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Exploring Mount Fuji and the Five Lakes Region

Almost every time we are in Japan, we spend time in the Fuji Five Lakes region, often staying in nearby Shizuoka Prefecture in places like Gotemba, Mishima or Numazu where we have many friends. In fact, the locals often say that this is where you can see the real Japan.

The Fuji Five Lakes are Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Shōji, Lake Motosu, Lake Sai and Lake Yamanaka. These ancient lakes are located in the northern half of Mount Fuji and were formed during volcanic times as rivers became dammed by lava flows. Today, they are popular with tourists both local and foreign as they afford some of the best views of Mount Fuji.

We will usually rent a car from Nissan for a few days and the staff will set the built-in GPS to English language, however, we usually end up using our own Mobile phone GPS which is easier to use. Nissan just need to see my passport and an International Driving License and fill out some paperwork and we are set to go.

The following is an account of some of the beautiful places we have visited near Mount Fuji and the surrounding areas with some tips on places to stay and things to do here.

Numazu

The city of Numazu in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture is a great place to stay when planning to visit Mount Fuji and the Five Lakes. The cty has some wonderful senic coastline and a fishing harbour which is protected by a Tsunami Gate. In the smal streets beside the harbour can be found many small restaurants selling the freshest sushi and stores selling dried Japanese Horse Mackerel for which Numazu is famous. Then there are two Aquariums of which we have visited one.

We will usually stay at the Daiwa Roynet Hotel located walking distance from the train station where the rooms on the higher floors are not only large but provide some nice views of the city and Mount Fuji in the distance. Also, just a couple of minutes walk away are a 7-Eleven, Lawsons and Family Mart minimarts.

The Daiwa Roynet Hotel in Numazu was a great hotel because it was new, they had a staff at reception who had lived overseas and spoke perfect English, and they offered us an upgrade to a larger room with twin beds that we could push together. Furthermore, there was actually a decent sized bathtub as well as a shower in the bathroom, a luxury not often seen in mid priced hotels in Japan.

This was the view from our hotel room
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This photo was taken using my 24-105mm lens at 105mm focal length
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The room was pretty comfortable and spacious. We often ask for rooms with twin beds that can be pushed together as the rooms are sometimes larger, and the kids like to sleep together with us when we travel.

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Aside from the heated toilet seat which is pretty standard in hotels in Japan, the room had a good sized bathtub which is less common.
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The lobby area was spacious and modern
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The harbour at Numazu is a great place to wander around because you can see colourful fishing boats, the famous Tsunami Gate which drops to prevent tidal waves entering the harbour, small streets with stores selling dried fish and restaurants selling very fresh sushi.

The weather was quite cloudy this day but on clear days you can see Mount Fuji in the distance.
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The Tsunami Gate can be seen in the background here
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The Tsunami Gate with the breakwater in the distance
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This wavy street adjacent to Numazu Harbour was lined with small sushi restaurants and stores selling fresh squid and dried fish.
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Customers buying fresh fish in the morning
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This store is selling dried Japanese horse Mackerel and other dried fish
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At this store they specialize in fish heads
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Fresh Seafood
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Fresh squid and dried fish seller
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This drinks vending machine has a little picture of a dried fish
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Drinks vending machines in Numazu
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My kids popped their heads through the hole for some funny photos
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Just on the other side of Numazu Harbour is the Kano River estuarine. One can walk along the river wall from the Tsunami Gate up river with some lovely views and where there is quite a lot of wildlife. We saw a pair of Kites flying low over the river which was quite exciting and luckily I had my 400mm lens with me so was able to capture a couple of shots of them.

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A pair of Kites flying over the mouth of the River Kano
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I'll include this shot as I find it really cute. I was waiting for the lights to change when this car pulls up beside me with these two gorgeous dogs on the front passenger seat looking out of the window. I couldn't resist the chance to snap a picture.

In Japan, many couples choose not to have children for various reasons. Instead, they often keep pets such as dogs. These two were absolute beauties.


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