Chureito Pagoda

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The five-storied Chureito Pagoda in Yamanashi Prefectureis a key part of Japan’s most recognizable landscape—the area around Mount Fuji. You’ve definitely seen it placed in the foreground of Japan guidebooks and Instagram photos, even if you haven’t been there.

The only catch is that to get to the pagoda and soak up these incredible views, you have to walk up 398 stone steps.

Also known as the Fujiyoshida Cenotaph Monument, the pagoda was built in 1963 as a memorial for the city’s 960 citizens who died in war. It honors those lost from the First Sino-Japanese War in 1868 all the way to WWII. Today, the pagoda stands proudly as the centerpiece for Arakura Sengen Shrine.

Seasonal views at Chureito Pagoda

There’s really no bad season to visit.

Chureito Pagoda resides on a mountaintop, and although saying so doesn’t do it justice, the view is simply spectacular. On a clear day from the viewing platform, you’ll see the pagoda, a sweeping panorama of the city below, and the magnificent Mount Fuji dominating the background.

The autumnand spring seasons turn the scenery into something even more eye-catching. In autumn, colorful maple leaves make the vibrant reds of the temple truly pop. Spring, on the other hand, sees the pagoda seemingly rise from a sea of cherry blossomsto create an iconic image.

Make sure you wear good walking shoes for all those steps!

Sounds amazing, right? The only catch is that to get to the pagoda and soak up these incredible views, you have to walk up 398 stone steps. You can take it slow and enjoy the surrounding nature, or race to the top like the local school kids.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself out of breath halfway. This is probably the most popular photography spot in Japan. That means if you want to capture that perfect snap, you might want to work on your cardio.