fuji

Mount Fuji.

In many ways, this snow-covered peak is the symbol of Japan, its image emblazoned on everything from classic woodblock prints to coffee mugs. And with Mount Fuji’s designation as a World Heritage site this year, you can bet its cultural significance will only skyrocket.

One thing the mountain is especially well-known for in Japan is the fresh water that is produced by its snow-covered peak. But who has time to climb a mountain just for some water? Not us! And apparently many other people don’t either, so here’s a list of places you can get Mount Fuji water—without all the hiking!

  • Oshino Hakkai – Oshino Village, Yamanashi Prefecture

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Taking its name from the view of Mt. Fuji that the area provides, Oshino Village boasts a beautiful park with springs fed by the natural snow waters of Mout Fuji. In addition to the springs, drinking water also flows from the ground, free to parched tourists. After snow melts and seeps into the earth, it travels slowly from the mountain to Oshino Village via underground lava flows. It’s said that the water takes up to 20 years to make its way from Fuji to the natural fountains of Oshino Village.

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Those visiting Oshino are free to take home up to 500 mililiters of water, but with Mount Fuji now a World Heritage site, they’re expecting a lot more travelers and don’t want their water to run out! Empty plastic bottles are available for sale in case you forget yours.

  • Fujiyoshida Rest Stop – Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture

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Located on National Highway 138, this is a great place to swing by to get some fresh Mount Fuji water while out on a sight-seeing drive. Or you could stop and get some water on your way to go camping!

Again, the water is free for the taking here, and there’s no limit, so you can pour yourself a few liters of water to take home with you. There are other fun things to see in the area as well, like the Mount Fuji Radar Dome Museum.

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  • Fuji Oyama Rest Stop – Oyama Town, Sunto District, Shizuoka Prefecture

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The only rest stop along National Highway 246, this is a great place to pull over and take a look at Mount Fuji. The wide-open rural landscape along with the grandeur of Mount Fuji are a great way to refresh yourself before getting back on the road. There’s also a natural well at the rest stop, upon which sits a statue of Kintaro, a folk-story hero from Shizuoka.

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The water here is said to be both delicious and very cool—great for a summer vacation! And, of course, if you have a container, you are free to take some with you.

  • Ashigara Service Area – Tomei Expressway, Shizuoka Prefecture

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The Ashigara Service Area—of which there is one for each side of the expressway—offers melted snow water straight from Mount Fuji out of a normal looking faucet. With faucets at both rest stops, you can swing by to get some water both coming and going.

The water rises from about 200 meters (656 feet) underground to the surface after 30 arduous years in the earth. While you’re free to take as much water as you like, it’s common courtesy not to be greedy—especially with another well just across the road drawing from the same source. Unfortunately, it seems that the water tastes a bit off. Maybe it’s all that time spent hanging out with underground lava!

  • Kakita River Springs – Numadzu City, Shizuoka Prefecture

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Counted among the 100 best springs in Japan, the Kakita River Springs are located in the nature-filled Kakita River Park just off National Highway 1. Visitors are often amazed by how quiet the park is despite its proximity to the busy road.

With its source—Mount Fuji—40 kilometers (24.8 miles) to the north, the water takes many long years to reach the Kakita River Springs, soaking up a moderate amount of minerals along the way.

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The water can be stored for about a month with no issue, so feel free to bring a couple of big bottles! The water is supposed to be good with soba, tofu, and ice cream. Also, while other springs have had issues with increases in nitric acid, there haven’t been any variations in the Kakita River Springs water quality for ten years, so it’s considered very stable.

  • Jinba Waterfalls – Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture

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Fed by the Gotomeki River and springs formed by Mount Fuji snow-melt rising from between lava flow, these three waterfalls in Fujinomiya are situated in a peaceful, green park.

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A natural spring with pipes installed to facilitate the flow of water also sits in one corner. The water apparently has a slightly sweet taste, making it perfect to sip on while relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery. The park also features a festival in the summer with children dressed like samurai to celebrate Minamoto no Yoritomo—the ultimate victor of the Genpei War—who once pitched camp here.

  • Narusawa Rest Stop – Narusawa Village, Yamanashi Prefecture

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Situated in the middle of the five lakes of Mount Fuji off of National Highway 139, the Narasawa rest stop affords weary drivers a beautiful view of the mountain. The rest area is also home to the Fujin Spring, one of Japan’s more famous springs. The water supply seems to be somewhat limited though as people are not allowed to drink from the spring between 5 pm and 9 am. Additionally, you’re only allowed one small bottle’s worth of water—no taking enough to last you for a few weeks! The water is always nice and chilled, though, as it rises 300 meters (984 feet) from underground to the surface.

And now we’re parched! As much as we’d like to head out to Shizuoka or Yamanashi, it looks like tap water will have to do for today…

Sources: Naver Matome

Image sources: Wikipedia (Oshino, Kakita River, Mt Fuji), Fujioyama, Tobashiru Mizu, Naver Matome