Peace Park・Ashino Lake・Oshino Hakkai・Owakudani!
Whether or not they have or haven’t visited Japan, every single person I know knows of the majestic Mt. Fuji. But what about the surrounding area?
Believe it or not the area surrounding Mt. Fuji is, as us Australians would say, is ‘chock-a-block’ full of interesting places!
In this installment I’m going to guide you through some areas around Fuji that are part of most of our tours that visit Mt. Fuji and the Hakone region.
Peace Park: 平和公園ーへいわこうえん
There are few things that will tug at your heart strings like one of the Japanese Peace Parks. There are three main peace parks, located in Nagasaki, Hiroshima
(Sites of the two atomic bombs dropped in WWII) and the lesser known Gotenba or Mt. Fuji Peace Park. This Park is slightly different from the other two
as it was a joint creation of, not just Japan but all the South East Asian Buddhist majority countries with the aim of promoting global peace and unity.
The Gotenba Peace Park is famous for its Dog statues that were donated from the previously mentioned Buddhist countries.
The design of these statues show both the great similarities and differences between these countries that have pitched in
together to create a symbol of peace and unity for future generations.
The Gotenba Peace Park is also famous for is breathtaking view of the famou Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is best seen during the Japanese
cherry Blossom season where you can get stunning photos of the blooming blossoms, the Gotenba shrines AND Mt. Fuji all
in one amazing shot!
Oshinohakkai: 忍野八海 － おしのはっかい
A short 30 minute drive from the Peace Park brings you to one of the hidden gems of the Hakkone area, Oshinohakkai.
Hidden away in the back country areas of Hakkone, Oshinohakkai is naturally occurring series of small ponds that are
continuously replenished with clear, fresh water from the surrounding mountains. The ponds go as deep as 8m and are
filled with a myriad of different Japanese fish.
Make sure that you bring your empty water bottles to fill up with clear, ice-cold, natural spring water at the little dragon statues!
The water is said to help cleanse your body and promote good health.
Besides the ponds there is a quaint souvenir shop that sells local produce, interesting Japanese snacks (such as pickled vegetables and
tofu) and hand made goods.
Ashi Lake：芦ノ湖 － あしのこ
Ashi Lake or Ashinoko is one of the ‘Fuji Five Lakes’ that dot the area around Mt. Fuji. Ashinoko is a crater lake surrounded by the
beautiful Hakkone mountains, green golf courses and natural hot springs.
Guests can ride on one of the numerous ferries and boats such as this beautiful old European style warship.
After taking a relaxing ride across Ashinoko’s clear blue waters, you can jump on a cable cart that leads its
way up the Kamiyama Mountain up to Owakudani.
Owakudani: 大涌谷 － おおわくだに
Owakudani roughly translated into ‘The Great Boiling valley’, is a mountain riddled with sulfurous hot springs that billow forth perpetual
plumes of steam! Ride up the Hakone Ropeway from Ashino Lake to the summit and revel in the beautiful view of Ashino Lakes crystal clear
water and even views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day!
Once at the top, walk up threw the volcanic fumes and watch the staff preparing their famous ‘Black Eggs’, boiled in the hot springs. For a small
fee you can try a black egg for yourself, or simply wander through the lovely souvenir shops and enjoy the view.