So you want to see Mount Fuji, that 3,776-meter-high icon of Japan? It’s a volcano, but let’s not think too much about that. Depending on what it is you plan to do there (climbing to the summit, exploring the surrounding lakes, soaking in a hot spring or shopping—yes, seriously), your choice of transport is going to differ. Here’s an overview of how you can get from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, in or out of season, looking at the various train and bus options.
Easiest way of getting from Tokyo to Mount Fuji: Highway buses
Most visitors to the mountain seem to go for this option. In season (July to September), climbers can take a bus directly from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th Station (the Fuji Subaru Line one), which is the starting point for the popular summer sunrise hike that follows the Yoshida Trail. Bus tickets cost ¥2,700 one way, and the trip takes about 2.5 hours. You can reserve tickets here.
Outside the climbing season and for general visitors to Fuji-san, there are regular services that operate between Shinjuku/Shibuya/Tokyo and the broader Fuji area. Kawaguchiko Station, Fuji-Q Highland (the theme park for thrill-seekers), Fuji-San Station and Lake Yamanakako are the major get-off points. Where you alight depends on what it is you want to explore. Kawaguchiko and Yamanakako give you access to some of the lakes around Mount Fuji, which make for excellent walking and hot spring-ing spots.
A bus ticket from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station or Fuji-Q Highland will set you back about ¥1,800 (one way), and the journey takes two hours on average. If you’re going to Lake Yamanakako, you’re looking at closer to 2.5 hours and ¥2,100 yen each way. You can make reservations for the Tokyo to Kawaguchiko bus trip here and book the return part here. There are several buses a day, with the bulk of departures in the morning.
From Kawaguchiko Station, you can hop onto a local bus and get up to the Fuji Subaru 5th Station, as long as the roads aren’t snowed under. It takes about 50 minutes and costs ¥1,540 (or ¥2,100 for a return ticket). Buses leave once an hour off season, and slightly more frequently during the climbing season. You don’t need a reservation.
You can also book an all-inclusive bus tour from Tokyo to Mount Fuji.
Taking a train to Mount Fuji
If you aren’t so keen on a bus, you can take a train from Tokyo to Mount Fuji—but note that they are a bit more expensive than the buses. Your year-round options are as follows:
- Take a JR Limited Express train (Azusa or Kaiji) from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki, then transfer to the Fujikyuko Railway for Kawaguchiko. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, and costs between ¥3,290 and ¥3,910 one way, depending on whether a transfer in Takao/Tachikawa is required, and whether you’re traveling on a weekday or weekend.
- Take the JR Chuo Special Rapid Service instead, following the same route. It takes 10-20 minutes longer, but only costs ¥2,460 each way.
Note that some trains on the Fujikyuko Railway stop at Fuji-Q Highland too.
On weekends and public holidays in summer, you can also take advantage of the special Holiday Rapid Fujisan train that runs from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko. It departs at 8:14am and gets you to Kawaguchiko Station in about two hours and 15 minutes, costing ¥2,460 one way without a reserved seat. You can also take the similar Rapid Fujisan service on Fridays. These trains head back to Tokyo in the late afternoon, around 4pm.
Also on weekends and public holidays in summer, there is a once-a-day Narita Express (N’EX) train running directly from the airport to Kawaguchiko Station. It leaves Narita Airport Terminal 1 at 9:15am and gets to Kawaguchiko Station at 12:43pm. A one-way ticket costs in the region of ¥7,240—you’re paying for the convenience. Ask at JR ticket offices about availability.
Another rail option is to take the JR Tokaido Line for Atami from Tokyo Station, then transfer to the JR Gotemba Line for Mishima at Kozu Station. The trip takes about two hours and the fare is ¥1,940. From Gotemba Station, you can catch a free shuttle bus to Gotemba Premium Outlets (a mega mall) for some retail therapy, or take a local bus up to Subashiri 5th Station (in climbing season). This tour makes your Gotemba shopping adventure easy, and adds in a hot spring, too.
Cheapo tip: Between July and November, you can buy a two-day Mount Fuji 5th Station Pass, which gives you rail access from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko, as well as hop on/off bus access up to the 5th Station, for ¥3,700 at Otsuki Station. This saves you around ¥700.
You can also rent a car and drive from Tokyo to Mount Fuji.
This post was updated in June, 2018.
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