Viewing the Magical Diamond Fuji

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4001442688_0bec7e6ddb_oDiamond Fuji is a twice annually phenomenon during which the sunrise and sunset aligns perfectly with Mount Fuji’s summit, looking for all the world like a bright shining jewel placed atop the nation’s crown. There are many great places from which you can witness this startling sunset in Tokyo and the surrounding areas (to see sunrise you need to be west of the mountain), and thousands of people will try to find the best vantage points to bask in this magical event. Below are just a handful of ideas to get you going.

You can see dates and best dates to visit on this site, www.garyjwolff.com…

Sunshine City Observatory

The observatory on the 60th floor of Tokyo’s onetime tallest building offers stunning, 360-degree views of the city, and as such is the ideal place for those of you hoping to catch the sunset over Mt. Fuji (at around 16:50). It costs 620 JPY to get to the top and, as long as it is a clear day, you should have a great view of the mountain.

Address: 3-1-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-0013,

How to get there: 10 minute walk from Ikebukuro station, accessible from various lines.

Further information: http://www.sunshinecity.co.jp/english/

Roppongi Hills Observation Deck

Another popular viewing place for Tokyoans unwilling or unable to escape the city, the observation deck atop the 54 story Roppongi Hills Mori Tower also gives excellent views of the city and surrounding area, thus making it a perfect location for Diamond Fuji spotting. Please note that Tokyo City View on the 52nd floor, usually the optimum viewing area in the Roppongi Hills complex, is closed until April 28.

Address: 6 Chome-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-6108

How to get there: 6 minute walk from Roppongi Station.

Further information: Tel: +81 3-6406-6000

Panoramic Viewing Platform in Hirano

Yamanakako, 90 minutes outside of the city and in the shadow of Fujisan itself, is a picturesque option for taking in the Diamond Fuji experience. There are many places around the lake from which to see it, with the pick of the bunch being the Panoramic Viewing Platform in Hirano. It’s not the most accessible of locations, being 30 minutes from Fujikyoku, but it is the ideal place to witness the Double Diamond effect, with the mountain and sun both reflected in the lake below. Truly magnificent. Also, weather permitting; you may be treated to a view of Japan’s Southern Alps.

Address: Parking Lot along north-heading prefectural road 147 (see map for details)

How to get there: 30 minute taxi from Fujisan Station (JR Train from Tokyo to Otsuki followed by Fujikyu Railway); 20 minutes taxi from Yamanakako bus station (served by Shinjuku or Tokyo Stations); 1hr 45 mins by car, Tomei Expressway to Oimatsuda, change to 255, west on 246, and north on 147

Further information: Yamanakako Tourist info: http://www.yamanakako.gr.jp/

Yamanakako water park

For more lakeside viewing you could head to the Yamanakako water park. While it will still be a bit too chilly to engage in any water sports there, the placid lake provides another excellent opportunity for viewing the ‘Double Diamond’ effect. There is an observation deck at the lakeside with a telescope, but it goes without saying that it’s not to be used to look at the sunset. Not if you want to keep your retinas that is.

Address: North lakeside of Yamanakako, along Marimo dori (See map for details)

How to get there: 20 minute taxi from Fujisan Station (JR Train from Tokyo to Otsuki followed by Fujikyu Railway); 10 minutes taxi from Yamanakako bus station (served by Shinjuku or Tokyo Stations); 1hr 30 mins drive taking Chou Expressway, east onto Higashi-Fuji-Goko road to Yamanakako, followed by the 138 and then Marimo dori.

Further information: Yamanakako Tourist info: http://www.yamanakako.gr.jp/

Hotel Green Plaza Hakone

Perhaps the thought of standing outside in the cold on chilly nights doesn’t exactly drive you wild? Well, how about taking a more luxurious option, and head to the Hotel Green Plaza on Mt. Hakone. This sumptuous onsen hotel has open air baths with views of Mt. Fuji, so you can happily soak in the hot springs as you watch the sun fall behind the iconic mountain. Being further south than Tokyo, Diamond Fuji viewing dates may differ slightly. Confirm with hotel staff for exact dates before arrival.

Address: 1244-2 Sengokuhara, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0631

How to get there: JR to Gotemba, 30 mins Taxi; by car take the Tomei Expressway to Gotemba IC then route 138

Further information: +81 460-84-8611 http://www.hgp.co.jp/language/english/sp/

 

By Mark Guthrie

Image: flickr.com “Diamond Fuji by Maki_C30D (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified

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