Friday, May 16, 2014

Going to Mt Fuji By Bus

One of the items on my bucket list when I went to Tokyo is I need to go and see Mt Fuji first hand.

Perhaps like anyone out there, I have seen so many pictures and movies that feature Mt. Fuji in the background and it has always amazed me. However, little did I know that even the best photographers in the world, using the most advanced state of the art DSLR cameras will not do justice to the beauty of Mt. Fuji. It really looks undescribably beautiful if you see it yourself and somehow, that "thing", feeling, or sensation of seeing it up close is lost when you just look at it in picture.

So that begs the question: how do you exactly go to Mt. Fuji? There are many tips online but most of them recommend taking the JR train from Tokyo. I find that expensive since for a solo traveller like me, that is really not an option. So here's a detailed instruction on how to go to Mt Fuji for only JPY 3,000 / Php 1,500.

First, you gotta find your way to Shinjuku Station. Based on wikipedia, this is the world's busiest train station, with I think 2 million people using this station daily. Sounds like a lot of people but it is right in the middle of Tokyo and being a major transport hub, you just cannot miss it.

From there, you have to follow the signs that lead to Keio Highway Bus. Just go to the Keio Bus Ticketing Office and buy a roundtrip ticket to Kawaguchiko Station (not to be confused with Mt. Fuji since if you say Mt Fuji, the Keio staff might think you intend to climb Mt Fuji itself and you will end up paying more; unless of course you really plan to climb the mountain). Once you are issued tickets, you will be asked to wait in the assigned platform number for the bus to Kawaguchiko Station. You can also request for a roundtrip ticket. Just estimate the time that you intend to return to Shinjuku from Kawaguchiko Station and they will gladly issue the return ticket.

Once you got the tckets, just wait for the bus at the assigned platform. Here's how the bus looks like:

The bus is very comfortable and it has an electronic monitor and billboard where the stops are flashed so there is no chance for you to miss the Kawaguchiko station (the last stop of the bus). It takes more than 1 hour from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station (about 1 hour and 20 minutes).

For the best view, take the window seat on the left side of the bus. You will see Mt Fuji after 1 hour of travel and from there on, if the weather (and the gods) are with you, then you will have a majestic view of Mt Fuji =)

^^This is the Bus Stop of Keio Bus from Shinjuku: Kawaguchiko Stop. And yes, that is Mt Fuji in all its glory during early spring...not a cloud in sight.

If you will be taking the train to Kawaguchiko Station, this is the stop just beside the bus stop of Mt. Kawaguchiko.

So, from Kawaguchiko Station, how do you go to Lake Kawaguchiko? If you happen to go there during the cold months (autumn, winter, early spring), then walking is the way to go. There are prominently marked directions on how to go to Lake Kawaguchiko. But if you find yourself here at the middle of a sweltering summer heat, then take the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus. You just buy the ticket at Kawaguchiko Station for JPY 500 for the unlimited ride of the bus. The bus is a vintage type bus and it looks like this:

^^The Kawaguchiko Sightseeing bus at Kawaguchiko Station.

Now, if you take this bus, you will be treated with a breathtaking view of Mt Fuji being reflected by the still waters of Lake Kawaguchiko. Something like this:

now, if you want a view from the top, there is a cable car that takes you to the top of one of the hills near lake Kawaguchiko that offers a somewhat different view. I recall the cable car was not that expensive so I rode it. Again, very good views.

So to those planning to go to Mt. Fuji, it need not be expensive and unless you intend to stay for 14 days in Japan and you have a JR pass, then I will always recommend taking the bus. =)


  1. Hi, thank you for sharing your experience.
    We are visiting japan this coming autumn.
    When you say sit on the left side of the Keio bus,
    is it to our left when facing the front of the bus?
    Also which side should we sit on when riding the Kawaguchiko sightseeing bus?
    We are visiting for 8 days, we plan to do:
    Day 1-3: tokyo
    Day 4: kawaguchiko day trip to see Mt. fuji (depending on weather forecast), then take late afternoon trip to osaka
    Day 5: osaka
    Day 6-7: kyoto
    Day 8: osaka, we got an evening flight back home

  2. oops sorry if this will come in late =) almost a month late that is. For whatever it is worth, when I said left, I mean when you are facing the front of the bus =) On the Kawaguchiko sightseeing bus, you can sit anywhere since Mt Fuji is so near =)