Mount Fuji can be seen in the distance from Tokyo but many take a day trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo
One of the things I really wanted to see during my holiday in Japan was Mount Fuji. I mean, who wouldn’t with all the awe inspiring photos that are on the Japan tourist brochures! Every year millions of visitors from abroad make the trip to Mount Fuji, even though you can see it in the distance from Tokyo. As I was in Japan for a couple of weeks it was on my bucket list to visit Mount Fuji. And it was easy to organise my day trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo. Here’s how you can do it too!
A bit about Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is an active volcano some 100 kilometres southwest of Tokyo. It stands 3,776 metres high and is a Japanese icon. It is one of Japan’s 3 sacred mountains and is commonly called ‘Fuji-san’ and Fujiyama. Yama means mountain in Japanese. Many people, including many Japanese, visit Mount Fuji every year. You can either visit and just look at the beautiful mountain view or hike to the summit. I only visited the site, as I visited outside of the hiking season. But I wasn’t disappointed at all!
Where is Mount Fuji?
Mount Fuji is in a south-south-west direction of Tokyo. It sits at the border of Tokyo’s neighbouring prefecture Yamanashi and is just under a 2 hour train ride from Tokyo and a bit longer if you take the bus or drive yourself. Factor in this travel time, particularly if you are only heading to Mt Fuji for the day.
Can you see Mount Fuji from Tokyo?
You sure can see Mount Fuji from Tokyo but it is just a mountain in the distance. The prime choices are from observation platforms at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Observation Deck, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree. It can also be seen from the observation deck on the 5th floor of Haneda International Airport also. So when arriving or leaving Japan you could pop up to the 5th floor of the airport for your first or last look at Mount Fuji. Why visit Mount Fuji if you can see it from Tokyo? Well, for being able to see it up closer and to enjoy the local area around it.
When to visit Mount Fuji for best Visibility
You can visit Mount Fuji any time of year however, if you want to actually see it then you need to take into consideration three things. The weather, the seasons and the time of day. Having good weather is important to see Mount Fuji because if it is a cloudy day, more than likely it will be hidden behind clouds. A clear sunny day is best. Now the mountain’s appearance varies significantly by season and for best visibility. The best season to visit Mount Fuji is from autumn to winter (September to February). And the best time of day is usually during the morning. If all this sounds like pot like – I think you are right!
Can You Hike Mount Fuji and When Can You Hike It
Hiking Mount Fuji is possible but you will need to visit during the climbing season. The climbing season runs from July to mid-September. If you hike to the summit of Mount Fuji you will be afforded spectacular views of the Southern Alps, Izu Peninsula, and the lakes below. The mountain trails are off limits outside of the climbing season as they can become very dangerous with snow during winter. Depending on the trail you choose to ascend Mount Fuji, the hike can take anywhere from 5-10 hours. This is doable during your one day visit to Mount Fuji.
As climbing Mount Fuji is very popular there are times to avoid as you will encounter huge crowds. If you don’t fancy standing in queues to climb Mount Fuji it is best to avoid school vacation from July 20 to the end of August. In particular avoid Obon Week in mid-August.
Mount Fuji is divided into ten stations. First station is at the foot of the mountain and the tenth station being the summit. Most start their hikes at the 5th stations. Get more details on climbing Mount Fuji here.
How to Get to Mount Fuji
You have a number of options to get to Mount Fuji. You can go on an organised tour. These often include other places on the trip, such as Lake Hakane. Many take the bus or train from Tokyo.
Taking the Bus from Tokyo to Mount Fuji
If you prefer travelling by bus, one of the easiest ways to get to Mount Fuji is on one of the Highway buses. There are several regular services that operate between Shinjuku/Shibuya/Tokyo and the Mount Fuji area. The places to get off are at Kawaguchiko Station, Fuji-Q Highland (where you will find a theme park), Fuji-San Station and Lake Yamanakako. Where you alight will depend on what you want to see. If you want to explore the lakes around Mount Fuji you should alight at Kawaguchiko or Yamanakako. Most alight at Kawaguchiko Station, then hop onto a local bus and get up to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station which is a popular tourist spot. Plus, it is the starting point for the main Mount Fuji hike.
A bus ticket from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station will cost about A$24 (one way) with the journey taking around two hours. From this station to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station you are looking at paying A$28 for a return ticket which will take about 50 minutes or so to reach.
TIP: Take into account the travelling time to reach Mount Fuji and to return to Tokyo. You could be travelling for 5-6 hours. Therefore, leave as early as possible on your day trip to Mount Fuji because you want to enjoy the mountain and the area as much as possible during daylight hours.
During the climbing season there is a direct bus from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th Station where you can start hiking Mount Fuji. This trip takes about 2.5 hours and costs around A$36. You can book your ticket on the Highway-buses.jp website.
