Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s iconic landmarks. It’s not a surprise that it’s also a Cultural Site on the UNESCO’S World Heritage List. In Japanese the mountain is called Fuji-san (富士山) and it’s considered to be a sacred place. As it’s about 100 kilometers from Tokyo, it’s fun and fairly easy to plan a day trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo. While we were in Tokyo we didn’t want to miss a visit to this perfect painting-like mountain. Thus, we decided to pay a visit to Lake Kawaguchiko. There we had a lovely sunny day walking around this amazing town with Mount Fuji as backdrop. We also decided to go to the Chureito Pagoda for another iconic view of the mountain.
In this article we’ll share some useful information about visiting Lake Kawaguchiko and the Chureito Pagoda. We explain how to get there, plus how to travel around. First we share some brief information about climbing Mount Fuji, which we did not do ourselves.
Climbing Mount Fuji
It’s possible to climb Mount Fuji, but we would recommend to take at least two days for it. The official season to climb the mountain is between July and September, as the weather is a bit milder and the snow has melted. It’s also possible to climb the mountains off season, but be aware that it gets a lot colder and that if you’re not an experienced trekker it’s not recommended.
Because it’s a sacred mountain people make pilgrimages to the top. Meaning it can get pretty busy, it’s even often dubbed as the most climbed peaks in the world. There are also a lot of foreign tourists that climb Mount Fuji and about 30% of the trekkers are not Japanese.
There are various trails to climb Mount Fuji: Yoshida Trail, Subashiri Trail, Gotemba Trail and the Fujinomiya Trail. Overall, it’s supposedly not a very difficult hike. However, it can take quite a long time, so it is not necessarily recommended to do it in a single day. Click this link to read more about the trails, duration of the hike and other relevant information.
A Day Trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo
Where to see Mount Fuji
Please be aware that it’s not always possible to see Mount Fuji due to clouds and low visibility. In this article you can find some tips to increase your chances of having a good view of the sacred mountain. We were very lucky and had a clear blue sky during our visit, and we could see the mountain very, very clearly.
There are five lakes around Mount Fuji, namely Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Saiko, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji. We decided to go to Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Saiko and the beautiful Chureito Pagoda. We definitely recommend visiting Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Saiko, as both lakes offer multiple wonderful views of Mount Fuji. Of course it’s also possible to visit one of the other three lakes during your visit, and we have heard they have some excellent views too. If you’re planning on a day trip and seeing Mount Fuji from multiple lakes, plan your time wisely! Chureito Pagoda is also worth a visit, as from here you’ll get the famous view with the temple and Mount Fuji in the background.
How to get from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchiko
It’s quite easy to get from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchiko, and you can do so by bus and train. We decided to travel by bus from the Shinjuki Station, and we left around 8 am. If you’re only going for a day trip like us, we recommend going early to get the most out of your day.
It’s possible to get your bus tickets online or at the ticket office at the Shinjuki Station. We paid around 30 euro a person for a return ticket. Please be aware that prices can vary. When you get your bus tickets, you already need to state the times you’ll leave from Tokyo and when you return from Lake Kawaguchiko. So it’s a good idea to have a rough plan on what you’ll want to see. The time our bus left from Lake Kawaguchiko was around 6 pm. So we were at Mount Fuji from approximately 10 am to 6 pm. We had enough time for traveling around Lake Kawaguchiko Lake Saiko and going to Chureito Pagoda.
How to travel around Mount Fuji
In Kawaguchiko you can travel around town by bus. Once we arrived at the Kawaguchiko station we bought a day ticket and with that ticket we could use the Kawaguchiko Line and the Saiko Line. The Kawaguchiko line runs along the eastern and northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, while the Saiko Line runs along the southern shore and Lake Saiko. These day tickets can be bought at the station and cost about 10 euro each.
It’s also possible to get a rental car or a rental bicycle. Find out more about rental cars and other means of transportation in this article by Japan Guide under Orientation.
How to get to the Chureito Pagoda from Lake Kawaguchiko
We also decided to go to Chureito Pagoda from Lake Kawaguchiko. Unfortunately the bus lines we had tickets for didn’t go there. Therefore we decided to take the train from Kawaguchiko station to Shimoyoshida station, which takes approximately ten minutes and cost 3 euros per ticket. From there it is really easy to walk to the Chureito Pagoda.
What to do at Mount Fuji
During our visit at Mount Fuji we mostly took the bus or walked around and enjoyed the scenery. Everywhere we went we had Mount Fuji as backdrop and we basically didn’t stop taking photos. Next to the Chureito Pagoda, we visited Iyashi no Sato, which is the site of a former village on the western shores of Lake Saiko. They reconstructed the traditional houses with the thatched roofs and now it’s an open museum. It’s a beautiful peaceful place, and we walked around here and had some ice cream. It is also possible to buy local handicrafts here and learn more about the Japanese culture.
It is also possible to go to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, which is a beautiful flower festival. This takes place between April and May. Also, if you have the time, why not stay at a hotel with an onsen? An onsen is a traditional Japanese bath, and there are many great places where you can enjoy these baths with a view of Mount Fuji.
Have an amazing time at Mount Fuji! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions.
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