If you’re looking for breathtaking Mount Fuji views while in Kawaguchiko, perhaps you’ve come across Tenku no torii (torii in the sky) in your research. And, if you’re one to delve into Google reviews, you’ll also know it’s quite a polarising attraction. Here’s the rundown on Tenku no torii and how to visit.

Mount Fuji at Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi

The Tenku no torii hype

This mountainside red torii gate actually belongs to the Asama Jinja Shinto Shrine located at the base of the mountain. A sacred symbol of Shintoism, this gate was erected in 2019 as a place to worship Mount Fuji from afar. At the same time, a variety of cherry blossom saplings were planted in the area to further enhance its charm.  

There are actually a number of torii gates between Asama Jinja Shrine and the top of the mountain. Tenku no torii is the third highest and there’s another a little higher near some waterfalls. 

The area surrounding Tenku to torii is a little sparse due to its recent development, but that tableau featuring a giant Fuji and charming vermillion gate has led Tenku no Torii to become a social media sensation in recent years and, as a result, crowded.  

How to visit the Torii in the Sky

We visited Kawaguchiko in November 2021 when the site was relatively new and Japan was mostly closed to tourists amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, there was no visitor fee nor was it an issue to take photos with a DSLR. But times have changed, so here’s what you need to know. 

At the time of writing, there is a small ¥100 fee per person to get a photo of the torii with the Mount Fuji backdrop (using a smartphone). This feels justified particularly because the shrine staff have to monitor the area and queues all day. There is also a two or three minute time slot for you to take photos before the next group comes through. Shrine staff are on hand to take photos for you—at which, they are no doubt pros. If you have a DSLR camera, there are additional fees and protocols which you can read about here.

Tenku no torii is first and foremost a shrine—a place to bask in the glory of Fuji-san. It was not designed for Instagram photoshoots, picnics or impatient tourists, so please go in with that mindset. The shrine has compiled a number of rules for conduct and photography here

Mount Fuji at Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi

How to access Tenku no Torii

If you have a car, there is a small car park near Tenku no torii that fits 5 cars. Further up the road is a 10-car car park near the highest torii gate and waterfall. It may also be possible to get a taxi from Kawaguchiko town. 

For those walking, it’s a fair hike. We followed the asphalt road which wound past the main Asama Shrine and the Mahoroba Campsite (home to some incredible-looking glamp sites). From Asama Shrine to Tenku no torii is around 1.6km of winding uphill road that rises 162m. 

What I have realised in writing this article is that we definitely went the long way. The Asama Shrine website has a map which shows a walking path/staircase up the mountain that we completely missed. The map says it’s about a 20-minute uphill climb on the staircase to Tenku no torii, then a further 10 minutes to the top torii and waterfall. 

Though we made this trek with little information and poor planning, we certainly enjoyed ourselves and had ample time to connect with the area. On the way down, we stopped at the Mahoroba Campsite for a beer and took in the equally majestic views.  

Mahoroba Campsite
Mahoroba Campsite – just before Tenku no torii
Mount Fuji at Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi
Views from the Mohoroba Campsite

Notes and tips

This seems like a given, but make sure it’s a clear day and that you can see Fuji from ground level before venturing uphill. 

Next, do your research. Be sure to read the shrine’s rules regarding photography, and it can’t hurt to check the most recent Google reviews to see if anything major has changed that might impact you. 

Be prepared for crowds. We anticipate this spot will continue to be very congested, particularly in future years when the sakura are mature and blooming.

Mount Fuji at Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi

When to go

It’s open year-round, however the best times to see Fuji are in Autumn and Winter when the skies are clearest. As a general rule of thumb, arrive early in the day to avoid the main crowds. This spot currently closes at 4:00pm and the staff will hurry everyone out at that time, so it’s best to aim for the morning.

Mount Fuji and Lawson, a classic Kawaguchiko sight

Other Mount Fuji views

If you’re not up for the mountain hike, there are countless other amazing Fuji views surrounding this sacred volcano. Whether on land, sea, or cable car, there are opportunities to witness the majesty that is Fuji san. Here’s a tip: you only need to take a few steps from Kawaguchiko Station to see another other iconic Japanese view pictured above. 

Name: Tenku no torii 
Address: 1119-2 Kawaguchi, Fuji Kawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0304 (google link here)
Open: 9am – 4pm 
Admission: ¥100 per person for photos. DSLR photography licence is ¥500.  
Website: https://asamajinja.or.jp/precinct/ 

Post by Japan Journeys.