Fuji-View Hotel, Lake Kawaguchi, c. 1950.

1950sCommerceMt. Fuji/Hakone
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Aerial view, Fuji-View Hotel, Lake Kawaguchi, c. 1955.

“Bird’s eye view of Fuji-View Hotel on Lake Kawaguchi,” c. 1955.

Mt. Fuji ascent souvenir stamp card, front and back, Fuji-View Hotel, c. 1940.

“One of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen [during the Occupation] was the Fuji View Hotel at the base of Mount Fuji. It was built of wood and every room had a splendid view of either Mount Fuji or Lake Kawaguchi in the valley below.

“In autumn the scenery was simply breath-taking. By then, Mount Fuji had its first capping of snow. And as clouds formed in the afternoon and passed over the mountain, they created a slowly moving pattern of light and shadow that was almost hypnotic to watch. Autumn came early in the high country, and with it came the first frost that brought out the brilliant red and yellow hues of the Japanese maples and other hardwood trees.

“The Fuji View Hotel was justly famous, and in the years before the war it catered almost exclusively to an international clientele of wealthy tourists … The Fuji View was both a beautiful reminder of what Japan had been before the war, and a welcome escape from the rubble of [post-war] Tokyo.”

Let Slip the Dogs of War, by John W. Connor, 2008

Cherry blossoms and relaxing guests at the Fuji-View Hotel, Hakone, c. 1955.

“The hotel offers unrestricted panoramas of the majestic shape of Mt.Fuji from its front.

“The Fuji View Hotel’s extensive 100,000m² [25 acres] garden provides very different surroundings at each time of year, allowing you to enjoy the changing seasons in Japan.

“In spring, more than 300 cherry trees bloom, providing views of Mt.Fuji rising behind a sea of blossoms.”

Fuji View Hotel (official web site)

The Grand Lobby, Fuji View Hotel, Hakone, c. 1950.

The Grand Lobby, Fuji-View Hotel, Hakone, c. 1950.

“The view of Mt. Fuji across Lake Kawaguchi, in Showa days enhanced by the graceful turrets of the old Fuji View Hotel, is now stabbed by the unfortunate concrete pile that has replaced it.

Map: Mt. Fuji and the Five-Lakes districts, ca. 1950. The Fuji-View Hotel is labeled on Lake Kawaguchi at top-center. [Click to enlarge.]

“The old Fuji View was one of my favorite destinations in the 1960s and 1970s. It had the ambience and style of a European mountain resort hotel, with a swimming pool, tennis courts, wide terraces, and lawns dotted with deck chairs and parasols. Inside there were spacious lounges and quiet corners for reading, writing and playing board games. Affluent families from Tokyo, both Japanese and Western, would spend part of their summer here.

“There is little left of that atmosphere in the present building, but then, the concept of a ‘resort hotel’ itself seems to have vanished from these shores.”

Showa Japan: The Post-War Golden Age and Its Troubled Legacy, by Hans Brinckmann, 2011

“Main Dining Room”, Fuji-View Hotel, Hakone, c. 1955. Back caption: “DINING ROOM, planned in “Momoyama Style”, fashion of about 400 years ago, is situated commanding a magnificent view of the lake through a large picture window. Superior cuisine and service always at your command.”

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