Shizuoka Travel: Feel Close to Mt. Fuji at Fujiyoshida, a Lesser Known Tourist Spot
Mt. Fuji can be called the symbol of Japan. It is a place where the number of overseas visitors is still increasing today, whether to climb the mountain or to explore the surrounding areas. This time we are introducing the charm of Fujiyoshida, the town where you can feel Mt. Fuji closely.
Arakurayama-Sengen-Koen Park, Where You Can View Mt. Fuji Most Beautifully
Fujiyoshida City has a great spot where you can have a panoramic view of Mt. Fuji beautifully spanning to the skirts along with a five-story pagoda. It is in Arakurayama-sengen-koen park, which is about a 10 minute walk from Shimoyoshida Station on the Fujikyuko Line.
At the foot of this park there is Arakurayama-sengen-jinja shrine, and from there you can climb the hill either by the stairs in 398 steps or by a driveway. At the top of the stairs a five-story pagoda called Chureito is located, and further ahead a lookout point is set up for taking photos and enjoying the view.
From this hill, you can capture the five-story pagoda in the foreground and Mt. Fuji with spreading skirts in the back in one view. In the springtime you can also enjoy cherry blossoms in full bloom, and this place offers supreme experience of Japanese beauties. It used to be a best-kept secret that only local people knew, but in recent years this place has become a hot spot among visitors from overseas, too.
You can view this gorgeous shape of Mt. Fuji in no other place than in Fujiyoshida.
Arakurayama Sengen Park: Hot Spot for Great Photos of Mt. Fuji
Local Specialty of Fujiyoshida, “Yoshida Udon” Noodle
In Fujiyoshida, local culture has thrived by the grace of Mt. Fuji from old times to date. Fujiyoshida’s symbolic specialty dish is what is called “Yoshida Udon” noodle. The city has more than 60 udon noodle shops and they are crowded with local people at lunch time. There is one also at the foot of Arakurayama-sengen-koen park, and this place serves exquisite udon noodle.
Yoshida Udon Shop “Shintaku”
The building appears to be an ordinary residence, but the husband of the family hand-makes firm udon noodles for lunch. As soon as the noodles are sold out, the business is closed for the day. The reputation of the delicious noodles has spread wide and many people come to this shop even from other prefectures.
Soup is made with tasteful dried sardine stock and miso bean paste, and it is so delicious that you cannot help but drink it all till the last drop. Yoshida Udon consists of firm chewy udon noodles with boiled cabbage on top.
Characteristics of Yoshida Udon:
・The standard kakeudon (generally udon with no toppings) comes with boiled cabbage.
・The standard meat topping uses horse meat
・The noodle is firm and chewy.
Why did Yoshida Udon become the way it is now? Well, there is a history unique to this place.
Weaving has been a major industry of Fujiyoshida from the old days. Many married couples used to be engaged in the weaving business and generally husbands were in charge of sales and maintenance of looms that made their hands dirty and wives kept their hands clean and wove fabric.
Since wives were busy weaving fabric, husbands prepared lunch instead, making hard udon noodle using Mt. Fuji’s underground water and putting cabbage they grew in the field. This is how Yoshida Udon has evolved.
Since there are as many as 60 udon noodle shops in Fujiyoshida City alone, they have a variety of unique tastes. These shops are loved by the local people, and townsfolks have their own favorite shops. The station offers udon maps of the city. Please try udon shops with the map in your hand, and find your favorite shop.
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Weaving Crafts Flourished, Supported by Mt. Fuji
What Mt. Fuji’s underground water has benefited was not just udon noodles; it also helped the weaving crafts mentioned earlier.
Fujiyoshida City has produced “yarn-dyed fabrics” since ancient times in which yarn was dyed first before weaving. And the underground water flowing from Mt. Fuji has been utilized in the dyeing process from old days till now. This water is known to have little impurities, allowing the colors of the dyes to develop beautifully. The underground water of Mt. Fuji is indispensable for woven fabrics in Fujiyoshida.
Today the weaving in Fujiyoshida is also subject to the aging of craftsmen and decline in domestic textile industry. However the craftsmanship developed in the past has been handed down to today’s generation and production continues, dying fine threads with Mt. Fuji’s water and weaving fabrics that are thin yet high-density.
When you are walking in the town of Fujiyoshida, you may hear rhythmical sounds of a machine from somewhere. That’s the sound of the fabric being woven on a loom.
I strongly recommend you to visit Fujiyoshida to view Mt. Fuji from the place that shows the mountain most beautifully in Japan. Please try a stroll in the town, savor Yoshida Udon created by the blessings of Mt. Fuji, and listen to the sound of looms.
By the way, some textile products made in Fujiyoshida are available for sale in a shopping mall called “Q-STA” at the Fujisan Station. On the ground floor at the back of the souvenir shop, there is a shop named “Hataori Travel”, offering woven products. You can look at fabrics closely and purchase products. Fabrics are made with highly developed craftsmanship and products are great both for everyday use and special occasions. They will make a perfect memento or souvenir of your travel in Japan, such as a necktie, scarf, small fabric items or high-quality umbrellas.
Fujiyoshida is a great sightseeing spot where you can feel Mt. Fuji closely and it is surprisingly off the beaten path. Do give it a try!