So you want to see Mt Fuji, that 3,776-meter-high icon of Japan? It’s actually a volcano, but let’s not think too much about that… Whether you plan to climb to the summit or just Fuji-spot around the lakes below, there are a few different transport options. Here’s an overview of how you can get from Tokyo to Mt Fuji, in or out of the climbing season, plus other useful stuff to know.
tl;dr Buses are the easiest, fastest, and cheapest option for getting direct to the mountain. If you prefer trains to buses there are A LOT of options! Including fancy direct trains, theme trains, and regular trains — though these only get you as far as Kawaguchiko. Most options depart from Shinjuku.
Quick comparison of transport options from Tokyo to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (for climbing Mt Fuji)
|Direct bus||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆||★ ★ ★ ★ ★||¥2,950||2.5 hrs|
|Express train + bus||★ ★ ★ ★ ☆||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆||¥5,280||3 hrs + transfer time|
|Regular trains + bus||★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆||¥3,660||3.5 hrs + transfer time|
|Car + bus||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆||★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆||¥6,160||3 hrs + waiting time for the bus|
Quick comparison of transport options from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko (for Fuji-spotting in the Fuji Five Lakes)
|Bus||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆||★ ★ ★ ★ ★||¥2,000||2 hrs|
|Express train||★ ★ ★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★ ★ ★||¥4,130||2 hrs|
|Regular trains||★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆||★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆||¥2,510||2 hrs 45 min + transfer time|
|Car||★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆||★ ★ ★ ★ ☆||¥3,060||2 hrs|
First of all, where exactly is Mt Fuji?
Mt Fuji straddles the border of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, southwest of Tokyo. It’s about 100km away, so at a minimum it’s a proper day trip (or overnight trip if you’re climbing).
Kawaguchiko is a popular resort town in the Fuji Five Lakes region at the base of Mt Fuji and a useful transport hub for the area.
For climbers coming from Tokyo, the Yoshida Trail, which starts at the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, is the most convenient of the four trails to the summit. It can be reached direct from Tokyo or from Kawaguchiko.
Both the Yoshida Trail and Kawaguchiko are on the Yamanashi side of Mt Fuji.
When is the best time of year to go to Mt Fuji?
Mt Fuji has an the official climbing season, which runs from 1 July to 10 September. (On the Yoshida Trail; the other trails open on July 10th).
Important: Some people try to climb Mt Fuji outside of the climbing season but this can be super dangerous! Outside of the climbing season, the mountain trails are off limits and first aid stations are closed. Check out our guide to climbing Mt Fuji for other need-to-knows.
Fuji Five Lakes (Fuji Go-ko), meanwhile, is a year-round destination for hiking, hot springs, and Fuji-spotting.
Direct buses during the climbing season
During the climbing season (1 July to 10 September), hikers can take a direct bus from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, which is the starting point for the Yoshida Trail. Bus tickets cost ¥2,950 one way, and the trip takes about 2.5 hours. You can book tickets on the Highway-buses.jp website.
Year-round buses (Tokyo–Kawaguchiko–Mt Fuji)
Year-round there are buses from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko. And, from around April through November (depending on the weather), there are buses from Kawaguchiko to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.
Tokyo to Kawaguchiko buses
The most frequent departures are from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal, which is also the most user-friendly of Tokyo’s long-distance bus hubs. These buses run about once an hour, with more frequent departures in the morning (for Kawaguchiko) and in the afternoon (returning to Shinjuku).
There are also departures from Shibuya Station and Tokyo Station. All buses also stop at Fuji-Q Highland (the theme park for thrill-seekers, which is a fun addition to a trip to Mt Fuji).
The journey from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko takes about two hours and typically costs ¥2,000.
All seats are ticketed. You can purchase tickets online in advance. We recommend checking out the booking sites Willer Express and Kosoku Bus, as well as Highway-buses.jp, to compare routes and ticket prices.
Note: This is a little confusing, but a few years ago, the city of Fuji-Yoshida (near Kawaguchiko) changed the name of its train and bus station to Fujisan Station, which appears on timetables in English as Mt Fuji Station. Fujisan/Mt Fuji Station is NOT the stop for climbing Mt Fuji! Fuji-Yoshida does, however, have some neat, historical attractions.
Kawaguchiko to Mt Fuji buses
From Kawaguchiko, buses run on a seasonal schedule to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. Buses depart hourly during the climbing season and less frequently in the shoulder season. The ride takes about 50 minutes and costs ¥1,570 (or ¥2,300 for a return ticket). You don’t need a reservation.
Pro tip: You can also book an all-inclusive sightseeing tour from Tokyo to Mt Fuji and Hakone. You can take the bus both ways, or take the bus there and ride the Shinkansen back.
Taking the train from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko
If you aren’t so keen on a bus, you can take a train from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko. However, this is pricier than the bus and, if you want to get the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, you will still need to take a bus from Kawaguchiko. As with the buses, Shinjuku is the most convenient departure point. Options include deluxe limited express trains (the priciest) and a combination of regular trains.
