Photographing Mt. Fuji from Yamanashi Prefecture

Jan 14 | Evan | No Comments |

If you had some time to already look through Japan Photo Guide’s past photography tours of Japan, you probably noticed that he has many beautiful photos of Mt. Fuji at Fuji Five Lakes. As you might have already guessed, Fuji Five Lakes are the lakes around Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture, which are known for the outstanding locations to see and photograph the mountain. In this article, let’s discuss photographing Mt. Fuji from the Yamanashi Prefecture and let’s find out what’s so special about touring and capturing the beauty of Japan in Yamanashi. 

Fuji Five Lakes

As introduced already, Fuji Five Lakes are the lakes around Mt. Fuji, which stretches over the northern side of the mountain on the Yamanashi Prefecture. These lakes include Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanashiko, Shojiko, and Mototsuko and are said to be the best places to view Mt. Fuji as well as photographing the mountain. Japan Photo Guide’s photography tours also visit the Fuji Five Lakes almost annually where he and his guests can photograph stunning images of the mountain. Just look at the photograph he captured at one of the lakes at Kawaguchiko below. Yes, you can photograph a beautiful reflection of Mt. Fuji in the lake at this location. 

Of all the lakes, if you are new to Japan and not sure how to get around, the easiest and the most accessible lake is Kawaguchiko. It is the most developed of all the lake areas. However, if you join Japan Photo Guide’s Japan photo tour, you don’t need to worry about how to get around etc. by yourself. He will take you to other lakes as well so you get to photograph many faces of the mountain! For example, if you are curious to know how the Mt. Fuji looks like from Shojiko, take a look here at the 2015 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan!  Additionally, during 2017 Cherry Blossom Tours of Japan, Japan Photo Guide took his tour not only to Kawaguchiko, but also to Shojiko and Yamanakako. 

Btw before going forward, let’s have a mini Japanese lesson here! 

If you look at 5 lakes listed already, you might have already noticed that all of the lakes end in “ko.” This stands for “lake” in Japanese, thus you know it is a lake we are talking about. If you are wondering what is the Japanese character, it is “こ” in hiragana, and “湖” in kanji. If you are visiting a lake, you will see this character “湖” so you might like to keep an eye on it when you are looking for a lake in Japan! 

The best location to photograph “sakasa fuji” 

Have you ever heard of a Japanese term “sakasa fuji?” Sakasa in Japanese means “upside down.” Thus, sakasa fuji is the Mt. Fuji, which is reflected in the lake of Kawaguchiko and is one the most popular Mt. Fuji photographers enjoy capturing. Japan Photo Guide has of course photographed sakasa fuji many times and has taken his photography tours of Japan to Kawaguchiko annually. Below are some of Japan Photo Guide’s sakasa fuji images as well as those who have joined his previous Japan photo tours. As you can imagine, this is something you definitely have to go close enough to Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi at these lakes to view and photograph a flipped/reflected mountain in the beautiful body of water.

Photo created by and courtesy of Dan Leffel

For those of you who cannot wait till the photo tour of Japan to see sakasa fuji, why don’t you check out the live camera dedicated to Kawaguchiko’s sakasa fuji here

Tell me more about Yamanashi! 

Of course, there is more to learn about Yamanashi! The best thing about the photo tour of Japan is how you can enjoy photographing all the beauties of Japan, but also actually feel and experience Japan as you tour. So let’s learn some of Yamanashi’s delicacies and other unique spots you want to know before you make your way to Japan with Japan Photo Guide. 

If you have already visited Japan, many of you know that fruits in Japan are so sweet and delicious. Yamanashi offers a lot of fresh fruits such as strawberries, cherries, peaches, pears, and grapes to just name a few. It is because Yamanashi of all Japan has the longest daylight hours, thus providing ample Sun for sweet fruits to grow. Of all these fruits, Yamanashi grows the most grapes in Japan and they are in season now during August to October. Yes, as you have guessed, since Yamanashi grows the most grapes, there are wineries in Yamanashi too! Wine making started in Japan during the Meiji Era (Jan 25th 1868 – Jul 30th, 1912) and today, Yamanashi’s wine is internationally well known for its rich taste, which matches perfectly with washoku, Japanese food.  

