One of the most iconic peaks in the world, Mt. Fuji is a snow-capped volcano in Japan. Many visitors climb to the top to experience the most incredible views in the country. But there are also people who are happy to see Mt. Fuji from the base of the mountain. This is why there are many tours and resorts in Lake Kawaguchiko and Hakone. For climbers, we’ll show you the best way to get to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo. And if you’re just sightseeing, we’ll highlight the most popular attractions to visit in the area.

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How to Get to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo

There are a few options to reach Mt. Fuji from Tokyo. You can catch trains, buses, or taxis. We’ll first show you how to get to Kawaguchiko Station, the main stop near Lake Kawaguchi. From here, you can make your way to different trails via hourly buses. Most people though, go to the Fifth Station. This is where you can access the Yoshida trail. At the Fifth Station, you’ll have the most amazing views of the Fuji Five Lakes. It’s also the last chance to stock up on supplies before beginning your climb.

1. Bullet Trains & JR Pass

Japan’s train system is famous for its efficiency and convenience. While there are many options for trains, the Fuji Excursion Limited Express is the fastest. It also has the most comfortable seats since its a fairly new train. Keep in mind though, this journey is on 2 separate train lines. First, the JR Pass will cover you from Shinjuku to Otsuki station on the JR Chuo Line. The stops will be:

  1. Shinjuku (JR Chuo Line)
  2. Tachikawa
  3. Hachioji
  4. Otsuki (1 hour from Shinjuku)

Then from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko station, you’ll have to pay an extra extra 1,770 yen. This is because the train changed to Fujikyuko Line, a private company. From here, the stops will be:

  1. Otsuki (Fujikyuko Line)
  2. Tsuru-bunkadaigaku-mae 
  3. Mt. Fuji Station
  4. Fujikyu Highlands
  5. Kawaguchiko (55 minutes from Otsuki)

If you don’t have the JR Pass, it will only cost 4,130 yen one-way from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko for adults. For kids, it will be half the cost.  This is also a very popular trip so it’s best to book well ahead, otherwise you’ll be standing on the train. Now, there are some cheaper options if you catch the normal local trains. But they have a lot more stops and it’ll take up to 3 hours to get to Mt. Fuji. When you arrive at Kawaguchiko station, you can catch an hourly bus to your preferred trail.

2. Buses

A cheaper yet still direct alternative is taking the bus from Tokyo. A direct bus from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the Yoshida trail leaves twice per hour. The trip takes 2 hours 30 minutes and costs 2,950 yen. Or, you can take a bus from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko, then take an hourly bus to your preferred trail. This trip takes two hours and costs about 2,000 yen. Check out Willer Express or Kosoku Bus for reservations.

3. Taxis

It is possible to book a taxi from your hotel in Tokyo to Kawaguchiko Station. This could help you to avoid crowds and the need to buy tickets. But this is by far the most expensive option, with an average price of 35000 yen.

4. Mt. Fuji Tours

One of the better options is to join a tour group. You won’t have to stress about coordinating the buses and trains. However, most tours will only take you to the best Mt Fuji viewing points. These are generally attractions near Lake Kawaguchiko and Hakone. So for non-climbers, this will be a relaxing option. English-speaking guides operate these tours, sharing their local knowledge. You will get the most comfortable private transport to and from the Mt. Fuji area. Most tours depart very early to ensure you get the most out of the day trip.

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Climbing Mt. Fuji

The climbing season for Mt. Fuji starts in early June and lasts till early September. The Yoshida trail is the most popular for new climbers. It will take an average climber 6 hours to climb up, and 4 hours to climb down. Fortunately, there are many rest stops along the route. Some climbers head up in the afternoon, stay at a mountain hut overnight, and then see the sunrise at the summit. Otherwise, it can be tough to do the whole climb in one day. If you want to stay in a mountain hut, make sure you plan ahead and book in advance.

Things to do in Lake Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko is one of the best areas to stay for those who just want to see Mt Fuji. This resort town is popular for the hot spring ryokans near the lake. Some offer the best views of Mt. Fuji right from the room. If you want to experience the local culture, plan to stay for 3-4 days. For natural landscapes, visit Oishi Park or catch the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway. Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum and Itchiku Kubota Art Museum are also worth visiting. For thrill-seekers, you’ll love Fuji Q theme park. They have some of the fastest roller coasters in the world.

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Things to do in Hakone

Hakone is another popular area to see Mt. Fuji, ideal for non-climbers. It’s an easier and shorter day trip from Tokyo compared to Lake Kawaguchiko. At Shinjuku Station, you can use the Odakyu railway (Romance Car) or JR trains to reach Hakone. The journey will take about 90 minutes. Ideally, plan to stay for 2-3 nights to see the main attractions in the area. If you only have one day, catch the Hakone Ropeway to see the Owakudani crater. After a couple of stations, the ropeway takes you to Lake Ashinoko on the other side of the valley. There are sightseeing cruises on the lake where you’ll have the best views of Mt. Fuji. Other popular Hakone attractions are The Open Air Museum, Hakone Shrine, and Pola Museum.

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Where to Stay to See Mt. Fuji

There are many places to stay overnight around Mt. Fuji. Besides typical hotels, staying in a traditional ryokan with onsen is the best way to relax after a long day. Perfect for families and couples, many of these ryokans have views of Mt. Fuji too. Ryokans will often provide dinner and breakfast as part of your stay. With hot spring baths to relax in, you can just relax all day and skip the attractions!

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How Far is Mt. Fuji from Tokyo?

It is about 135km (83 miles) away from Tokyo. Catching a direct bus from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko is the fastest way to reach Mt Fuji.

Best Views of Mt. Fuji from Tokyo?

The most obvious spot to see Mt Fuji in Tokyo is from the Tokyo Skytree. It’s open daily from 10am-9pm. Obviously, make sure it’s a clear day before you head up to the observation decks. Other viewing platforms include Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, and Shibuya Sky.

Best Time to Visit Mt. Fuji?

If you want to climb Mt. Fuji, visit between early June and early September. This is the designated climbing season. You can start your climb in the afternoon, stay overnight, and watch the sunrise from the summit. Or, try to complete the climb in 1 day on the popular Yoshida trail. As long as you’re reasonably fit, it should take 6 hours going up, then 4 hours to come down.

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!