Fujigoko, or the Fuji Five Lakes region is a lovely resort area located to the north side of Mount Fuji. This is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance or a good base camp for avid mountain climbers. The whole region comprises of (you guessed it) five lakes, of which Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access by public transportation from both Tokyo and Hakone.
We decided, rather unwisely, to try to make a day trip from Hakone to Kawaguchiko and make the most of our Hakone Free Pass ticket. This involved a little bit of wrangling on our part in trying to decipher the public transportation schedules. Getting help from the tourist advisors was not a very successful endeavor either as there are so many different public transportation companies serving the region, not even the locals are familiar with the various timetables.
I lost count of the number of times we missed our connecting bus(es) so there was alot of waiting around bus shelters. Fortunately, the kids are able to entertain themselves, and we managed to get there and back in a day. In retrospect, we probably should have arranged to stay in Kawaguchiko for a night or two in order to properly explore the area! It’s a very beautiful area with a ton of things to do and see.
We managed a short lakeside stroll, before heading to the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum. Kubota Itchiku was the artist who spent his whole life to trying to replicate and master the forgotten art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing, which is a highly labour-intensive technique very similar to tie-dye (except with a thousand more steps) that was used to decorate silk kimono. The only existing fragment of the Tsujigahana textile is currently on display at the Tokyo National Museum.
At the museum, we stopped for a picnic lunch in a little grotto by the entrance before wandering inside to explore the grounds.
The highlight of this visit was of course the breathtaking display of kimonos. Each kimono is a piece of art on its own with a decorative landscape design on it. What makes the display truly incredible is that the landscape design seems to flow from one kimono to the next, to form a grand panorama. This is Mr Kubota’s magnum opus, the ‘Symphony of Light’, which (when completed) will include 80 works representing the four seasons and the universe, with Mount Fuji as one of the main features.
It was definitely worth coming all that way just to see these gorgeous works of art! Both J and Little E were absolutely blown away by the myriad of colours and textures, and the intricacies of the embroidery. In fact, they wanted to stay in the museum much longer, just to sit quietly in front of each kimono and gaze upon them, but we had to rush off or risk missing our bus (again).
Definitely a place to visit again!