Visiting Mount Fuji is just so freaking surreal. This is the kind of place you just see in movies, or see a “crazy professional traveller” visiting. The truth is, any of us can visit absolutely anywhere in the world, with a pinch of courage and a splash of ‘YOLO’.
So with that being said, we seriously hope you are adding this to your bucket list as we speak, and being proactive and making the plans to visit Japan. Why the hell not? You’re not getting any younger…
Here is our quick guide to explain how we got to Lake Kawaguchiko from Tokyo via bus, to witness the spectacular Mount Fuji in all of it’s beauty.
Where to get the Bus from in Tokyo
So there are a few options to getting to Lake Kawaguchiko from Tokyo; bus, train or taxi.
We opted for the bus option as it was cheapest at the time and is always a good shout as you know it will drop you off right where you need to be (hopefully)! A taxi would of course be a lot more expensive, but would be even more precise on your final destination (it could drop you right next to the lake). The bus station is actually also the train station, so depending on the price, the train could be just as good.
So the bus departs from Shibuya Station in Tokyo, and where you want to be going to is Kawaguchiko Station in Yamanashi – the journey takes 1.5 hours and costs 2,000 yen (£14.20) each way.
For whatever reason, we actually had trouble figuring out when the return bus was, so once we got to Kawaguchiko station, found out the last bus back to Tokyo was sooner than we thought (but still had plenty of time luckily). Our biggest tip to you would be:
Check the return times of the bus BEFORE your travel day (or just get there super early). Also, be sure to double check the return time on arrival at Kawaguchiko station, which can be found indoors on a whiteboard near the ticket desk – if you’re unsure, please just ask at the counter as you do not want to be stranded here!
Getting Around Once you get to Kawaguchiko Station
We opted to walk, because we were amongst mountains surrounded by the most beautiful streets and scenery, so we wanted to take it all in at our own pace.
Here is a little map of our walking route, which went around a chunk of the lake and across the bridge – absolutely magnificent views in all directions. In comparison to the whole lake, this walk doesn’t look like much, but it was more than enough as it took us a couple of hours (strolling and taking photos) and we had amazing views of Mount Fuji pretty much the whole way round!
Your other option is to rent a bicycle, which would definitely be the best option in our opinion, as you have the option to cover a lot of ground and also stop whenever you feel like it!
The only reason we didn’t rent a bicycle, is because the shop we went in required ID/passport to keep for a deposit, which we stupidly didn’t have. We also didn’t realise at the time that there were two other bicycle shops around the corner (pinned on map below)!
You can expect to pay 1,500 yen (£10.60) per day for a bicycle.
The shop we went to is Sora No Shita, where you can actually pre-book rental items online and pay beforehand, then collect, which seems like a simple process. But, do take ID along with you just in case, despite their website saying nothing about them keeping ID or a passport… was this a scam maybe? Or do they not trust tourists?
TIP: Make sure you check the tyres and your brakes before you leave the shop, and demand to swap your bicycle if you think something isn’t quite right.
Our Secret Photo Spot
This place we found by chance. Once we had crossed the bridge and were looking for the best way off it, to continue the path around to the East of the lake, we spotted some local teens up on a big hill.
“Omg we have to go up there too to get a photo of Mt. Fugi!” I excitedly shouted to Luke.
Not knowing this hill is where a little shrine was kept, and having official steps up around the other side, we scrambled our way up the rocks in which we thought was the only way up! But we managed to get to the top, and the views were INSANE.
Our tip to you would be to use the ACTUAL steps up to the shrine, then behind the shrine is where you can find the big rock to sit on and take the views in.
Squeezing in a Visit to Chureito Pagoda
Sadly, we didn’t have time for to visit this place, even though it was on our bucket list! So please make sure you visit on our behalf…
You can find incredible views of Mount Fuji, along with the stunning Chureito Pagoda and surrounding trees. Such a perfect view and photo spot!
How do you get there? Once you arrive at Kawaguchiko Station, you can then book another return bus from there! There are plenty of boards around for all these buses were talking about, as well as little kiosks inside the station to be able to talk to someone and book.
Getting Back to Tokyo
The bus departs exactly where it dropped you off, at Kawaguchiko Station. Like we mentioned before, the last bus home was sooner than we thought, cutting our day of exploring a little shorter than we had hoped.
Take our advice and remember to check the return bus times in advance, and also double check them at the station before you run off all excited towards the lake!
Our Top Tip for Travelling Japan
It wasn’t until the end of our trip that we discovered the Live Japan Website (and app).
It shares tonnes of Japan travel guides, covering trips, food, shopping and lodging. There is so much info on there so definitley worth having a little read before you visit.
There are also lots of guides on Mount Fuji, including itineraries, when to see it and even about climbing it!
Another tip, is to keep an eye out on the Klook website. We had only heard of Klook when we got to Asia, which is a super popular, cheap app which gives you amazing deals on attractions, tours and tickets.
If you actually compare the prices to other websites (and on the door prices), you can see there is such a difference and it can save you a fair bit!
Have a browse below for some incredible Mount Fuji tours from Tokyo!