The quaint historic village of Iyashi no Sato in Fujikawaguchiko (also known as Saiko Iyashino-Sato Nenba) is like a trip back in time. Set to the backdrop of scenic Mount Fuji, the thatched houses underneath low hanging cherry trees are a stunning sight to behold.
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- Adults (High school students and above): 500 yen
- Children (Elementary and junior high school students): 250 yen
- Prices are 50yen cheaper per person for groups
- Adult with a disability: 150 yen
- Child with a disability: 50 yen
- Parking is free
- March to November: 9am to 5pm (last entry at 4.30pm)
- December to February: 9.30am to 4.30 pm (last entry at 4pm)
Iyashi no Sato (いやしの里) translates to “Healing Village,” which perfectly describes the therapeutic qualities of the region around Mt Fuji and the peacefulness of the cultural immersion the village has to offer.
The historic farming village sits on Lake Saiko’s northwestern shores facing the famous volcano. It’s hard to tell but the quaint settlement isn’t original.
In 1966, the village was destroyed in a mudslide that was caused by a typhoon.
Forty years later, its 22 traditional thatched roof houses, which were designed to look like samurai warrior helmets, were reconstructed. So the tourist village of Iyashi no Sato was born.
Now, this Kawaguchiko attraction is an open air museum and traditional craft village. You can come and experience various aspects of traditional culture on your Japan trip.
There are hands-on experiences such as trying your hand at traditional crafts, sampling local cuisine and dressing up in traditional garb like armor, samurai outfit or a kimono.
What to Do
Iyashi no Sato offers a lot of different activities and opportunities to learn about Japanese culture and tradition. Wandering around the village leaves you feeling like you’ve been transported back in time and into a fairytale.
Each of the 22 houses you walk by have something different to offer. Some are museum-like and offer informational displays about the village and its history.
Entry is: ¥500 (adults), ¥250 (children), valid as of Dec 2023
Don’t miss out on hands-on craft making experiences. You can join a pottery workshop, discover the crafting secrets of handmade paper, crepe-cloth ornaments, and hand-woven fabrics, or learn about charcoal production, which was once the main industry in the Nenba area.
Next, rent a kimono or traditional samurai outfit for 500 yen and have an epic photoshoot in front of Mt Fuji. For something a little different, check out the Erosion and Sediment Control Museum. It’s a fascinating place to learn about how the typhoon affected the original Nenba community.
How to Get Here
Getting around Iyashi no Sato is easy and convenient. If you only have one day, you can make it a day trip from Tokyo.
If you have a car, driving is the cheapest and fastest way to get from Tokyo to Iyashi no Sato, which costs around 12 to 18 USD and takes 1h 39m.
The most convenient public transportation option to get to Iyashi no Sato for your traditional Japanese vacation is to take the bus from Shinjuku Bus Terminal. It takes about three and a half hours and costs between 20 to 30 USD with Shinjuku Expressway Bus. You’ll arrive at 根場民宿 via 河口湖駅.
There is also a train, but it is more expensive and takes about an hour longer. You can check train timetables and prices here. To give you an idea, you pay between 2,510 and 4,340yen (16-30 USD) for one way. You have to change trains 2-3 times.
If you’re starting in the Fuji Five Lakes region, take the Omni Bus Green Line from Kawaguchiko Station to Iyashi. It runs twice per hour and the ride is about 40 minutes.
Please note: Stand visibly at the bus stop so that the bus doesn’t overlook you and continues driving. It stops only as needed.
For the best value, buy the two day bus ticket. You can use it to hop on and off the local attractions and it will drop you off right at the village. I personally used this ticket twice and totally recommend it.
Of course you could also use taxis, though they aren’t cheap in Japan. Your best bet is to download the JapanTaxi app. It’s like uber but you need internet access to use it.
That is why I order a Japanese tourist sim card* before my trip or pack my portable hotspot* so I make sure to not get lost during my day trips. First time signups get a ¥1000 discount (~9 USD/8 EUR).
There is free parking by the village with space for about 120 cars and 20 buses. The village is equipped with an accessible slope and there are no steps. Here’s more info on accessibility.
When to Visit
Iyashi no Sato in Japan’s centre is stunningly beautiful all year round. Spring and autumn offer the best weather for walking around, and summer is the best time to visit for photography because views of Mt Fuji are the clearest during this time of year.
In the winter, snowfall turns the village into a scene from a magical fairytale. It truly is a perfect place for photography lovers and you get much different views than the typical Fuji photos from Hakone. So much foreground to play with!
From March through November, the village is open from 9am to 5pm. From December through February, the village is open from 9:30am to 4:30pm and is closed on Wednesdays.
Admission closes 30 minutes before closing, so be sure to get there early enough to get in and have enough time to explore. And double check the bus times so you won’t get stuck at the village. The last bus leaves in the afternoon.
Good to Know
Some of the huts can be entered and you can walk up to the second floor. In total, I would schedule in 1-2 hours for a visit. I spent 90 minutes here.
It never hurts to come prepared with snacks, but the village has three mouth watering dining options. Try delicious Japanese delicacies like stone baked soba noodles, hand rolled udon, and dumplings.
Be sure to save room for soft ice cream, which is one of the highlights of the area. The village’s ice cream shop has fun flavors like fuji apple, green tea, and wasabi.
Iyashi no Sato is also a great place to do some Japanese souvenir shopping. Here you’ll be able to find all the souvenirs you need for yourself and your loved ones back home to remind you of your Japan trip. You can get carved figurines or ceramics, for instance.
Where to Stay
You can’t actually stay in the Healing Village of Kawaguchiko but the town isn’t far away. And with so many attractions around Kawaguchiko, I highly recommend staying two nights to be able to explore the town comfortably. Here are some hotels I recommend for Kawaguchiko.
More from the Japan blog
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- Travelling the Kansai region
- Exploring UNESCO Heritage Site Nikko
- The best times to see flower shows in Japan
- Where to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto