The city of Gotemba is located in the eastern
part of Shizuoka Prefecture near the foot of the
majestic Mt. Fuji, making it a base for
transportation to sightseeing areas around the
mountain, Fuji-Goko (Fuji five lakes), and Hakone.
The average elevation of the city is about 450
meters, and as high as 600 meters in some spots.
While snow during the winter season is not
unusual, the summer months are also cool, making
the city known as a summer resort area since olden
times. The summer resort area was popular even
among foreigners, and many people from the United
States and others countries resided there. The
world-famous movie director Akira Kurosawa also
owned a villa in Gotemba, and many motion pictures
have been filmed on location there. Many villas
and company resort houses are still located in the
area, and there are more than ten golf courses
throughout the city.
A popular new local attraction is the Chelsea Premium Outlets found in this resort town, Gotemba. Around 165 shops of famous brands from Japan and overseas directly manage their stores in this area, making it the very first large-scale American-style outlet shopping center built in Japan. The area has parking facilities for about 4,000 vehicles, a figure that gives you an indication of its size. Its scale is such that one day is not enough to see it all; therefore, it might be a good idea for you to decide what shops to visit beforehand. There are a number of food and drink facilities there, allowing you to enjoy a full day of shopping.
In addition, near Gotemba Station is Chichibu-no-miya Memorial Park, a site which once served as a place of residence for the Royal Family, but is now open to the public. The park abounds with nature throughout the four seasons, and the main house features a type of thatched roof peculiar to Japan.
A regular bus leaving from Gotemba Station takes you to Fuji Safari Park where you will encounter various animals. The ride takes about 35 minutes. Moreover, a 20-minute taxi ride will take you to the Fuji Speedway where F-1 races are held. A cart course is there to let you enjoy a driving experience yourself.