Gotemba, which is located in Shizuoka Prefecture may at first seem a little far from central Tokyo, but if you’re looking for the best possible view of Mount Fuji, this charming little town is the place to go. Not only will you get fantastic mountain views, you’ll also see plenty of cherry blossoms in springtime, and there’s also a massive premium outlet mall for the shopaholics among us! The best part is, taking a day trip there is easy, making it possible for even the busiest traveller. Here’s the definitive guide for a day trip to Gotemba.
The Odakyu Romancecar has trains that go from Shinjuku station straight to Gotemba. The train is a special limited express with comfortable seats and wide windows, stopping at only a few stations along the way, so the journey to Gotemba takes just an hour and a half.
To view seasonal flowers like sakura and camellia, as well as Mount Fuji, head to Chichibu-no-miya Memorial Park, a tranquil garden that’s a short bus ride from Gotemba station. In springtime, you’ll see the road along the park entrance flanked with pink cherry blossom trees. Don’t worry if you can’t travel in spring though, the park is beautiful no matter what the season. You’ll be surrounded in greenery in summer, orange leaves in autumn, and snow in winter!
Chichibunomiya Memorial Park
Chichibunomiya Memorial Park, 1507-7 Higashit...
The park feels very serene, with tall cypresses and plenty of other trees and flowers. The name of the park comes from that of Prince Chichibu, younger brother to the Showa Emperor, who had lived there with his wife. The house that the royal family occupied now sits atop a hill within the park, and it is on top of this hill where you can see the snowy top of Mount Fuji.
A surprising feature of the park are two former air raid shelters, one used by the royal couple and the other for officers during wartime Japan that have been preserved. There’s also a small tea house within the park. Called Uguisu-tei, it was named after a “waka”, a form of Japanese poetry, written by Prince Chichibu himself. When you’re tired of walking, you can take a rest at the cafe and enjoy some Japanese sweets and tea.
Gotemba Premium Outlets
Gotemba Premium Outlets
Gotemba Premium Outlets, 1312 Fukasawa, Gotem...
There are nearly 300 shops at the Gotemba Premium Outlets— that’s a lot of shopping to be done in one place! This is great news for shopaholics who especially love a bargain, as it’s one of the best places in Japan to snag some international and Japanese branded items for a fraction of the price. However, even if you’re not an avid shopper, there’s still a good reason to go. From multiple points around the complex, there are amazing views of Mount Fuji close up.
If you are looking for food and drink, either for lunch or an afternoon snack, Gotemba Premium Outlets has the most choices out of anywhere else in the area. There’s a food court with a terrace that looks directly out at Mount Fuji, and a variety of quality restaurants and kiosks offering both Asian and Western cuisine, as well as dessert favourites like crepes and bubble tea.
There are also plenty of spots to sit down for tea and dessert. San Grams Green Tea at the food court offers authentic green tea from Shizuoka, and a delicious variety of Japanese sweets and green tea ice cream. Another favourite among locals is Eggs n’ Things, where you can get tasty stacks of pancakes with a heaping mountain of whipped cream on top!
To really focus on shopping, many people take the free shuttle bus from Gotemba station straight to the Premium Outlets and spend the entire day there. If you’re traveling as a family or just love shopping, definitely head there early in the day, because the place is huge!
● If you can, travel on a weekday; especially if you want to spend more time at the premium outlets, which can get quite busy even during the week.
● The last Odakyu Romancecar departs from Gotemba station at around 6:45pm, so if you’re not staying the night, be sure to make your way to the station well ahead of time! Also, purchase your return ticket in advance.
● Visitors with an international license can opt to drive to Gotemba in a rental car, which will allow a lot more flexibility. This might also be a little more cost-effective for families. The journey by car will take about an hour and a half, and the view of mountains and the Japanese countryside along the highway is beautiful.
● This is a little known fact, but there’s a defence force training ground at the base of Mount Fuji, and if you hear what sounds like thunder even on a bright sunny day in Gotemba, it’s actually the sound of practice artillery rounds being fired.
Mount Fuji is such an iconic landmark of Japan that you simply must see it, especially since you already flew all the way here! Find a day with good weather and clear skies, and make your way to Gotemba for a day trip that’s absolutely worth it.