“Happiness is like the mountain summit. It is sometimes hidden by clouds, but we know it is there.” ~ Helen Keller.
Can you do a Tokyo to Mt Fuji day trip? In short, absolutely! With so many options for Mt Fuji day tours I know it can feel quite daunting to decide which option to choose. Should you go by bus or train? What is there to do in the Fuji area once you’re there?
No need to worry if you’re planning a Japan trip because I’ve done all the hard yards so you don’t have to. As an invisible tourist I love researching the most efficient ways to get around and enjoy visiting lesser-known locations as well as the popular ones. And I’m here to share my findings with you about what I think is the best way to do a Mt Fuji day trip so you can make the most of your time, too.
This Tokyo to Mt Fuji day trip blog follows an itinerary covering scenic spots surrounding the Fuji Five Lakes including sacred shrines, exquisite ponds and finishes off the day at Japan’s ultimate shopping destination before heading back to Tokyo. If you’re interested to learn how you can do all this on a Mount Fuji excursion from Tokyo, read on for more!
NOTE: This Mt Fuji day trip forms part of my larger guide to lesser-known day trips from Tokyo you haven’t thought of, so take a look once you’re done here for more inspiration.
This Tokyo to Mt Fuji day trip itinerary will cover:
This post was written in partnership with Klook and contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
How to get to Mt Fuji from Tokyo
What is Japan famous for? Mount Fuji, of course! There are a few options for how to get from Tokyo to Mt Fuji: Shinkansen (bullet train) and bus.
Tokyo to Mt Fuji by bullet train
If you decide to travel by train to Fuji Five Lakes, your journey may be covered by the Japan Rail Pass. You’ll need to take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Otsuki Station (covered by the JR Pass).
From there, change over to the Fujikyu Railway limited express train and head to Kawaguchiko Station (this part is not covered by the JR Pass). This journey takes just under 3 hours one way.
Tokyo to Mt Fuji by bus
You may be surprised as I was to learn that taking as highway bus is actually faster than taking a bullet train! A journey from Tokyo will get you there directly in just under 2 hours.
To navigate around the Fuji Five Lakes, different bus services are available. The buses operating from stations around Mt Fuji can run from once every 30mins to every 2 hours, which can be a while if you’ve just missed one!
Benefits of a Mt Fuji bus tour over train
While a bus tour is not only the quickest way to get to Mt Fuji from Tokyo, it’s also quite efficient. Fuji Five Lakes is not as easily accessible as other day trips from Tokyo such as Hakone and Lake Ashi.
Different buses are the only way to get between the sights once you’re there.
The bullet train will get you to Kawaguchiko or a bus to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, but then you’ll need to coordinate your bus and train schedule for the day to get around and back to Tokyo. A bus tour eliminates the guesswork.
As highway bus is the fastest option, it means there are various kinds of Mt Fuji day trip tours. Have you heard of Klook? They have a great selection to choose from.
The best Mt Fuji bus tour verdict
After browsing through different tours for some time, I finally chose the Mt Fuji Classic Tour that covers Lake Kawaguchiko with a tea ceremony experience, visiting an ancient shrine at the foot of Mt Fuji, exploring 8 sacred ponds of Oshino Hakkai and shopping at Gotemba Premium Outlets as the final stop. I was in for a treat!
In full transparency, Klook kindly sponsored this day trip to Mt Fuji from Tokyo for me. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own so in this guide I’ll dig into the details for what you can expect.
Meeting at Shinjuku
One of the quickest ways to reach Mt Fuji from Tokyo is by bus from Shinjuku, where this tour begins. Information provided when booking this tour is very clear. The meeting place was at the Shinjuku Prince Hotel, it’s easy to find only a few moments’ walk from Shinjuku Station.
My tour was for around 20 people and our guide for the day was Peggy. Having lived in Japan for 15 years she spoke fluent Japanese, English and Mandarin. I enjoyed listening to her fun facts about Japan throughout the day (did you know there are more pets in Japan than children?)
