Japan’s spring season is very brightly colored not only for of its ume, sakura, and tulips, but also for Shibazakura (moss phlox). There is a renowned Shibazakura matsuri in Hokkaido, I won’t discuss it here, but today I will share a travel guide that tells you about the country’s largest Shibazakura festival called “Fuji Shibazakura Matsuri”. It is located at Fuji Motosuko Resort, near at the base of Mt. Fuji and just about 3 km away from Lake Motosuko (One of the Fuji Five Lakes) in Yamanashi prefecture. Have you ever heard it before? Perhaps you have heard of it and also you have seen photographs of this yearly spring flower matsuri where the majestic view of Mt. Fuji peak looks gorgeous with millions of pink moss phlox. The scenery you see there is just unforgettable even when you are allergic to pink color.
Take a quick note that Fuji Shibazakura Festival will be held from 16 April to 29 May, in 2016. The festival date is informed to you, now you have got to make a plan to visit it in right time. Make sure you always keep an eye on the weather forecast almost every day before you set up your mind. Unpredictable spring weather may cause you some trouble, not serious though. I mean if the weather conditions is cloudy then you would hardly see the Mt. Fuji snow cap. I am sure you don’t want to miss it, do you? In fact, the place where the festival takes place is seen one of the best places to view Mt. Fuji. Go there on a clear sunny day and something special is really waiting for you to make you just “WOW” and of course much more than that.
Shibazakura has Five Petals like Sakura
Shibazakura and Cherry blossom (Sakura) both have a similar characteristic. What’s that? Shibazakura blooms in five petals just like cherry flower. It is interesting! Though, my favorite one is sakura than Shibazakura. I can’t sit underneath it to have an outdoor picnic party, but a cherry blossom tree offers me to have this amusing moment. Shibazakura plants grow quickly and cover the grounds like a lawn. Usually, Shibazakura start blooming from early April that comes in many varieties. The festival grounds only feature 6 (six) distinct varieties of Shibazakura known as Scarlet Frame, Mcdaniel’s Cushion, Little Dot, Autumn Rose, Tama-no-Nagare, and Oakington Blue-Eyes.
About the Festival
The festival gives insight into real Mount Fuji beauty as well as the natural beauty of Japan in spring. Approximately 800,000 Shibazakura – covering 2.4 hectors of land, burst into life and ready to show their absolute beauty from mid April to early May. While on the other hand, the festival location offers gorgeous views of Mt. Fuji in combination with the pink carpet of millions pink phlox mosses. How incredible – when both can be experienced at the same time! It sounds like a crazy flower festival as you have a great opportunity to view Mt. Fuji snow peak in the background.
It is creates an amazing picturesque landscape featuring a flower carpet of pink, red, light blue, purple, pure white blossoms, a pond, green hills, and Mt. Fuji peak which reflects the outstanding natural beauty of Yamanashi prefecture. Does it make sense? Yes, it does make sense because nature at its best when millions of flowers offer you a peaceful environment to enjoy an outdoor nature beauty. When most people think of traveling to Japan, they certainly wish to see the world’s most beautiful Mt. Fuji peak, don’t they? This festival could satisfy your real Mt. fuji including miniature Mt. Fuji (made out of shibazakura) view desire and delightful shibazakura.
There is a observatory, looks like a little bridge though – you are advised to get there to see the whole festival area with Mt Fuji snow cap. It is typical seeing visitors roaming around and walking through different trials inside the festival area. I have seen some foreign visitors were trying to take some photographs of Mt. Fuji from different angles as the day was very sunny and clear. Whether you believe it or not that I was asked to take some group photos of them! They were very excited. “Our Japan spring trip would not have been much better if we had not visited this flower festival” – said one of the group members. I think he is bloody right!
There is a nice footbath, called Panorama footbath, offering you soak your feet in hot water while experiencing breathtaking view of surrounding scenery. I was there, soaked my feet for a while and it was just a relaxing moment for me. I thoroughly enjoyed that and I am sure you would do the same. Walk through the trials, if feel a bit tired then head to this footbath and have some rest. You know, it is expensive staying in a hotel that is located near at the base of Mt. Fuji. Why? – Because, over there you can easily enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji from its Onsen (hot springs). Take this sort of chance just soaking your feet at this Panorama footbath.
