Top 10 Things To Do In Gotemba, Japan

things to do in gotemba

Gotemba, Japan, a small yet stunning city set just next to the iconic Mt.Fuji, is a real treat when traveling through Southeastern Japan. Cherry blossoms blooming in the springtime, unrivaled natural landscapes, a strong foodie culture, and premium outlet shopping are just a few reasons to put Gotemba on your list. Easily accessible by the train from Tokyo, Gotemba is a great place to escape the summer heat or the usual bustle of larger cities. Home to multiple natural wonders including lava caves, this is an excellent choice for families or nature-lovers of all ages. Whatever your agenda when traveling to Gotemba, be sure to add in some fun. Read on to discover the top things to do in Gotemba, Japan.

1. Indulge in some retail therapy at Gotemba Premium Outlets

Gotemba premium outlets
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user myself used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Gotemba is a mecca for those who love to shop with the Gotemba Premium Outlet’s some 200 brand-name stores from Japan and abroad. With names like Barbour, Givenchy, Issey Miyake, and Jimmy Choo, there is a store for every indulgence. Enjoy a variety of cuisines while you shop from traditional Japanese to steaks or crepes. Gotemba Premium Outlets are a must when visiting Gotemba, and offer beautiful purchases at reasonable prices.

Gotemba Premium Outlets

Address: 1312, Fukasawa, Gotemba-Shi, Shizuoka, Japan 412-0023

Website: Gotemba Premium Outlets

Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily from March - November); 10am - 7pm (daily from December to February)

2. Sip beer at Gotemba Kogen Resort's brewery

Sushi and beer
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JIP used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The beer at Kogen truly is unique to the area, using fresh hops and spring water from nearby Mt. Fuji. You can sip and dine happily on a range of cuisines as Kogen Resort has multiple restaurants, serving both beer-fare such as German style sausages, or traditional Japanese food at Chame. Head to Mugibatake, one of Kogen’s restaurants, to experience all five of Kogen’s beers, which are fresh on tap. While at Kogen Resort, don’t miss the shops and cafes, as well as the on-site hot springs.

Gotemba Kogen Resort

Address: 719, Koyama Gotemba-shi, Shizuoka-ken 412-0033, Japan

Website: Gotemba Kogen Resort

3. Try the sakura mochi at Toraya Kobo

Sakura mochi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ocdp used under CC0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Toraya Kobo is a traditional confectionery preserving the artisanal art of wagashi. Seasonal wagashi such as mochi, matcha kinton, and Karukan manju are some of the specialties that grace Toraya Kobo’s menu at different times of the year. Set in a beautiful forest, visiting Toraya Kobo is a must any time of the year. Kobo literally means “workshop” and it is this ever-changing, ever-learning mentality of Toraya Kobo that produces some of the most delicious sweets in all of Japan.

Toraya Kobo

Address: 1022-1 Higashiyama, Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-0024, Japan

Website: Toraya Kobo

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10am - 6pm (closed on Tue)

4. Rejuvenate at EXPASA Ashigara Service Area

Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

EXPASA Ashigara Service Area offers the opportunity to bathe in warm waters and unwind. Yes, EXPASA is a roadside rest area, but visiting these carbonated springs that overlook Mt. Fuji are truly worth the trip in and of themselves. One can stay overnight at EXPASA Ashigara; part of Japan’s system which offers roadside rest stops for travelers that are more than just a place for a bathroom break. Refresh and rejuvenate while on the road at EXPASA’s bath and sauna, a treat for the weary wanderer.

EXPASA Ashigara Service Area

Address: 792 Fukasawa, Gotemba 412-0023, Shizuoka Prefecture

5. Take a whiskey-tasting tour at Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jack Shainsky used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Gotemba was selected by the Kirin group because its climate is similar to Scotland, hence, a wonderful choice for brewing whiskey. Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery is a beautiful spot to spend some time learning about Japan’s 50-percent alcohol whiskey, which is known for its smooth taste. Tours are led daily, lasting about 70 minutes, and are free. The option for a tour in English is available. A trip to Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery is a wonderful way to start a growing interest in Japanese whiskies.

Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery

Address: 970 Shibanta, Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-0003, Japan

Website: Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon)

6. Explore lava tunnels at Komakado Kazaana Cave

Komakado Kazaana Cave
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user さかおり used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Komakado Kazaana Cave is an off-the-beaten-path natural wonder to be seen. The cave is quite large, although slippery, so be mindful when choosing shoes for the adventure. Bats linger in the cave, adding to the mystery and energy of this unique location. Though there is an entrance fee, it is quite small, and is used to maintain and the cave by the preservation society. If you’re a fan of geological wonders, make sure to add Komakado Kazaana Cave to your list of Gotemba activities.

Komakado Kazaana Cave

Address: Komakado, Gotemba 412-0038, Shizuoka Prefecture

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 3 USD

7. Admire the lava trees at Seikoen Lava Garden

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Beautiful Seikoen Lava Garden is a gorgeous botanical destination, with gardens that change season to season. However within the park, there is also the underground cave system, whose tunnels looks similar to the branches of trees, hence the term “lava trees.” Formed by the past eruption of Mt. Fuji, the caves have no provided lighting, and visitors must bring their own flashlights. Additionally, enjoy seasonal festivals at Seikoen Garden such as a Cherry Festival in the spring, and Maple Festival in the fall.

Seikoen Lava Garden

Address: 1382-1 Inno, Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-0008, Japan

Website: Seikoen Lava Garden

Opening hours: 8:30am - 5pm (daily from November - January)

Price: 2 USD

8. Picnic at Fujisan Juku no Mori park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

What could be lovelier than a picnic amid fresh air? Enter Fujisan Juku no Mori park with stunning views of Mt. Fuji; perfect for a summertime getaway. The park is relatively new and has ample facilities from children’s playgrounds to tennis courts, a souvenir shop, and restaurants. Be warned, there is little information in English, even on the website so be prepared to be resourceful when planning your excursion.

Fujisan Juku no Mori park

Address: 1380-15, Inno, Gotemba 412-0008, Shizuoka Prefecture

Website: Fujisan Juku no Mori park

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily from March - Nov); 9am - 4pm ( daily from Dec - Feb)

9. Make a pilgrimage to Jinbayama Shrine

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Gotemba is rich in holy shrines, with Jinbayama Shrine as one of the most beautiful to see. Jinbayama Shrine is used ceremonially to cut off ties with bad energy, and many people coming to Jinbayama are here to do so. The shrine is said to have been built during the Kamakura period, sometime between 1185 to 1333! There is also a nearby golf course close to the shrine.

Jinbayama Shrine

Address: 1138-1 Jinba, Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-0047, Japan

Website: Jinbayama Shrine

10. Hike Gotemba Trail to the summit of Mount Fuji

summit hike of Mount Fuji
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 名古屋太郎 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If your bucket list includes a summit hike of Mount Fuji, then get ready to hit Gotemba Trail which leads adventuresome hikers to the peak. The ascent from Gotemba 5th Station takes about five to seven hours, with a three- to six-hour descent. Needless to say, one needs to truly prepare before undertaking such a serious hike. The official climbing season is July to August, attracting some 300,000 hikers annually.

Gotemba Trail

Website: Gotemba Trail

Embrace all Gotemba has to offer

Beautiful Mt. Fuji from Gotemba's perspective
Source: Pixabay

Gotemba is a beautiful Japanese mid-size city, within sight of stunning Mt. Fuji. Whether you seek the thrill of new clothing, or climbing a mountain peak, Gotemba has something for every interest. Foodies will love the unique opportunities to try artisanal foods and drinks, and those who admire nature and culture will get their fill. Do not hesitate to include Gotemba on your upcoming travels–it’s waiting for you.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Raised in the woods of Northern Wisconsin, adventure pulses through Samantha's veins. Among the most notable adventures have been teaching agriculture in Kenya, WOOFing in Turkey, and learning...Read more

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