A bed of pink and green against the stunning Mt. Fuji horizon. Oh Japan, you never cease to amaze me.
Yes, I know, I was just in Japan last November, but there is something so mesmerizing about the land of the rising sun that I simply can’t resist its charms. To celebrate my birthday this year, I met up with my parents in Tokyo in May and we couldn’t have picked a better time to visit.
What is Fuiji Shibazakura?
The Fuji Shibazakura Festival is an annual flower festival that takes place mid-April to end of May in Fujikawaguchiko, Japan. There are approximately 800,000 shibazakura (moss phlox or pink moss) that bloom at the base of Mt. Fuji thus making this a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
The term “shibazakura” can be translated into English as “lawn cherry”. Its name came about from its resemblance to cherry blossoms and moss phlox being a creeper plant, it covers the ground like a lawn.
Tickets are 600 yen (~$7 CAD) per person for adults and 250 yen for children 3 or older. Parking on site costs 500 yen for standard vehicles, 2,000 yen for large vehicles, and 300 yen for motor bikes. I highly recommend taking shuttles however. The lot can fill up pretty quickly and note that Japan is a left-hand traffic country. As someone from North America, it may be a quite a challenge getting used to. Car rentals in Japan aren’t particularly cheap either so save yourself the trouble and take public transportation.
We stayed at a hotel in Fujiyoshida just minutes from Kawaguchiko Station. That said, we were already in the area. For those planning to come from elsewhere further say Tokyo for example, Kawaguchiko Station is the nearest station to the festival.
At the station, you can purchase shuttle tickets for the Shibazakura Liner. This takes you directly from the station to the festival with no stops in between (30 minutes give or take one way). Tickets are 2,000 yen (~$23 CAD) for adults and 1,000 yen for children ages 3-12. This includes round-trip transportation with admission to the festival.
The park opens at 8am so we took the earliest shuttle at 7:50 and arrived around 8:20. Let me tell you, it was jam packed already. Usually I’d suggest early visits to avoid crowds, but definitely not the case here. I say if you have a pretty relaxed schedule, sleep in and take your time!
Below is a schedule of the Shibazakura Liner and more information can be found on the festival website.
The park is quite big and walking shoes are preferred. The shuttle dropped us off at entrance #2, which I’d say is much closer to the main pink moss action. We looped around the Ryujin-ike Pond and at this point I was starting to get anxious that Mt. Fuji was nowhere to be seen. The skies were a bit hazy and naturally I thought we came on a bad day. We obviously didn’t study the park map but I’ve labelled where I think the best views of Fuji-san are down below.
Not as many pink moss here but you get a nice view of Mt. Fuij and the lovely pond. The pond and surrounding fields are also fenced off, which means there won’t be random people in your shots – or at least they won’t be as visible 😉
When the sun’s so bright your small Asian eyes are non-existent.
Here is where you really get that nice framing with the pop of pink against the blue Mt. Fuji. You still see the pond but compared to #1 however, taking photos here can be trickier since you get a lot of people moving in the background between paths.
Aside from taking photos, I urge you to check out the Panorama Café where you can enjoy a little snack and sit and relax in front of this gorgeous scenery.
And if you are hungry, there are food stands as well (more info here). Also don’t forget that there are souvenir shops too located along the exit so you can grab some specialty treats on your way out and not have to worry about carrying them around the park.
Now I myself have never heard about this festival until I was looking up things to do for my trip. Needless to say we were definitely vey lucky to have been able to make it and I strongly suggest paying a visit if you are in Japan in April/May. We only had about 4 days in Japan hence we were on a tight schedule but I’d say you need at least half a day here. There was the whole other side of the park near entrance 1 that we didn’t even get to explore and with festivals like this, you really need to take the leisure to stroll through the park and enjoy mother nature.
Gonna concludes this week’s blog post with a couple more pictures. Don’t forget to sign up for newsletters and I will see you next Saturday!