker species commonly encountered in wooded areas, often heard drumming on trees in search of insects.

Japanese tit (Parus minor): These energetic birds are widespread in the park, recognizable by their yellow underparts and black head markings, often seen in trees and shrubs.

Brown-headed thrush (Turdus chrysolaus): A migratory bird that visits the park in winter, characterized by its brown head and spotted breast, often foraging on the ground for insects and berries.

Japanese wagtail (Motacilla grandis): This striking bird with its black and white plumage and long, wagging tail is commonly seen near streams and rivers, feeding on aquatic insects.

Japanese robin (Larvivora akahige): A small bird with a distinctive red breast, often spotted in forests and woodland edges, known for its sweet, melodious song.

Japanese sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis): A raptor species found in wooded areas, known for its agility in flight and sharp talons, preying on smaller birds and mammals in the park’s diverse habitats

Capturing the Essence of Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the most popular attraction within the national park.  Here are some of the best places to capture the most iconic and picturesque images of the famous mountain:

Lake Kawaguchi: Offers a stunning reflection of Mount Fuji on calm days, with vibrant autumn foliage in fall, making it one of the most picturesque spots to capture the iconic volcano’s beauty.

Chureito Pagoda: A classic view of Mount Fuji framed by cherry blossoms in spring, the pagoda’s tiered structure provides a traditional Japanese backdrop to the majestic peak.

Lake Ashi: Enjoy a serene boat ride with Mount Fuji as the backdrop, especially breathtaking during sunrise or sunset when the volcano’s silhouette is reflected in the tranquil waters of the lake.

Shimoyoshida Station: Capture a postcard-perfect view of Mount Fuji with a red torii gate and train tracks in the foreground, offering a unique blend of traditional and modern Japanese scenery.

Hakone Ropeway: Experience panoramic vistas of Mount Fuji and the surrounding landscape from the aerial viewpoint of the ropeway, providing a bird’s-eye perspective of the majestic peak and its scenic surroundings.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park Pictures

Engaging Fuji-Hakone-Izu

Rejuvenation Awaits

Relaxation awaits in the region’s natural hot springs, known as onsen. The region represents a cultural Japanese experience.

Visitors can indulge in therapeutic baths while surrounded by stunning scenery, whether it’s nestled within a mountainside ryokan or overlooking tranquil lakes and verdant valleys.

Waves and Wonders

A leisurely boat cruise on Lake Ashi or Lake Kawaguchi offers unparalleled views of Mount Fuji towering over crystal-clear waters. Passengers can soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, dotted with lush greenery, quaint villages, and historic landmarks.

It is a great way to engage a different facet of nature while discovering new picturesque views of the striking Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s natural wonders.

Heritage at the Feet of a Wonder

Delve into Japan’s rich cultural heritage with visits to ancient shrines, traditional tea houses, and museums showcasing art, crafts, and local traditions.

Visitors can partake in tea ceremonies, explore historic sites, and savor authentic Japanese cuisine.  While engaging Mount Fuji and the surrounding national park, there are multiple opportunities to partake of the local Japanese customs and culture.

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park Trails

Mount Fuji Yoshida Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: Approximately 19 kilometers round trip with an elevation gain of about 1,400 meters.

Description: The Yoshida Trail is the most popular route for climbing Mount Fuji, starting from Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station.

Hikers will experience a challenging ascent with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The trail is well-marked and offers huts for rest. Climbing season is early July to early September, with the summit offering a spectacular sunrise view, known as “Goraiko.”

Hakone Round Course

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, but the full loop can be about 20 kilometers, combining walking with public transport.

Description: This trail offers a unique combination of hiking, cable cars, ropeways, and boat rides around Hakone. Highlights include views of Lake Ashi, Owakudani volcanic valley, and on clear days, Mount Fuji.

It’s a scenic and leisurely way to explore the diverse landscapes of Hakone, including hot springs, historic sites, and the famous torii gate on the lake.

Izu Peninsula Coastal Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, with sections up to 10 kilometers along the coast.

Description: The Izu Peninsula offers stunning coastal walks with views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and hidden beaches.

Trails along the Jogasaki Coast are particularly scenic, featuring suspension bridges, lighthouses, and volcanic rock formations.

Hikers can enjoy the natural beauty of the coastline, explore sea caves, and spot local wildlife.

Oyama Afuri Shrine Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: About 5 kilometers one way, with an elevation gain of about 500 meters.

Description: This trail leads to the Afuri Shrine on Mount Oyama, offering panoramic views of the Kanto Plain and Sagami Bay.

The path winds through dense forests, past waterfalls, and along streams. The shrine at the summit is known for its water, believed to bring good fortune.

The hike is a spiritual journey, blending natural beauty with cultural significance.

Mishima Skywalk and Surrounding Trails

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: The Skywalk itself is 400 meters long; surrounding trails vary in length and difficulty.

Description: While not a hike in the traditional sense, the Mishima Skywalk offers breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and Suruga Bay.

Adjacent to the skywalk are several walking trails through the forested areas, providing a peaceful and scenic walking experience.

These trails are suitable for all ages and offer a unique perspective of the natural beauty surrounding Mount Fuji and the Hakone area.


1. When is the best time to visit Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park?

The best time to visit Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is mild, and the park is adorned with cherry blossoms or colorful foliage.

Avoid the rainy season in June and July and the typhoon season in August, which can disrupt travel plans and outdoor activities.

2. Are there any restrictions or permits required to climb Mount Fuji?

Climbing Mount Fuji typically requires no permits or fees, but there might be some restrictions or regulations in place, such as designated climbing seasons and trail closures during winter.

It’s essential to check with local authorities or park management for the latest information on climbing conditions, safety guidelines, and any required permits or restrictions before planning your ascent.

3. When is the best time to see Cherry blossoms or fall foliage?

The best time to see cherry blossoms around Mount Fuji is usually from late March to early April during the spring season.

For autumn foliage, the peak viewing time is typically in November.

However, exact timing can vary depending on weather conditions and the specific location around Mount Fuji.

It’s advisable to check local forecasts and updates closer to your visit for the most accurate information on cherry blossom and autumn foliage viewing times.

4. What are the best hot spring (onset) resorts near Mount Fuji?

Some popular onsen (hot spring) resorts near Mount Fuji include:

  1. Hakone: Known for its numerous hot spring resorts and scenic views of Mount Fuji.
  2. Kawaguchiko: Offers picturesque views of Mount Fuji and several onsen resorts.
  3. Yamanakako: Another lakeside resort area with hot spring facilities and views of Mount Fuji.
  4. Atami: Located on the Izu Peninsula, Atami is a seaside resort town famous for its hot springs.
  5. Ito: Also on the Izu Peninsula, Ito is renowned for its natural hot springs and coastal scenery.

These resorts offer a relaxing retreat with soothing hot spring baths and stunning views of Mount Fuji and the surrounding landscapes.

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