Shibazakura — seasonal flowers at Kawaguchi-ko (one of the Fuji Five Lakes)
May is the season for “shibazakura”, which literally means “cherry lawn” but really refers to the pink carpet created by blooming moss phlox. One of the best locations for enjoying this riot of color is the Fuji Shibazakura Matsuri located at the Fuji Motosuko Resort near Lake Kawaguchi. With Mt Fuji as a backdrop on a clear day, this place is a photographer’s dream.
The official “festival” takes place from April 20 to June 2, 2013. The blossoms so thoroughly cover the ground that you see only shades of pink, no green, truly creating a floral carpet.
The park is the moss phlox equivalent of the Keukenhof Tulip Garden in the Netherlands and you should expect to spend a couple of hours wandering around it, enjoying swaths of intense color and various patterns created by the five different types of moss phlox in the park.
Be warned, though. It’s a long way to go. From Shinjuku, the trip on the Chuo Line special express to Kawaguchi-ko Station (often requiring a train change at Otsuki station) takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Once you reach Kawaguchi-ko Station, the easiest way to reach the park is a 30-minute ride on the special shuttle bus, called the Shibazakura Liner. Unfortunately, this is not a free shuttle bus, but for the 1,800 yen fare, you get your round trip shuttle bus ride and park entry.
When the shuttle returns you to Kawaguchi-ko, consider taking a little time to explore the town before returning to Tokyo. The ropeway to Tenjo-yama Park is just a 10-minute walk from the train station, if you want to get a little more elevation and enjoy the view. Or, just take a stroll along the lakeside trail. Finally, perhaps most importantly, there are several onsens to choose from.