Having Mount Fuji on their bucket list is an essential for every traveller. It is indeed one of the biggest jewels in Japan’s crown. Getting to Mount Fuji can be a tricky business. It can be reached by multiple methods and each route provides a different view. But if you are planning to pay a visit to this beauty, you’d certainly want to have the best observation point.
I thought of writing this post to explain the different routes that one can take to reach Mount Fuji. The routes mentioned below are written considering that Tokyo city is your starting point. Before you finalise on which course to take, you can visit this website to see which viewpoint will have the best view on that day, according to the weather patterns. If you have a JR Rail pass, it makes things more affordable and gives you the option of multiple routes.
Note: There can be much more routes to Mt. Fuji other than the ones mentioned in this post. This post is written based on my experience only.
Route 1: The Best Course
This is the best route to be taken as it provides you with the best view of Mount Fuji. The viewpoint is based at the ‘Kawaguchiko’ sight station. This is the best way get to the Kawaguchiko station:
Tokyo to Shinjuku (15 mins): You’ll need to take the local train to Shinjuku station (a major intersect of Tokyo city) from the Tokyo station.
Shinjuku to Otsuki (1 hour): Next up, you’ll have to take the JR Express Train from Shinjuku to Otsuki. This takes about an hour and the JR pass can be used on this line.
Otsuki to Kawaguchiko (1 hour): Finally, you’ll have to take the Fuji Kyuko Line (not covered by the JR Pass; cost: 1140 Yen) train to the Kawaguchiko station.
This takes another hour and the station gives you a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. If you are more interested, you can take a bus from Kawaguchiko to the base of Mount Fuji. The bus ticket costs about 1540 Yen and takes you to the ground level of the magnificent beast, Mt. Fuji.
Route 2: The Easy Course
I called this route an easy one as it’ll help you reach the foot of Mount Fuji, without having to spend an extra penny.
Tokyo to Mishima: Time for bullet trains! Take a ride in the famous Japanese bullet train and you will reach the Mishima station within an hour and a half. This station is not a viewpoint, but there is a bus service known as the “Fujisan City Bus” that can take you from the Mishima station to the ‘Kawaguchiko’ station. The bus ticket costs 2260 Yen and takes 1 hour 40 minutes to reach its destination. You’ll need to reserve a seat in advance, so do keep that in mind.
Mishima to Shin-Fuji: If you decide not to take the bus from Mishima to Kawaguchiko, you can take another quick bullet train to Shin-Fuji station, which is another viewpoint for Mount Fuji. You can hire a bike to get to the base of Mt. Fuji and have a better look.
Route 3: The Odd Course
This is an odd route and I don’t see any sense in taking this route, given that the before mentioned courses seem much easier. However, since this route does exist, I am guessing that there must be something good about it. It might even lead to a better view as compared to the other two. I didn’t try this route, so I still don’t know the reason for its existence.
Tokyo to Odawara (40 min): The Odawara station is located at a 40-minute bullet train ride away (covered by the JR Pass) from Tokyo.
Odawara to Gora (1 hour): You’ll need to take the local train from Odawara to Gora station. This takes 1 hour and costs 670 yen as it is not covered by the JR pass.
Gora to Sounzan (10 min): You’ll have to take a cable car from Gora to Sounzan. This takes just 10 mins but costs a hefty 470 yen. Cable cars are schedule-oriented and so you will need to make sure that you get the timings right.
Sounzan to Togendai (25 min): 25 minutes on the Ropeway from Sounzan will take you to the Togendai station, which is your viewpoint for Mount Fuji.
Looking at the various different mediums of transportation used on this route, one can already imagine that the route includes passing over the mountains and valleys. This alone convinces me that the odd route may actually be the best one, in terms of viewing the Mt. Fuji.
These were the three main routes to reach the individual viewpoints of Mount Fuji. Every viewpoint has a tourist information centre where you can get further info about how to get closer to Mount Fuji. The mountain is absolutely stunning and worth every minute of the amount of travelling done. Given the option of fast trains and efficient bus services, you can take a day trip from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji and back. It’s a great feeling to finally get to see the beautiful structure of Mount Fuji, half caked in snow. This was one of the most awaited checks off my bucket list. I ended the day trip by taking a train back to Kyoto from the Shin-Fuji station with a smile on my lips. And at the end of the day, that’s what truly matters.