And for those of you who enjoy outdoors, Yamanashi offers many outdoor activities such as fruit picking, camping, BBQ, golfing, and even riding on an Olympic road cycle race track! It may not have the Ocean, but Yamanashi still offers abundant nature, which is so fun to tour and photograph the beautiful nature including lakes, waterfalls, and depending on the season, you get to see beautiful cherry blossoms in spring and colorful changing colors of leaves in autumn. 

Photo created by and courtesy of Daniel Leffel


Just by going over what Yamanashi has to offer, I am getting hungry for Yamanashi’s delicacies and dreaming of the fresh air by Kawaguchiko looking at sakasa fuji. When you are in Yamanashi, you need to be always ready to photograph Mt. Fuji because as well as the famous sakasa fuji, there will be many faces of the mountain with unexpected collaborations that Yamanashi has to offer. If it is during cherry blossom season or rich summer green with blue sky reason or even during vividly colored autumn leaves season and snow white winter season, Yamanashi always provides picture perfect locations for us photographers. 

If you are now more than eager to join Japan Photo Guide’s tour in 2021 or 2022, find out more details about the photo tour of Japan from here

2019 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour | Mt Fuji

Jul 18 | Evan | No Comments |

I’m always a little anxious when Mt. Fuji is included on the plan for our photography tours as mountain can be quite shy hiding behind clouds days at a time. For the 2019 photography tour of Japan during cherry blossom season, we had 4 nights planned in the Mt. Fuji area. Two nights in Shizuoka Prefecture and 2 nights in Yamanashi Prefecture.

It’s certainly possible that we could have had 4 nights with no mountain to photograph but luckily, Mt. Fuji was kind enough to make a few appearances on different days during our photography tour of Japan! While we had Mt. Fuji in view during the tour, the cold weather that helped hold the cherry blossom earlier in the photography tour of Japan, finally caught up to us. The cherry blossoms around Mt. Fuji were just a few days before full bloom so we had to search for the few cherry blossom trees that were ahead of the rest. The good thing about Mt. Fuji though, even without cherry blossoms, there are always fantastic photographic opportunities.

The two photos below are courtesy of and created by one of our group’s photographers, Daniel Leffel. Take a look at Daniel’s website for more excellent photography not only of Japan but all over the word.

Fuji Five Lakes Area

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour took a small group of photographers to Japan. We started in Tokyo and continued to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji Castle, Kyoto and Mt. Fuji from Shizuoka and from Fuji Five Lakes. Here is the trip report from the 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan and the 2018 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan. The 2020 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan is already planned and live! Limited spots are available for the 2020 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan, with first booking already reserved!

Here is a gallery of more photos taken of Mt. Fuji during the 2019 cherry blossom photography tour of Japan.

2017 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan | Fuji Five Lakes

Jun 01 | Evan | No Comments |

The last stop for our group of photographers visiting Japan before returning to Tokyo was Fuji Kawaguchiko.  Lake Kawaguchiko is one of the Fuji Five Lakes and offers stunning views of Mt. Fuji no matter what time of year.  Thankfully this is the case as we were early for cherry blossoms this year.  Though we did manage to find perhaps the one single cherry blossom “tree” in full bloom at the time.

Besides Lake Kawaguchi, we also visited neighboring Lake Shoji and also Lake Yamanaka.  Throughout most of our stay in the Fuji Five Lakes we could see Japan’s famously shy mountain, though often with cloudy skies behind and above Mt. Fuji. 

