When you think of Japan, Mount Fuji will undoubtedly quickly pop into your mind. This majestic mountain is one of the main icons with a prominent role in the Japanese culture and history. The highest mountain of Japan was elected UNESCO World Heritage in 2013 and is climbed by 300.000 people every year!
Together with Mount Haku and Mount Tateyama, Mount Fuji composes the ‘Three Holy Mountains’. They are considered sacred places and believed to have special powers. For this reason, many people want to visit the mountain. Especially, Mount Fuji being the highest mountain in Japan. The most popular area is Kawaguchiko area (Lake Kawaguchi), one of the “Five Fuji Lakes”. With a direct connection to Tokyo, this place is popular for day trips as well as weekend trips.
In this blog we will discuss several options to get to Kawaguchiko area from Tokyo. If you are interested in activities in the area, other than climbing Mount Fuji, have a look at our blog
Fun things to do around Mount Fuji (Kawaguchiko Area)
1. The easiest way: bus
The main advantage of taking a bus is that is “easy”. With easy we mean that there is a direct bus from Tokyo, that will take you in about 2 hours to Mount Fuji-san. Another bonus is that it’s also cheap! Depending on your departure station, costs will approximately be ¥2,000 – ¥2,500, depending on the time and day. Below three different options:
- From Shinjuku station
The biggest bus terminal Busta Shinjuku is located at south gate of Shinjuku station. 30+ busses depart here every day to Kawaguchiko. You can buy direct ticket from this website.
Kawaguchiko is Yamanashi prefecture.
- From Tokyo station
Another option is to depart from Tokyo station. Please check this website.
This is less busier than Shinjuku route.
- Kosokubus.com – several departure points
The organisation runs from different stations in Tokyo including Ikebukero and Shibuya.
Disadvantage of the bus
- Sell out very quickly, a timely reservation is recommended!
- The buses are often busy.
- The bus is also affected by traffic jams, especially during spring and summer season, the bus might be late because of traffic jam.
2. The comfortable way: train
The most comfortable option is travelling by train. Trains are not effected by traffic jams, often aren’t late (in Japan) and not crowded. Plus, if offers more flexibility to your itinerary. Especially with the JR Rail Pass, this option is probably the best and cheapest option.
From Tokyo to Kawaguchiko by train will take you approximately 2 – 3 hours and cost you ¥2.500 – ¥3.500 (Shinjuku station – Kawaguchiko station)
- From Shinjuku station take JR Chuo line Otsuki Station
*Being covered by JR rail pass.
- At Otsuki station change train to FujiKyuko
*Not being covered by JR rail pass.
Another option is taking the direct train from Shinjuku station to Kawaguchiko station, the Chūō Line will take you there in a little under 3 hrs and is covered by the JR Rail Pass.
Disadvantage of the train
Shinjuku station in enormous and you can easily get lost. But with several trains every hour, you will be fine. Just calculate some extra time to find your train. Check your timetable at GoogleMaps or any planner you use.
3. The flexible and luxury way: car
The option that gives you a lot of freedom and is comfortable is renting a mini-van or car. The price for renting a car in Tokyo for a day starts at approximately ¥3,500. That doesn’t include gas and also bear in mind you will you some tollways. But especially when you are travelling with a (small) group, this might be your preferred way. Driving in Japan is very safe, just make sure you know the main road rules. Also Japan has very strict drink-driving laws.
A car will give you a lot of flexibility, as you can easily make a stop whenever en wherever you want. Also, you are not dependent on the time schedule of the public transportation.
You will need a legal International Driving Permit / international driving licence, without one you cannot rent a car in Japan. So make sure to bring the right documents. If you are interested in renting a car or a mini-van, we can make the arrangements for you, please send us a message.
Disadvantage of the car
- When travelling solo or as a couple, this can be expensive. Also, when you are not returning the car to the same pick-up point, you will be charged extra.
- You are affected by the traffic, especially during spring and summer season, the road can be busy and you can get stuck in traffic.
- If you do not speak Japanese and get in an accident, you might experience difficulties.
Getting around in Kawaguchiko
If you decide to travel to the area by car, you can easily make your way around in the area. But if you decide to opt for the bus or the train, you will need additional transportation to get around. In the area, the JR Pass is not of much help as there are no JR trains or buses covering the area. Fortunately there is another option: the Sightseeing Bus. There are three different bus lines that cover the Mount Fuji area departing all from Kawaguchiko station. For ¥1,500 you can buy a two-day unlimited rides pass for the buses. Please find the timetable and details at the official website.
Which of the above mentioned options do you prefer? The lake area around Mount Fuji is exceptionally beautiful and we cannot recommend you highly enough to travel there. Now that you know how to get there, here are some fun thing to do in the Mount Fuji area (Lake Kawaguchi) what to do there.
If you are interested in our guided tour, please let us know. We are happy to customise the tour according to your wishes.
We hope you have a great time and see beautiful Mt.Fuji!