Fuji Shibazakura Festival | Fujikawaguchiko, Japan
Truly, journeying in Japan is never complete without seeing its most popular landmark, Mt. Fuji. But nothing comes close to daintiness than viewing her during the Fuji Shibazakura Festival.
Usually between the months of late April to May, gardens of pink phlox moss bloom around the areas near Lake Motosu. It is at this time of the year when Mt. Fuji stands on a carpet of about 800,000 bright ‘lil flowers in hues of pink, mauve & white. Bursting into a refreshing landscape, these sun-kissed posies create a panoramic spectacle of nature.
Fuji Shibazakura 2018: April 14-May 27
As much as the flowers on its garden are the people that come to witness this graceful festival. Expecting a huge crowd, my friend Mariko & I sped early from Tokyo to Yamanashi Prefecture. Getting there was already half the fun singing along Ayaka’s Nijiiro on the background. I have to admit that I was left in awe the moment Mt. Fuji first came into sight.
Mt. Fuji is hemmed around by 5 scenic lakes—Motosu, Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Sai & Shoji. It straddles between the prefectural borders of the Shizuoka Riviera & the charming Yamanashi. Driving there with Mariko was the perfect idea because we were able to go around the quaint town of Kawaguchiko. We also pulled over for a picnic by the lake with Mt. Fuji in the imposing background.
It was nearly lunchtime when we arrived at the Shibazakura Festival site. True enough, there was already a throng of tourists parading like busy ants around the colorful maze of flowers. But with their strong culture of order & politeness, it was no surprise that everyone was moving swiftly & quietly around the gardens.
These small blossoms of about 1.5 cm are special specie of phlox. They are creeper plants & look like cherry blossoms. It is called shiba-zakura or lawn cherries. It comes in brilliant red, shades of pink & graduated purple hues. There are also willowy whites & patterned petals.
Another attraction in the festival site was its happy food camping. Food trucks offered many delightful Japanese snacks that you can think of—from senbei (rice crackers), dorayaki pancakes, wasabi peas to Fujiyama cookies & what have-have-yous. Limited festival souvenir items were also on-sale like Shingen mochi rice cakes, Hoto stew & udon.
Mt. Fuji is picturesque all year round wherever you view it. In autumn, the golden leaves of maples create brilliant frames. In the bright summer months, the lush greens around the lake strike a fantastic contrast. During winter, it glistens with the magic of snowflakes. And in springtime the colors of the flowers around it exudes a refreshing feeling like no other.
It was a great day trip to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. Being there was like making a trip to a dreamy fantasyland. I am not a fan of Hello Kitty, but seriously, with all the pink color around you can’t help but think that indeed she too is an icon here.
How to Get There from Tokyo
- Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku to Otsuki Station. This trip takes about an hour. Fare is 2,770 Yen.
- Transfer to Fujikyuko Line to Kawaguchiko Station. Fare is 1,540 Yen.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, transfer to a shuttle going to the festival site. This takes 40 minutes more. Fare is 1,900.
- If you come on a weekend, take the direct train from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station. It costs about 3,000 Yen & runs for about 1 hour & 40 minutes.
- From Shinjuku Station, take Fujikyu bus direct to Kawaguchiko Station. It costs 2,200 Yen & runs longer for more than 2 hours.
- There is also a bus that plies between Tokyo Station & Kawaguchiko Station. It’s cheaper at 1,800 Yen but will take you almost 3 hours.
- Keio Bus from Shinjuku is cheaper at 1,750 Yen & runs also direct to Kawaguchiko for about 2 hours.