Wait, can I take the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Mt Fuji?
Sort of. You can take the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Mishima. This takes just under an hour. Note that only Kodama and some Hikari trains stop at Mishima (no Nozomi trains stop at Mishima but if you are using a Japan Rail Pass you are not riding Nozomi trains anyway).
From Mishima Station, buses run hourly-ish to Kawaguchiko (schedule here). The journey takes about 90 minutes and costs ¥2,300.
Fuji Excursion limited express trains
The Fuji Excursion limited express train is the fastest train from Tokyo to Fuji-san, taking just 1 hour 53 minutes from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station.
The cost of a one-way journey is ¥4,130. All seats are reserved. It’s a nice train with outlets at every seat, toilets, and space for luggage.
- Departure times from Shinjuku Station: 7:30am, 8:30am & 9:30am (weekdays); 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am & 11:13am (weekends and holidays)
- Departure times from Kawaguchiko Station: 3:05pm, 4:51pm & 5:36pm (weekdays); 3:05pm, 3:57pm, 4:51pm & 5:36pm (weekends and holidays)
Note: This train runs on both JR lines (from Shinjuku to Otsuki) and Fujikyu Railway lines (from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko). The Japan Rail Pass only covers the JR part (the JR Tokyo Wide Pass is an exception; it covers travel on Fujikyu Railway). Pass holders need to pay a ¥1,570 surcharge for the Fujikyu Railway part of the journey. Fuji Excursion trains also stop at Fuji-Q Highlands en route to Kawaguchiko.
JR limited express trains from Shinjuku
A compromise option (price/convenience-wise) is to take a JR Limited Express “Kaiji” train from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki, then transfer to the Fujikyu Railway for Kawaguchiko. You can also get Kaiji trains from Tokyo Station. A few “Azusa” trains also stop at Otsuki, so we’ve included those below as well. Board on platform 2 at Tokyo Station and platform 9 at Shinjuku Station.
The total journey takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours (depending on transfer time) and costs ¥3,530.
- Departure times from Tokyo Station: 3:15pm, 4:15pm, 5:15pm, 7:15pm, 9:45pm & 10:45pm daily
- Departure times from Shinjuku Station: 7am (Azusa), 7:30am (Azusa), 8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 9pm (Azusa), 10pm & 11pm daily
- Departure times from Otsuki Station: 7:36am, 8:25am, 9:21am, 10:16am, 10:54am (Azusa), 12:06pm, 1:06pm, 2:06pm, 3:06pm, 3:57pm, 4:47pm, 5:45pm (Azusa), 6:30pm, 7:05pm (7:08pm on weekends and holidays), 7:36pm, 8:38pm & 9:09pm daily
Otsuki Station is pretty small and easy to navigate, so don’t worry about that. Fujikyu Railway trains between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko run once or twice an hour. Here is the schedule for Kawaguchiko-bound trains and the schedule for Otsuki-bound trains. Note that some of these are ~special~ trains that require a small surcharge (more on that below).
You can use your IC card to exit the JR tracks but you will need to buy a paper ticket to ride Fujikyu Railway trains.
Regular trains from Tokyo and Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko
There are two daily regular trains that run direct from Tokyo Station via Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station. These are commuter trains so they depart Tokyo in the evening and Kawaguchiko in the morning. The train you’re looking for in Tokyo is the “Chuo Line Commuter Rapid (For Kawaguchiko)” and it will depart from the Chuo Line tracks (platform 1 at Tokyo Station; platform 11 or 12 at Shinjuku). The journey takes a total of 3 hours from Tokyo Station and 2 hours and 45 minutes from Shinjuku. It costs ¥2,690 from Tokyo Station and ¥2,510 from Shinjuku.
- Departure times from Tokyo Station: 6:08pm & 7:05pm (weekdays); 6:09pm & 7:12pm (weekends and holidays)
- Departure times from Shinjuku Station: 6:23pm & 7:20pm (weekdays); 6:23pm & 7:26pm (weekends and holidays)
- Departure times from Kawaguchiko Station: 5:49am & 6:19am daily
It is also possible to do this same route throughout the day with transfers. The price will be the same but it may take 20 to 30 minutes longer depending on transfer times. Take the JR Chuo Special Rapid Service to Takao, then a Chuo Main Line train for Otsuki. At Otsuki, transfer for a Fujikyu Railway train for Kawaguchiko.
Special Rapid Service trains run approximately every 20 minutes (except during the weekday morning rush hour when there are no Special Rapid Service trains). A regular rapid train adds maybe 10 minutes to the journey. Some trains terminate at Hachioji; if yours does, just wait for the next train that is continuing on to Takao.
Important: Do not get on an Ome-bound train! If you do, by accident, then get off at Tachikawa (before the line splits) and get a Takao-bound train there.
Super Cheapo option!
Take a Takaosanguchi-bound Keio Line train from Shinjuku to Takao. At Takao, transfer to a JR Chuo Line train for Otsuki and then transfer again for a Fujikyu Railway train for Kawaguchiko. This takes about as long as going non-direct, regular JR all the way but costs a little bit less: ¥2,130.
