Explore the Chureito Pagoda

2 miles 500 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Michael Gabbert

Japan in a nutshell. At its core, the Chureito Pagoda view is classic Japan. With the Pagoda acting as a foreground to the epic Mount Fuji in the distance, the view is one of simplicty yet stunning beauty.

Exploring this classic Five-Storied Pagoda overlooking Fujiyoshida City and Mount Fuji does take some effort due to its distance from major metropolitan areas of Japan. Yet exploring the pagoda is a great day trip from Tokyo. There are a variety of ways to get there, each with different costs, timing, and predictability.

Rail (~2 hours):  Starting from Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo Express Line to the Otsuki Station (4 stops; 1 hour total). At Otsuki Station, take the Fukikyuko Line to the Shimoyoshida Station (13 stops; 45 mins). The total cost is around 3700 Yen. FYI, you’ll need to buy tickets at the Shinjuku station for the JR line and at the Otsuki station for the Fujikyuko ine,

Bus (~90 minutes): Starting from the Shinjuku Station, take the Shijuku Expressway Bus to the Central Doshimoyoshida Bus Stop (13 stops; 95 minutes). From there you’ll have a 10 minute walk to the Shimoyoshida Station. The total cost is around 1700 Yen. 

Car: Plug it in to your GPS :)

Once at the Shimoyoshida Station, the path towards the Chureito Pagoda is straightforward. Along with the ability to see the Pagoda on the hill to the northwest of the station, there are also directional signs every 100 yards or so pointing you the right way. The hike from the station can take 15-25 minutes depending on your pace.

Upon reaching the base of the area, you’ll encounter 400-450 stairs which will bring you to the top. A more gradual path is also present for those who don’t want to deal with stairs, but this is a less direct and longer path to reach the top. 

At the top, the viewpoint is obvious. It sits 20 feet above and directly behind the Pagoda. There are additional areas to explore around the Pagoda but the viewpoint is by far the highlight. Take a seat, soak it in, and enjoy.

The area and view can differ greatly based on the time of year and time of the day you visit. If your schedule allows, get there 2 hours before sunset and stay until it sets. The crowds will clear out as the day goes on and on a clear day, the colors of the sunset and the reflection on Mount Fuji are spectacular. Additionally, if you can time your visit with the Cherry Blossom bloom in April you’ll have an even more epic view ahead of you (but likely larger crowds as well).

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