One of the reasons we traveled to Japan was to see Mt. Fuji. Kawaguchiko is a town surrounding a huge lake with many good spots to see Mt. Fuji. It is possible to visit Kawaguchiko on a day trip from Tokyo. However, since Mt. Fuji is often covered in clouds, especially in the afternoon, we decided to stay a few days to increase our chances of seeing the mountain.
How to get to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo
We stayed for 2 nights, with the possibility to extend one or more days in case Mt. Fuji kept hiding in the clouds. We traveled by bus from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station, which takes 2 hours. You don’t need to buy a ticket in advance for this bus. There is another bus leaving from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station for which you need to buy a ticket in advance as this bus is more crowded. It’s also possible to take the train to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo, but the trains depart less frequent than the buses (at least in winter).
When we arrived in Kawaguchiko around 14:00, The mountain was completely covered in clouds. After booking our accommodation online when we arrived at the station (we’re always very last minute), we took the bus to our freshly booked hotel. There are multiple tourist buses driving around the town and the lake which are very convenient if you’re on a day trip and have limited time. They’re also very convenient for guests of hotels as there is always a bus which stops nearby your hotel. As there are more Ryokan (traditional Japanese rooms) than “Western” hotel rooms, we stayed in a Ryokan which was a fun experience.
Mt. Fuji didn’t show itself anymore on our first day during day light, so we could just relax a bit. When we were there (January 2018), there was a firework show twice a week which happened to be that evening. After having dinner in a nice Elvis Presley styled American diner, we went to see the fireworks show.
Our second day was our exploring day. We wanted to tick off as many Mt. Fuji viewing spots as possible. We got up early in the morning and rented bikes at our hotel.
Our first stop of the day was the Chureito Pagoda, which is around a 6 km bike-ride. After climbing lots of stairs, we got to the view point. It did not disappoint at all! The Chureito Pagoda itself isn’t that special, but the view of the Pagoda with Mt. Fuji in the background is just perfect. This place is a famous Mt. Fuji photo spot and among the best photo spots there are of Mt. Fuji!
After having lunch at a 7-Eleven along the road, we continued the journey back to the Kawaguchi Lake. Our next stop was Oishi Park, which offers a perfectly clear view of Mt. Fuji. Oishi Park has lots of different, colorful flowers which bloom during different seasons of the year. Unfortunately, none of these flowers bloom during winter so everything was just orange/brownish and not very colorful. The view of Mt. Fuji was still beautiful from this spot though!
After biking further along the lake, we came to our next spot: Rusugaiwa Rock. The view of Mt. Fuji is beautiful from here and it’s nice to sit on the rocks and soak the beautiful surroundings in. By the time we came here, there was a cloud forming around Mt. Fuji. Luckily, the cloud disappeared again and after an hour there were no clouds blocking the mountain. This is also the perfect place to fly a drone as it’s quite far away from the town and no one actually goes this far.
In front of the Kozantei Ubuya Hotel
We got back on our bicycles and biked back to the center of Fujikawaguchiko. Our next stop was the Kozantei Ubuya Hotel. In front of the hotel there are stairs that lead down to the shore of the lake. This is a very beautiful spot, but as it is close to the town center, it’s likely you won’t have the place to yourself. There’s a very unstable and broken jetty in the water which looks perfect for a photo, but we didn’t dare to go on it.
We made our last stop in the middle of the Ohashi Bridge. We were just in time for the sunset and the sun shined its light beautifully on Mt. Fuji. For us, this was the perfect end to our day of exploring Fujiawaguchiko and capturing the mountain from different sights.
We were very lucky that Mt. Fuji was visible (almost) the entire day. We didn’t need to stay any longer and could fit everything in one full day of exploring. We would recommend spending at least one night in Fujikawaguchiko to make sure that you actually will be able to see the mountain. In the morning and in the evening the mountain usually is visible. The sunset light over Mt. Fuji is just so stunning that it’s absolutely worth staying the night for.
Japan Rail Pass
As mentioned before, we took the bus to Kawaguchiko, but it’s also possible to get there by train. The railway network of Japan is actually very good and traveling by train through Japan is the fastest and most reliable way. Besides regular trains, Japan has a world-famous network of high speed trains (the Shinkansen or bullet train) that connect all regions of Japan. If you’re visiting multiple destinations in Japan, the Japan Rail Pass might be a great choice for you. The JR Pass offers unlimited rides on JR trains (including the Shinkansen) for one, two or three weeks at a very affordable price. Check out this website for current prices and to book your JR Pass.
Have you seen Mt. Fuji in real life or would you love to see it? Let us know in the comments below!
Be sure to check out more of our visual experiences on Instagram!