Make sure to catch one of the special express trains, which gets you to Takao in about 50 minutes (as opposed to like 80 minutes on the local). They run often enough; see the schedule here. Do not get a train bound for Hashimoto or Keio-Hachioji! Especially not Hashimoto; if you get a Hachioji-bound train get off at Kitano and transfer to a Takaosanguchi-bound train.
Fujikyu Railways special trains
Travel from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko is on Fujikyu Railway, which runs several resort/theme trains in addition to regular trains. These trains only run a few times each day so we’ve included the departure times below (so you don’t have to look them up yourself!).
The base fare is ¥1,170; listed below are the additional costs to ride each of these trains. Travel time between the regular and express trains is negligible (like 5 minutes). All trains also stop at Fuji-Q Highland Station.
Fujisan View Express
A fancy train with big windows for Fuji-spotting en route. On weekends and holidays, first class reserved seats can only be booked as part of a “sweets package” that includes sweets and coffee/tea and costs adult/child ¥4,900/¥3,900
Departs Otsuki: 11:52am & 2:55pm weekdays; 11:48am & 2:55pm weekends and holidays
Departs Kawaguchiko: 9:40am & 1:11pm daily
Surcharge: ¥400 for an unreserved seat; first class reserved seat on weekdays ¥1,300
Another express train. It has cartoon Fujis on the exterior, which is a fun photo-op.
Departs Otsuki: 12:48pm & 15:52pm WEEKENDS ONLY
Departs Kawaguchiko: 11:10am & 2pm WEEKENDS ONLY
Surcharge: unreserved/reserved seat ¥400/¥600
Fuji Tozan Densha
A cute old-timey train with wooden seats. It is not running at the moment but when it does it costs an extra ¥200.
Thomas Land Train
A regular train decorated with characters from Thomas the Tank Engine.
Departs Otsuki: 7:55am, 10:01am, 2:17pm & 5:03pm weekdays; 7:55am, 9:59am, 2:17pm & 5:05pm weekends and holidays
Departs Kawaguchiko: 6:40am, 8:57am, 12:42pm & 3:51pm weekdays; 6:40am, 8:57am, 12:42 & 3:21pm weekends and holidays
Discount train/travel passes
Fujikyu Railway has a few different discount schemes for rail passengers coming from Otsuki. Getting to Otsuki from Tokyo is not covered by any of these passes and costs ¥960 on a combination of Keio and JR regular trains, ¥1,340 on regular JR trains, and ¥2,360 on a limited express JR Azusa or Kaiji train. Purchase discount passes at Otsuki Station.
Fujisan Express Free Ticket
Covers round-trip travel on either the Fujisan View Express or Fujisan Express trains (unreserved seats only) over two days.
Fujisan 5th Station Free Ticket
Covers round-trip travel on regular trains between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko PLUS round-trip bus fare between Kawaguchiko and the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station over two days.
When: July through November
There are a few other discount transport passes available — enquire at Otsuki Station. More details.
What about the JR Tokyo Wide Pass?
The JR Tokyo Wide Pass, which costs ¥10,180 does cover the Fuji Excursion limited express train (the priciest but most convenient train), which is a round-trip value of ¥8,260. The pass is good for three consecutive days, so if you tack on a day trip to Nikko or even just a ride into Tokyo from the airport on the Narita Express you are saving money.
Driving from Tokyo to Mt Fuji
In addition to the usual caveats about the cost of driving in Japan (and the stress of driving in Tokyo), there are pros and cons for taking a car (your own or a rental) to Mt Fuji. On the pro side, if you want to do anything other than climb Mt Fuji, having a car is handy for visiting attractions (like onsen!) without having to rely on irregular local buses. It also makes gear wrangling easier.
On the other hand, private vehicles are banned from the access road to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station during most of the climbing season. It’s usually open in early to mid-July. For the rest of the climbing season you have to pay to park at a big lot (¥1,000) and take a bus up the access road (round-trip ¥2,100). Also, unless you are in very good shape your legs are going to hurt the next day which can make driving kind of miserable.
The highway toll for a regular car from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko costs somewhere between ¥2,500 and ¥3,500 (ETC price) depending on where you are starting in Tokyo and the route you take. Use Nexco Drive Plaza’s toll calculator to determine the exact cost. The drive takes about two hours (depending on traffic) — longer if you need to get through central Tokyo.
So if you want to explore the area before or after climbing Mt Fuji, it makes most sense to rent a car in Kawaguchiko.
Helicopter to Mt Fuji
Okay, this isn’t a realistic option for most of us, but for those with cash to burn and/or special occasions to celebrate, there is a helicopter tour that takes you from Tokyo to Mt Fuji (the area nearby, anyway) and back. You’ll fly to Hakone, taking in Mt Fuji and other sights from the skies.
Staying overnight? See our Mount Fuji accommodation guide.
This post was first published in June 2017. Last updated in April 2022.