National parks in Japan are designated for protection and preservation by the government and offer views of breathtaking beauty. Comprising of 34 from Hokkaido in the north, to Okinawa in the south, Fuji Hakone Izu National Park is one of the most visited and popular parks in Japan.
Within easy reach of Tokyo, there are many locations in the park offering magnificent views of Japan's tallest mountain, Mount Fuji. One of these is Lake Tanuki, an artificial lake created in 1935 to form a reservoir for irrigation purposes. In good weather, Mount Fuji can be seen reflecting on the still waters of the lake.
A popular weekend spot not only for viewing Mount Fuji, the lake and its surrounding areas have much to offer. Despite the winter cold, there were many locals with children on the sunday afternoon I visited. The camping grounds have tent rentals, toilet and shower, and barbeque facilities. Imagine camping overnight, and waking up to see the beautiful Mount Fuji! Apart from camping, there are other outdoor activities like boat rentals, fishing, and bicycle rentals.
Hiking is another fun activity, and an easy relaxing hour long hike will bring you to an observation deck to view Mount Fuji. The Tokai Nature Trail (東海自然歩道), a long distance hiking path that passes through eleven prefectures and is almost 1700 kilometers, also passes by a part of the banks of Lake Tanuki. Full of nature, seasonal birds like the Siberian Blue Robin and the Eastern Crowned Warbler can be spotted depending on the time of the year.
For about two weeks, one week before, and one week after, the 20th April and 20th August each year, many photography hobbyists would gather to take photographs of a sight nicknamed Diamond Fuji. This is when the morning sun rises from the peak of Mount Fuji and her glittering appearance reflects on the surface of the lake.
Lake Tanuki is a 45 minute bus ride from Fujinomiya station.
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I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.