by Şenol Hasan, JAPAN Forward

When you think of Japan, what comes to mind? Thousands of people scrambling across Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo? The beautiful temples and shrines in Kyoto?

Japan is synonymous with many sights, but perhaps none as iconic as Mount Fuji.

Throughout the centuries, numerous stories and legends have added to the sacrality of Mount Fuji and led to the mountain becoming an object of faith for the Japanese people.

Despite being Japan’s highest peak, what truly separates Fuji from almost every other mountain is the fact that it is virtually symmetrical. In addition, for almost nine months of the year, Mount Fuji’s cone is covered in snow, creating a striking image that has been a source of inspiration for artists for centuries.

During these nine months, you may not be able to climb Mount Fuji, but you can capture stunning photographs of her. And one of the best places to do this is Yamanashi Prefecture.

There is one caveat, however. On a cloudy day Mount Fuji is often not visible, so be sure to visit Yamanashi on a day when the skies are clear.

That being said, the weather around Mount Fuji can change dramatically from morning to afternoon, so fear not if you can’t see the mountain at first. As long as the weather is not completely overcast, you should get a view of Mount Fuji at some point during the day. Even if she has clouds around her, it will only help to create a more atmospheric image.

The Five Lakes

There are five lakes at the northern base of Mount Fuji, and each offers a unique view of the mountain.

Lake Kawaguchiko is the most accessible of the five lakes and its location makes it a great day trip from Tokyo. A bus or train from Tokyo will take you to Kawaguchiko Station, which is just a short walk from the lake itself and where you can enjoy views of Mount Fuji for free.

If you would like an extra special view of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchiko, there is another option. By the lake you can purchase a combined ticket for a boat ride that takes you around Lake Kawaguchiko and entitles you to a ride up the Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway. The ropeway puts you on top of another mountain which is parallel to Fuji and is a great place to take pictures, videos, or even a timelapse.

Lake Kawaguchiko is by far the most popular of the lakes. But if you have time, Lake Yamanakako, Lake Saiko, Lake Motosuko, and Lake Shojiko are all easily accessible by bus or car and are definitely worth a visit. Lake Motosuko is particularly famous as it offers the view of Mount Fuji that inspired the design of the ¥1000 JPY bill.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.