For landscape photographers, Saiko (Lake Sai) is the least popular lake among the Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes). The number of photos of Mt. Fuji taken from this lake is much less than the other four Fujigoko lakes. The main reason why this place isn’t very popular is that Mt. Ashiwada lies between the lake and Mt. Fuji and thus we can only see the top of Fuji from Saiko. By the way, “-ko” indicates lake so Lake Saiko is a bit redundant translation but I think it is more understandable for those who are not familiar with Japanese. There is one great location for shooting mount Fuji on the lakeshore of Saiko, which is located at the western bay of Lake Sai.
If you want to take photos of Fujisan reflected in the surface of Lake Saiko, go there at night. It is a very quiet place, and the water surface is usually more calm than daytime. The exposure time of the above shot is 273 seconds (4’33“). I like the concept of 4’33″ by John Cage and thus often use this shutter speed. Needless to say that you’d better get a cable release with a built-in timer. I enjoyed sheer silence while the shutter was open. Do you know what is the most important thing to succeed in long exposure photography? It is philosophy. You need to be a philosopher to take good long exposure shots. No doubt about it.
There is another reason why I recommend you to visit there at night. It is quite difficult capture reflections in the morning.
When the sky is dawning, a guy working for a boat rental shop comes down to the shore and throw his boats into the surface. Then, anglers come to the shore and get in the boats. As a result, the reflections are completely destroyed.
Since this is the only one decent place along the shore of Lake Saiko, it is rather difficult to shoot the reflection of Mt. Fuji at dawn from Lake Saiko. I understand that they have to run their business. I just hope that they sometimes take a day off. Then, I’d go there on that day to capture the reflections of Fujisan.
A local let me know that fishing is prohibited in winter. It may be a good idea to visit there to capture the reflection in winter (January 1 through February 28).