What to Buy and Eat?
I have forgotten to mention you earlier that there is a food festival, called “The Mt. Fuji Delicious Food Festival” held at the same place. There is a wide variety of yummy foods coming from Mt. Fuji region in one place. If you are a foodie lover then I guess you thinking like “can I see the menu please?” Yes you can but go there first. By the way, here I will just tell you few famous dishes you could try there. Many food stalls, cafe and restaurant in the park offer you dishes like famous Fujinomiya yakisoba, Koshu chicken giblet stew, Fuji-yoshida udon, Fujiyama Sweet bean buns, Fujizakura Pork Soup, Shibazakura Ramen, Fujiyama Taiyaki, Shibazakura Croquettes, Koshu Fujizakura Pork Buns, Chimaki, Goehi Mochi, and many more.
When it comes to buying things like so called souvenir. Not a spring holiday goes by without me dropping into my favorite flower festivals throughout Japan. I don’t have enough money to visit them all in one season though; I skip places which I can’t afford. Apart from transportation and accommodation cost I do have something to buy as souvenir for my family. They wait for it while I have to hunt for the best ones to make them happy. However, the Shibazakura festival lets you buy some unique shibazakura themed souvenirs from the shops located there. I bought few packs of Fujiyama cookies and Sakura macaroons. All of my family members like my parents and brothers enjoyed eating these delicious foods.
Important Travel Tips to Fuji Shibazakura Festival
The most important travel tip to this festival is the weather condition. Earlier in this article, I have told you to check out the weather before you head to this festival. Take it seriously if you really want to see Mt. Fuji snow cap view along with pink Shibazakura fields.
As the festival will be held for more than a week you have more of days to visit it. What does this message mean to you? The message indicates you that you should avoid the weekends and Golden Week (end of April to few days of early May). During this time a lot of local visitors come from various parts of Japan. It gets crowded even beyond your imagination.
I request you not to visit the festival earlier because you may experience that all the shibazakura are not in full bloom. Go there at the end of the Golden Week.
The festival is one of the famous photogenic spots in Japan. So take a good advantage of this opportunity. In fact, a lot of professional photographers gather there to carry out their task and profession. In fact, the festival provides photo services for visitors.
Do the things that I said like soaking your feet at the footbath, eating local delicacies, buying cute souvenirs and roaming around the flower park. I suggest you to wear the shoes that are easy to walk and please avoid high heeled shoes. They would not be comfortable to walk around.
Except visiting the festival site you can visit other popular sightseeing spots such as Lake Shojiko, Lake Saiko, Lake Kawaguchiko, local shops, Mount Tenjo, Grinpa Tulip Festival, temple & shrines and etc.
How to get there?
To enjoy a comfortable hassle free ride on budget around Mt. Fuji sounding areas bus is the best option. There is an exclusive direct bus service called the Chuo Highway bus from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station to the festival site and it is only available during the festival time. If you are coming from Tokyo then take this exclusive bus ride. I had to reach to the festival site taking this highway bus as it was quite comfortable, enjoying fun ride.
If you don’t care about money then, who cares! Take a taxi and get to the site safely. Though, most of the visitors use the shuttle bus service operating from Kawaguchiko Station. This page will describe other available options, so visit here please.
Important Things to Know
Place & Address: Fuji Motosuko Resort in Minami Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture
Festival Period: 16 April to 29 May, 2016
Parking lot: Yes, about 1000 average size cars
Pet: No pets are allowed inside the park
Ticket counter: Two
Admission fee: ¥520 for adults, ¥210 for children
Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (no illumination)
Official website: www.shibazakura.jp
April is a perfectly good month to visit in Japan especially for nature lover who loves flowers and festivals. A lot of spring festivals throughout Japan gloriously make you mad to hunt every one of them, but due to limited time and budget you may not experience them all. However, in the end I would say that if you come here during hanami season then don’t miss visiting this unique flower festival. After having a great time in Kansai region please get back to Tokyo and experience this splendid shibazakura where the Mt. Fuji make tickle you and say “wanna climb me?”. Thanks for reading.
Copyright 2016 @ takkhis