If you plan on traveling to Japan, allot a day for Mt. Fuji. I thought it would take a lot of time, money and effort to witness the magnificence of this famous landmark but it actually takes only a day, and it requires less spending than you’d expect. Before you start the journey, always remember that you are going to do a lot of asking around. Don’t be afraid to do so. Just prepare your questions and ask politely. Most Japanese who work in terminals and subway stations are somehow well versed in English, so it’s really ok to ask.
I am sure there are many other ways to get to Mt. Fuji but I will only focus on bus rides. There are two options; from Shibuya Station and from Shinjuku. Let’s talk about the Shinjuku option.
Start early. You need to get to Shinjuku Station at 7:00 AM. When in Shinjuku, you will see a lot of signage to different destinations but look for the Mt. Fuji logo that’s colored blue. Follow the sign and once you’re outside of the station just look for the Keio Highway Bus Terminal. The terminal operates around one to two buses per hour from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station directly to Kawaguchiko Station. Your route is to Kawaguchiko station and your ticket should just be about ¥1,750(P674). It’s a two-hour ride to Kawaguchiko and you will arrive almost exactly as your expected time of arrival (ETA). If it’s autumn season, expect a beautiful landscape of trees and flowers in different colors so better have your cameras ready. Once close to Kawaguchiko, you will already see Mt. Fuji towering above other mountains. It’s a majestic view but trust me, it’s even more beautiful up close.
Once you arrive at the Kawaguchiko station, you can go straight to the concierge area to ask for a map and information on how to go around Kawaguchiko Lake. The map itself contains the route that you will take including the schedule of the bus in each terminal and the available hotels surrounding the lake. Each station comes with a number. Basically, majority of the tourist spots are located near the highway and is readily accessible. You can ask the concierge on the spots that s/he can recommend. For us, we were recommended to visit stations 16,17,18,19 and 22. It’s where the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center and Museum of Art are located.
You can also just go directly to station 1. Station 1 is where you start your ride around Lake Kawaguchiko. Lake Kawaguchiko is one of the famous tourist spots to go sightseeing and picture-taking with Mt. Fuji as your background. Another location is Lake Saiko which is only a bus-ride away from Kawaguchiko. We weren’t able to visit Lake Saiko but Lake Kawaguchiko alone is more than enough.
Before riding the bus, make sure to have coins with you. It’s really a hassle if you have bigger bills, trust me! I was forced to pay 10,000 Yen for a 280 Yen bus ride, all because I didn’t have change. Inside the bus, there’s this monitor that calculates your fare from station 1 to your point of destination and the fare changes as you pass by each station. From there on, it’s all up to you to explore.
After a day’s tour and you’ve finally decided to go back home, you can still take the same bus back to Shinjuku. If you missed the last trip, you can take the train instead. In our case, we transferred four times and each trip has an average of 15 stations. We got home after almost 4 hours so if possible, don’t miss the bus, please.
|Transportation (Bus)||Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Sta. (two-way)||P 1,349 (¥3,500)|
|Transportation (Kawaguchiko Bus)||(It depends on where you want to go)||P 578 (¥1,500)|
|Food||¥1,000/ P385 per meal||P 1,156 (¥3,000)|
|Incidental||¥1,000/day (P384/day)||P 385 (¥1,000)|
P 3,468 (¥8,992)
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