There’s nothing that soothes my soul quite like being by a lake or in the mountains. Fijukawaguchiko is the mother of all lake towns because it’s on the serene Lake Kawaguchiko and on the foothills of the majestic Mount Fuji. It’s a beautiful place to visit, but is it a livable destination?
Outside of its natural beauty, Fijukawaguchiko has small town vibes, which means it’s really both really peaceful but also kind of boring. Though there are a few tiny areas of life, almost everything else is fairly spread out, which makes walking around seem like a solitary activity. There’s little to no people watching to speak of. While I don’t necessarily need that, it’s nice to have the option without having to take a 2-hour train to Tokyo. Nature is definitely the main event in Fujikawaguchiko, and while a nice forest hike in the spring sounds lovely on vacation, I don’t want that to be one of the main forms of entertainment in my everyday life.
For being a small town, Fujikawaguchiko is actually a lot bigger than you would imagine. The only problem is that it lacks a convenient network of public transportation aside from a tour bus that takes you to nice parts of town, but may not easily get me home from any given place. It seems like the kind of place where I would benefit from owning a car, which is a big no-no for me. And I can’t see myself spending 15 minutes carrying groceries home through some desolate roads.
The city’s inconvenience also extends to dining. It’s very common for restaurants and bars to open for a short time for lunch and dinner but close relatively early. In fact, some places don’t even adhere to their posted hours and just turn people away when they’re ready to call it a day. That means that dining options are limited during a lot of the day. And part of what I like about living somewhere is being able to decide at any given time that I want to order pizza or go get ice cream.
Perhaps the most attractive part of living in Fujikawaguchiko is that the people are extremely sweet though there is more of a language barrier compared to other cities in Japan. It’s like an overwhelming combination of Japanese politeness and small-town sweetness that makes for the nicest people you’ve ever met. That being said, I’m sure being in an LGBT relationship in such a small town gets old. Politeness doesn’t necessarily equate to complete acceptance of certain lifestyles.
Another major upside to living in Fujikawaguchiko is the cost of living. Even though it’s a resort town and I expected quite a bit of tourism inflation, the price of dining out was markedly lower than anywhere else in Japan. I imagine living expenses like rent and utilities are also equally low. So perhaps it’s a nice place to retire when I’m more interested in a slower pace of living that comes with a lower cost of living. But for right now, I have way too much life to waste on a town that is so sleepy and calm.
Total Livability Score 2/10
It kind of seems like Fujikawaguchiko lacks all the conveniences of living in a big city of Japan. I’d love to visit again, but it’s going to be a no from me on living there.