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Exploring Mt. Fuji’s Foothills

When planning a ride in the Mt. Fuji area, most cyclists think about the hard climb up to go-gome (the fifth station) or charting a full circle around Japan’s iconic mountain. While there surely is an allure to these challenging rides, there is more to see and feel if you avoid the high road and explore the local roads and pathways instead.

Start your journey at Kawaguchiko Station on the Fujikyuko Line, and crank along the shores of Kawaguchiko and Saiko Lakes before submerging into the jukai (sea of trees) on Prefectural Road 71. Continue and turn right as you descend onto National Route 139 before a stop at the Asagiri Kogen highland roadside station. From there, go south on Route 139 until you hit a fork about three-and-a-half kilometers down the road. Take a right here and you’ll see a Family Mart convenience store on the left. This area is called Inokashira and is best known for the charming Jinba no Taki waterfall, as well as spring water that irrigates the surrounding wasabi fields. It’s fun to search your map for new routes and visit places like Odanuki Wetlands and Tanukiko (Tanuki Lake).

Cruising down along the Shibakawa River, you will ride by irrigation channels flowing into rice paddies; the scenery is especially beautiful in spring. The route is mostly a gradual descent except for a hill just before arriving at Fujinomiya. 

You can finish the trip here or stay in Fujinomiya and enjoy some local eats, such as Fujinomiya yakisoba noodles, before getting back on the road.

If you opt for another day of cycling, start the day by visiting Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha, the head shrine of the Asama and Sengen sects near Mount Fuji and beyond. To the east, Wakutama Springs’ clear waters are a must see, before riding along the Kandagawa and Uruigawa Rivers to Yoshiwara Station. Continue further south to Tagonoura Beach, where a coastline ride of about twenty kilometers ends in Numazu.

After a stop at the fishing port for some fresh seafood, and perhaps sneaking into Baird Beer’s Fishmarket Taproom for a quick beer, head for the Mishima via Kakitagawa Springs Park. In summer, children play along the waterfront where streams flow into the sea. From Mishima Station you can take an easy train ride back on a Shinkansen (bullet train) or the Tokaido Line.

Distance: Day 1: 56 kilometers, Day 2: 40 kilometers

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