As green season shifts into high gear there’s no better time to hit the road and explore Japan. If you are in the Kanto area and looking for the perfect road trip with friends, the Fuji Loop is tough to beat.
This adventure-packed route is within easy striking distance from Tokyo and can be done over a couple days if you are short on time but want to pack a lot of fun into the weekend. As the name suggests, this route circumnavigates Mt. Fuji, so with a little luck you’ll get stellar views of the mountain no matter where you are on the road. Many people climb the iconic mountain in summer, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area.
Beat the Rush
Instead of battling traffic in Tokyo, jump on the bullet train and shoot straight out to Shin Fuji Station in just over an hour from Tokyo Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. From here rent a car from one of the many car rental shops around the station—Times, Nissan and Orix are all within walking distance from the station.
Bird’s Eye View of Fuji
Drive northwest towards Mt. Fuji and the Asagiri Highlands and stop by Sky Asagiri Paragliding. The paragliding courses are great for first timers, including a solo Challenge Course (solo paragliding) and the Tandem Course, where you launch from 300 meters. Both are half-day courses costing ¥10,000 per person (¥8,000 in winter). One of the instructors, Keiko Hiraki, is a two-time world champion in the women’s division of the Paragliding World Cup.
Sky Asagiri Paragliding
499 Fumoto, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka-ken 418-0109
Mt. Fuji is blessed with clear, fresh spring water, providing fertile grounds for local fish. Fuji Trout Farm raises nijimasu (rainbow trout) in these waters and guests can stroll the grounds while learning about rainbow trout, then fish for lunch (the staff will even clean the fish for you) and barbecue at the on-site barbecue areas.
Fuji Trout Farm
579-2 Inokashira, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka-ken 418-0108
After a full day, check in for the night at the Sun & Moon Hitsuki Club where you can either pitch your tent or stay in one of their comfortable glamping tents, domes or cabins. If you don’t feel like barbecuing you can enjoy a dinner at the club featuring local ingredients. Wake up to a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji from the deck where you can join sunrise yoga to start your day feeling great. Breakfast option is available as well.
A ten-minute drive away from Sun & Moon Hitsuki Club is Lake Tanuki, an artificial lake popular for boating, fishing, cycling and camping. Photographers can get an unobstructed view of “Diamond Fuji”—when the sun perfectly aligns over Mt. Fuji’s peak creating a diamond-like effect. This phenomenon happens one week around April and August 20 at 5 to 6 a.m.
Sun & Moon Hitsuki Club
2271 Inokashira, Fujinomiya-shi, Shizuoka-ken 418-0108
After a relaxing morning, get revved up for Fuji Speedway—one of Japan’s top motorsport racetracks. Built in the 1960s, Fuji Speedway has a long history of hosting world races including the FIA World Endurance Championship, Super GT and Super Formula, and the view of Mt. Fuji makes it a special place to race. The nearby Fuji Speedway Kart Circuit is a replica of the speedway where you can get a few laps in for only ¥1,500. You can also go tandem karting for ¥2,000.
694 Nakahinata, Oyama-cho, Sunto-gun, Shizuoka-ken 410-1307
Just when you thought your adrenaline was pumping—take it to another level at Fuji Bungy. Towering 54 meters over the Suzu Valley and Oodana Waterfall on one side and overlooking Fuji City on the other, Fuji Bungy is an unforgettable place to take a leap of faith and one of Bungy Japan’s newest locations. Professional English-speaking staff are available.
Oodana Waterfall, Hina, Fuji-shi, Shizuoka-ken 417-0847