Japan // Around Tokyo //

Kawaguchi-ko and around

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to commend the shabby lakeside resort of KAWAGUCHI-KO (河口湖), a couple of kilometres west of Fuji-Yoshida. With its cruise boats and crass souvenir shops, this is the tourist hub of the area and is often choked with traffic during the holiday season. However, the fabulous view of Mount Fuji and lake Kawaguchi-ko from the top of Tenjō-zan (天上山) makes a trip here worth the effort. You can either take a three-minute cable-car ride up to the lookout or get some exercise by hiking up, which takes around 45 minutes. Kawaguchi-ko’s other highlight is the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum (久保田一竹美術館), on the northern shore of the lake. Housed in a Gaudí-esque-style building, the museum holds the work of Kubota Itchiku, who has refined the traditional tsujigahana textile-patterning technique and applied it to kimono. Inside the pyramid-shaped building are pieces from the artist’s Symphony of Light series, a continuous mountain landscape through the seasons, formed when the kimono are placed side by side. The museum is some 4km west of the town and can be reached by bus from both Fuji-Yoshida and Kawaguchi-ko.

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