Gotemba is one of the four “5th station”s of Mt Fuji. It is an easy commute by car from Saitama to Gotemba if you are near the Ken-o expressway, which we are. Between 2009 and around 2016 we travelled to Gotemba at least once a year. The main draw for us at the time was the Toki no Sumika resort. With four children born in five years, the Toki no Sumika resort was our go-to for a comfortable yet affordable stay with lots for small children to enjoy. Over the years we got to know several of Gotemba’s attractions, some of which are outlined hereafter:
Gotemba Attractions, Shizuoka
Tokinosumika is a one stop resort for accommodation, play, eating and HOT SPRINGS. Moreover, it has night illumination most of the year. It also houses the Kogen Brewery. There is a water and projection mapping show set to music in the evening. Sports facilities include a tennis court, badminton courts, softball grounds, pitch & putt, soccer grounds and even an ice rink. There are beautiful cherry blossoms including the yaezakura variety at the resort. Moreover, they have a splash pool and outdoor swimming pool in summer. Please see the separate blog on this resort with full details on all that is available.
▷Night Illumination at Gotemba Kogen (Japan Travel website), Tokinosumika.
Grinpa is an amusement park at the foot of Mt Fuji. It is most suited to children, but there are attractions for adults too. The amusement park is known for its Sylvanian family themed area. It also has an Ultraman zone with giant statues, shop, restaurant and games dedicated to Japan’s most famous heroes. If you want to get a photo of Mt Fuji with the Japan’s most famous hero “ultraman”, this is where to do it! Also, the park has seasonal blooms, such as tulips in spring. You can get a photo of Mt Fuji, tulips and a windmill at this park.
▷Information in English can be found at their website, here.
3. Kodomo no Kuni
A massive and very reasonably priced adventure park with lots of activities to keep children of all ages entertained for a full day. Among the popular attractions are the canoe rides, waterplay area and also the crochet playground. There are seasonal blooms at this park too and for the lead up to Children’s Day they hang dozens of large “koinobori” carp streamers.
4. Japan’s largest outlet mall!
Of all Gotemba attractions the Gotemba Premium outlet is probably the best known. It is wonderful, if you enjoy shopping. There are some additional facilities for kids and they put on some good events. A lot of people who are based in Tokyo do the outlet as a day return trip. Its manageable but to make the most of all Gotemba has to offer and all the various activities, I recommend staying overnight.
▷You can find all you need to know, in English, about Gotemba Premium Outlet here.
5. Fuji Safari Park
This amazing safari is only a half hour from Tokinosumika. It is very reasonably priced with kids three years old and under free. They have a petting zoo, a walking safari and also other areas suited to small children. You don’t have to drive through it, you can park and walk if you prefer. They are open 9 to 5pm and there night safari is open from 5.30 to 7.30pm. During Golden Week the park opens earlier.
▷Their phone number is 055 998 1311. Further information in English: Fuji Safari Park reviews on City-cost.com.
6. Gotemba / Mt Fuji Peace Park
A scenic park with beautiful views of Mt Fuji. It is also called Mt Fuji Peace Park. When I first wrote this post in 2012 there was only one article online with information, in either English OR Japanese, for the Gotemba Peace Park. But I am glad to say there is a lot more online now ten years later (2022), particularly in the Japanese language. That original post still exists too;
7. Horse riding
There are numerous equestrian clubs in Gotemba. But I would like to share the Okamoto Riding Club as they have an English language Facebook page and website. Furthermore, they have various options for horse riding and trekking with a Mt Fuji view. They also offer European style horse riding. Moreover, if you are looking for work in a stable in Japan, they hire people from abroad. Please see their Facebook page for more detailed information. (I have no affiliation to this company).
8. Snowtown Yeti
The official address of Snowtown Yeti is Susuno, but Susuno is right beside Gotemba. Futhermore, by car it only takes 30 minutes to get to the ski resort from the Gotemba Interchange of the Tomei Expressway. Snowtown Yeti is at the second station of Mt Fuji, meaning that it is further up the mountain than most of Gotemba. This ski resort opens in October, earlier than other ski resorts in most of Japan.
9. Otome Pass
The Otome Pass is said to be one of the best hiking routes to view Mount Fuji. This is not a route to the top of Mt Fuji, it is a hiking route to view Mt Fuji. You can also see the Hakone mountains from the summit. The Otome pass is on Mt Kintoki, with an official address in Hakone, but the pass is most frequently said to be in Gotemba City, Shizuoka.
▷Information in English on the Hakone Navi (who also use Gotemba as the official address 😉 )
10. Fuji Hakkei Hot Spring
On the route up to the Otome Pass you pass a hot springs along the country road, close to the start of the pass. It is called Fuji Hakkei. Fuji for Mt Fuji and Hakkei means eight views. The eight views of Mt Fuji. The spring is located beside the Otome Forest Park Number 2 Camping Ground, which also has bungalows. If you are looking for an affordable campsite with Fuji views, Otome Forest Park is worth considering.
▷Official website of Fuji Hakkei Hot Spring
11. Komakado Kaza Caves
The Komakado Kaza Caves (or Kazaana) are a national natural treasure. They are Lava caves, supposedly the largest of their kind in Japan. I can tell you – it is considerably cooler in them than outside! It was lovely visiting these caves in the height of summer and feeling a bit of relief from the heat. Please note you will have to carry younger children, if they are not steady on their feet. This is another location that had no official information online when I first wrote the post. The prefecture has put some information up, but it is very brief.
▷Official snippet on a page on Shizuoka Prefecture website! More information in English on City-cost.com.
12. Fuji International Speedway
Fuji International Speedway is in Oyama, just north of Gotemba. You’ll probably find this hard to believe, but even the Fuji International Speedway had no website when I first wrote this post! Now, 2022, not only do they have a website they have an English website too! You can visit the circuit even when there is no races on, but it is advised that you check their schedule first as sometimes they close for maintenance.
This is just a small sample of the attractions in and around Gotemba City on the side of Mt Fuji in Shizuoka. There are of course some great views of Mt Fuji in the area too.