With the autumn season upon us, the visibility here in Japan starts to become much greater. This is the perfect time to get out and see Mt. Fuji from some of the local areas that surround the base of the mountain. I have shot from Fujiyoshida city and from Yamanakako village but I have yet to get a nice clean image from the Hakone area. I have traveled to Hakone multiple times to visit the black eggs of Owakudani, to rest in the hot springs of the local Onsens, and even to shoot the magical Dragon shrine that rest on the shore of lake Ashinoko but I have never captured a “keeper” image of Mt Fuji.
This year I made it a point to try and get some new images of Mt. Fuji but from a distance and maybe have a cloud inversion between me and the famous Mt. Fuji. What is a cloud inversion you ask? Well it’s when the clouds setting in the valleys of the mountains which create some spectacular images. You can read more about Cloud Inversion in the link HERE. Back on topic, I planned to go and get a sunset shot of Mt Fuji from Daikanzan. Daikanzan is a local “Hill” that offers some remarkable views of Mt. Fuji and of Lake Ashinoko which you can reach the peak from one of 2 ways. The first of the 2 ways and the fastest is the paid toll road of Hakone Turnpike which has been also renamed Mazda Turnpike. This way will take you up the hill that has sweeping corners along with long straight aways which they use for races. I believe that you can take this road up to the top for a price of 750 Yen. If you want to save a buck, you can go to the lake front of Lake Ashinoko in Hakone and turn left and take this road to the top. Here is a Google Map Drop Pin for the exact location.
Once we got to the parking lot, it was about 3:30 in the afternoon so I got out the tripods to save our spots cause I had a feeling that when it gets closer to sunset, the mad rush of people trying to get a great spot to view the Mt Fuji will come. I had everything set up so I relaxed till the sun started to dip behind the mountains and the color started to come alive. Once the sun started to move below the horizon, I started to capture the landscape below.
I tend to start shooting about 20 minutes before sunset and keep shooting all the way past sunset into Blue Hour. The image above it one of the first images I captured but I waited just a bit more to see some of the golden hour come out in the scene.
Here the color has changed completely and the colors have become stronger with a orange color cast. If you wait just a bit more, the colors would only get stronger which will give you a very unique image.
Here you can see that the whole sky is on fire with an orange color cast that I talked about before. I really like the details in Mt. Fuji in the top image of the 2. You can see the fresh snow that covers the top that just happen a few days before. In the 2nd image, I love the light hitting the top of the hill in the foreground. The golden light just touching the tree tops and giving a nice warm filling in the image to go along with a blown out background. This image kinda feels like a painting instead of a photograph, but one thing I love about both of the images is the changing levels of darkness in the 3 hills in the image which is going from the foreground of the dark hill side to the mountain ridge in the middle to the lighter Mt. Fuji in the back ground. It gives a nice layer of depth in the image. I also switch out lenses to get a wide angle shot of the scene along with a few images in portrait layout.
Once I had what I wanted to get, I just waited till the sun totally went down and the last little bit of glow the sun still being in the sky. Once I had the light gone and getting in the Blue hour, I took a few night shots to finish the night off.
I took my last image of the night with the lights of the hotel on the water front turned on and the last little bit of orange in the sky. I really do love this lookout that I found of Mt Fuji from Daikanzan cause it’s really easy to get to. It costs nothing besides time and gas, and I love the fact that I could sit in my car waiting for the golden hour to start. It was very nice to just relax in the car eating my dinner that I made at home in the heat. I hope that you do get out and check out this amazing spot I just found last week. So what image do you guys like the most, Please leave me a comment in the section down below.