Mt. Fuji & Sakura Viewing: Maruyama Kouen (丸山公園) and Iwadono Castle (岩殿城) - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mt. Fuji & Sakura Viewing: Maruyama Kouen (丸山公園) and Iwadono Castle (岩殿城)

From the Ootsuki Tourism Association
If you're visiting Japan during spring you’re probably keen to get a good look at the sakura, Japan's unofficial national flower. While the spots where you can view cherry blossoms in Tokyo usually are extremely crowded you can find many equally or more beautifully picturesque sakura spots in the areas close to the metropolis. And then again, as a tourist you might want to combine the view of the sakura with other things that are typical for Japan. If that is the case then I would recommend a trip to Yamanashi Prefecture to see Mt. Fuji from Mt. Iwadonosan.

From Ootsuki Station
Sakura in front of the Ootsuki Station
The city of Ootsuki (which literarily means "big moon") proclaim that they have the best spot in Japan to see Mt. Fuji, and at the Maruyama-koen park (丸山公園) on the Iwadonosan (岩殿山) mountain (also referred to as Iwadonoyama) you'll have an excellent view of both the sakura flowers and Mt. Fuji.
The Ootsuki station with Mt. Iwadonosan in the background
There are direct trains to Ootsuki running from Shinjuku for 2247 yen one way, and the trip only takes about 60 minutes. When you arrive at the Ootsuki station you go out the main exit and turn left. It is easy to locate Mt. Iwadonosan as you can spot the characters 岩殿山跡 on the mountain side.

After an approximately 10 minute walk you’ll get to a bridge on your left side taking you to a road going up Mt. Iwadonosan. 
Crossing the bridge going up to Mt. Iwadonosan
Fisherman underneath the bridge

After another couple of minutes you’ll find a path to your left going up to the Iwadono-jou Castle (岩殿城) where the Maruyama-kouen (丸山公園) park also is located.

A billboard proclaiming that Ootsuki is Japan's number one city to view Mt. Fuji
It should be easy to navigate, as you can see the mountain from the station and as mentioned there is also a huge board with 岩殿山城 written on it right below the castle itself. The total time from the station to the Maruyama-koen should take around 20 minutes.

There were some people who had come to the castle grounds to do hanami underneath the cherry blossom trees, but all in all the number of people was quite low especially considering it was a weekend and the weather was good. If you want to enjoy the sight of Mt. Fuji along with the cherry blossoms this place is pretty much a hidden jewel! 

View of Mt. Fuji:

Unfortunately there was a thin layer of clouds covering the sky and decreasing the visibility of Mt. Fuji, but the view of Ootsuki from the castle grounds was still great.

The Iwadono Castle:

The Iwadono Castle was built in 1530, and has been used throughout history among other things as a base to protect the Edo/Musashi province. The view from the castle made it a great base for protection, and it was also used for smoke-signalling to deliver messages to nearby areas as a part of communications network.
There's a small museum inside the Iwadono Castle for those who might be interested. We didn't go into it, but if you enter the building you'll find the following stamp with motives Mt. Fuji and flowers on your left right before the ticket booth which you can use for free if you have any items with you that you want to decorate.
It is possible to combine the trip to the Maruyama Koen with a hike to the top of Mt. Iwadonosan. There are a number of optional trails you can take from there, making it a very nice day trip. After having relaxed a little while at the castle grounds we continued our hike to the top of Iwadonosan and followed a trail to the nearby Chigo-Otoshi, which I've written more about here for those interested.
Our hiking trail for the day

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Recommended Hotels close to Mt. Fuji

Hotel Kaneyamaen
Hotel Kaneyamaen
Fuji Royal Hotel Kawaguchiko
Fuji Royal Hotel Kawaguchiko
Kawaguchiko Country Cottage Ban
Kawaguchiko Country Cottage Ban

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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