Also, the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum gave me another chance to test out my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s in body image stabilization.   The in body image stabilization (IBIS) combined with the the M.Zuiko ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO is suppose to give me 6.5 stops of image stabilization.  Once again, I was quite impressed with the results as the photos below are 1 second handheld and 8/10 of a second handheld.

1 second handheld

8/10th of a second handheld

The 2017 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan took our small group of photographers to Tokyo, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto, Wazuka and Fuji Five Lakes.  Take a look at the 2017 Cherry Blossom Tour Trip report to see more from our tour of Japan during cherry blossom season.  Want to visit Japan during cherry blossom season with Japan Photo Guide?  The 2018 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan for photographers has limited spaces available, book now!

2016 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan | Fuji Five Lakes

Jun 01 | Evan | No Comments |

Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide136

Mt. Fuji as a reputation for being really shy, especially while visiting the Fuji Five Lakes outside of Winter.  For the 2016 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan, Mt. Fuji was operating about half of our photographer sessions in the Fuji Five Lake area.  Our hotel was at Lake Kawaguchi (where the photo above was taken from) but we spent the first sunset by Lake Yamanaka.  We got just a touch of color with a slightly hazy Mt. Fuji, but all things considered, our first photo session with the shy mountain didn’t go so bad!  The next morning, after nothing much happening at Lake Tanuki (not one of the Fuji Five Lakes, but very nice place) we stopped by Shiraito Falls.

Yamanaka Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide125

Shiraito Falls Japan Photo Guide146

For whatever reason, Lake Shoji has always been good luck for me as you might recognize that the 2015 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour made some fantastic photos of Mt. Fuji from the shores of Lake Shoji last year.  This year was similar as we had great a nice sunrise and mostly still water making for a great reflection of Mt. Fuji.

Photo created by and courtesy of Mami Yasui

Photo created by and courtesy of Mami Yasui


Photo created by and courtesy of Mami Yasui

Photo created by and courtesy of Barna Photo

Photo created by and courtesy of Barna Photo

As you can see, we had quite a few nice photos from Lake Shoji!  Our group of photographers stayed at Shojiko quite a while both making photographs and just enjoying the view.  Too bad didn’t have weather like this for all the times our group went out to photograph Mt Fuji.

Shojiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide138 Shojiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide139 Shojiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide143

By the end of our staying the Fuji Five Lakes area, the cherry blossoms around Kawaguchiko were starting to approach full bloom.  One day was a little gloomy and quite windy, the next morning, clear sky and light wind making for some great reflections!   The photo at the top of this post is my current desktop on all my computers and a vertical crop of it on my iPhone.

Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide128

Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide129 Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide130 Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide133 Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide134

Our last morning of the 2016 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan at the Fuji Five Lakes was mostly cloudy but we still went out anyway hoping for something, or rather anything!  We went out to Lake Saiko in hopes of being able to see and photograph Mt. Fuji one more time.  To our surprise, when arriving at Lake Saiko, we could see most of the Mt. Fuji.  While the clouds cooperated for a while, they covered Mt. Fuji just as the sun was coming up and color was starting to enter the sky.  We were still able to make some interesting photos of Mt. Fuji for our last photo day of the tour!

Lake Saiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide137 Lake Saiko Mt Fuji Japan Photo Guide138

Photo created by and courtesy of Barna Photo

Photo created by and courtesy of Barna Photo

With TokyoHiroshima, Miyajima and Himeji Castle  and Kyoto already visited, next up for the 2016 cherry blossom tour was the Fuji Five Lakes to photography Mt. Fuji along with some cherry blossoms. Our photo tour of Japan ended here but yours can start just around the corner!  Interested in joining the 2017 cherry blossom tour?  Please contact me today to start your trip to Japan during cherry blossom season or any other time you’d like!

By the way, I quite like the first photo in this post of Kawguchiko and Mt Fuji when it’s flipped upside… maybe even more that the right way up?

upsidedown fuji Japan Photo Guide


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