Mt. Fuji is of course Japan’s highest peak, best known natural site, subject of painting, poetry, photos, every kind of cultural production, and now, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among all the views of Mt. Fuji, one of the masterpieces is the one from across Tateyama Bay:
– look at the map and you’ll see why. There aren’t many places where clear bay waters offer perfect Fuji reflections, complete with sunset, or where it seems as if you could reach across the sea and feel its snowy peaks.
From Hojo Beach, Fuji fills the horizon. From Shiroyama (Castle) Park, it backdrops the entire town and all of Mirror Bay. From Ito, it tapers into the distant Izu Islands and the rocky Pacific in the foreground. Descend the steep staircase at Sunosaki to find Fuji framed in the torii gate to the shrine.
At the right moment in May, you can watch the sun sink right into the center of Mt. Fuji. Japanese guidebooks call this “Diamond Fuji” and count Tateyama’s as one of the country’s “100 Best” Fuji views.
But it’s as magical when the setting sun is sinking down one side or the other of the mountain. Tateyama people seem to know by instinct where sun and Fuji will meet in any given season. If you come often enough, you, too, will be able to measure time by where the sun disappears behind Fuji’s slopes, and you’ll feel like a local.
On a clear day, take the late afternoon express train back to Tokyo. Find a seat on the left side of the train. Beyond the paddies, across from the towns, over the water, you’ll see Mt. Fuji, from foothills to peak, almost all the way home.