Taking the Train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji
If you prefer train travel, you can take a train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji. The fastest train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji takes just under 2 hours and costs around A$50 one way. The train leaves from Shinjuku Station and travels directly to Kawaguchiko Station. If you purchased a JR Rail Pass, check to see if the train trip to and from Tokyo to Mount Fuji is covered in your pass.
Book a Day Tour to Mount Fuji
How to Spend your Day at Mount Fuji
See Mount Fuji from Chureito Pagoda
See Mount Fuji from Chureito Pagoda
Most who visit Mount Fuji want to get great photos. As Fuji-san is so large you can get great views from many places. One iconic photo spot is from Chureito Pagoda which is located nearby Shiomyoshida Station or Chuodo Shimoyoshida bus stop. The Chureito Pagoda is part of the Arakurayama Sengen Park Shrine and if you ascend the 400 some stone staircase you will be treated to a fantastic view of Mount Fuji with the five-storied pagoda at the same time. And the ferry blossoms may be flourishing if you pick the right time of year for your Mount Fuji visit.
Visit One or All of the Five Lakes of Mount Fuji
Other things to see and do on this Mount Fuji day trip could be to visit one of the five lakes that are sitting around the base of the mountain. These lakes are referred to as the Fuji Five Lakes or Fujigoko. These lakes are Lake Motosu, Lake Shoji, Lake Sao, Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Yamanaka. They form part of the Mt Fuji Cultural World Heritage Site that it became in 2013. Each lake offers different things. Lake Kawaguchi is renowned for its scenic beauty. Oishi Park in the vicinity of this lake affords excellent views of Mount Fuji. There is also the Forest Museum with its medieval European decor offering a display of music boxes. Lastly, there are plenty of hot springs to relax in and enjoy the scenery of Mount Fuji. You could also ride the Mount Fuji Panorama Ropeway offering panoramic views from 1075 metres or take an Excursion Boat around Lake Kawaguchi.
Enjoy a Local Meal
Enjoy a bowl of Miso Soup made from local ingredients
As well as enjoying the views of Mount Fuji and sightseeing around Lake Kawaguchi, enjoy some local delicious meals. Famous Hoto Fudo is near Kawaguchiko Station and is famous for its Hoto, a miso-based soup loaded with locally grown ingredients and firm-textured noodles. There are also other dishes to try if hungry after a long morning sightseeing such as Kokuto Taki Inari (flavoured boiled rice wrapped in fried bean curd).
Ride the Roller Coasters at Fuji-Q Highland
If you have enough time you could spend your afternoon at the Fuji-Q Highland which is one of Japan’s most popular amusement parks. There are four rollercoasters to ride and plenty of other rides to enjoy. You could spend the whole day here or after exploring the Mount Fuji area for the morning, spend the afternoon at Fuji-Q.
There are other things to see and do however, you will need to do some research on the local bus and train routes to get to the places such as Hakane. You may want to extend your stay if you want to see and do other things around Mount Fuji.
Explore Lake Sal Iyashinosata Ancient Japanese Village
If riding the roller coasters aren’t your scene, you may want to explore Lake Sal Iyashinosata Ancient Japanese Village. This village is a recreation of a village of old that-roofed farm houses in the silt called Kabuto-zukuri (made like a helmet). When you view the houses from the side, the roof looks like a samurai’s helmet. A typoon levelled this area in 1966 so you won’t see many of these old houses in existence, this is why these houses are replications. None the less, a great opportunity to experience the style of house and thethe only place where you can take photos of the majestic Mount Fuji in the background of this setting of old traditional-style farm houses.
Find Perfect Souvenirs of your sightseeing around Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi
If you came to Mount Fuji by train, it is time to return to Kawaguchiko Station where you will find an antennae shop that has a wide selection of local products and souveneers. Cheese, cookies in the shape of Mount Fuji and other delights to help you remember your day trip to Mount Fuji. Possibly a light meal is on the cards before your journey back to Tokyo.
Extend your stay at Mount Fuji
Extending your stay at Mount Fuji is easy. I would suggest if you plan to stay longer, book your accommodation beforehand. Accommodation is located in the towns located around the base of the mountain. Here are some suggestions. Seeking a bed in a hostel check out Mt Fuji Hostel Michael’s. If seeking a hotel, you can’t go past Hotel Mystays Fuji Onsen Resort. For other options, check out Booking.com.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Mount Fuji for a Day
Mount Fuji should be on your bucket list for your trip to Japan. Being the highest mountain in Japan, and a volcano, it is a site worth seeing and is synonymous with Japan. Even though many visit Mount Fuji on a day trip from Tokyo, if you have more time, definitely think about extending your stay and truly explore the Mount Fuji area. I hope you enjoy your trip to Mount Fuji as much as I did. I’d love to hear about your visit or planned visit in the comments following.