TIP: Peggy mentioned that Mt Fuji is only completely visible about 80 days of the year. The mornings usually have the best chance for visibility before the clouds roll in during the afternoon. Make sure you check weather apps several days before booking your tour in order to try and have the greatest chance of seeing Mt Fuji.
Things to do around Fuji Five Lakes
If you’ve been following me a little while now, you’ll know I passed Mt Fuji FIVE times during my Japan trips and never got to see her without her usual cloudy blanket.
So this time, you can imagine my delight as I saw her snowcapped top peeking out from behind the mountain range as we left Tokyo on the highway – eeeeek, I finally couldn’t believe my eyes! The obsessing over weather apps for weeks beforehand paid off this time!
TIP: Sit on the left-hand side of the bus to get a sneak peek of Fuji-san along the way.
As we made our approach to our first stop, Lake Kawaguchiko, Peggy pointed out the best spot for us to photograph a huge Fuji-Q Highland rollercoaster with Mt Fuji as a backdrop.
Now we’d arrived, here are some of the best things to do around Fuji Five Lakes covered on this tour:
Enjoy a brief tea ceremony overlooking Mt Fuji
For our first stop, we arrived at a teahouse overlooking flawless Mt Fuji reflecting into Lake Kawaguchiko. A chawan (tea bowl), chasen (bamboo whisk) and wagashi (traditional sweet enjoyed with tea) were carefully placed on each table.
If you haven’t taken part in a full tea ceremony in Japan, the brief experience here is an ideal introduction. As I have done a full tea ceremony in Kyoto and a relaxed tea ceremony in Tokyo before, I knew what I needed to do in order to achieve the bubbliest tea!
However, our host explained the correct Japanese etiquette for first-time visitors – from the way you admire the bowl, whisk the matcha and enjoy the tea in three sips, with the last being a loud slurp to show appreciation.
After the ceremony we were able to visit the adjacent gift shop. I picked up some green matcha powder from Uji, Kyoto for 1500 yen. I pay double the price at home in Australia!
Note that the prices for goods here are a little more expensive than at the airport, although tax-free purchases are possible by showing your passport. The time in the tea room and gift shop was about half an hour.
Marvel at Mt Fuji reflecting on Lake Kawaguchiko
After our tea ceremony, we headed lakeside to admire Mt Fuji. This is a marvellous spot as it’s right beneath the cherry trees with plenty of space for everyone to spread out along a path.
Although it was a little too early in spring for the cherry blossoms to be in bloom during my visit, it was the best location to capture that perfect, uninterrupted shot of Fuji-san over the lake.
Also, Lake Kawaguchiko is a good spot to view Mt Fuji in late October or November because of the countless maple trees that provide a gorgeous red frame around your shots. It’s really an “only in Japan” experience.
We stayed here for another half hour and Peggy was kind to take plenty of photos if you so wished. I got chatting to other members of our tour group and I kept telling them they were so lucky to see Mt Fuji this clear for their first time.
Visit an ancient shrine near Mount Fuji
Our next stop on this Tokyo to Mt Fuji day trip was the tranquil Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine, dedicated to the Shinto goddess associated with the mountain. Located in dense forest on the northern side Mt Fuji, the shrine marks the beginning of an ancient climbing trail and consists of a main temple hall, a small museum detailing the local matsuri (summer fire festival) and several sacred trees over 1000 years old thought to protect the site.
Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine is UNESCO World Heritage listed and the main hall dates back to 1615, its aged wooden structure not immune to the passage of centuries. Although, Peggy explained it’s believed this site has been used for around 1300 years by pilgrims who prayed for a safe return before embarking on their journey to Mt Fuji’s summit.
Since 1929, the shrine has been less visited since the opening of Mt Fuji 5th Station ultimately cut five hours off climbing time – it’s already 2300 metres above sea level.
NOTE: Depending on season or weather conditions, the shrine or lookout you visit may be different to this one but it will be nearby Mt Fuji. Check towards the bottom of the page about this Mt Fuji Classic Tour for the list of potential places you’ll visit.
Discover the beauty of 8 sacred ponds at Oshino Hakkai
The fact that this Klook tour visited both Lake Kawaguchi AND Oshino Hakkai was the reason why I wanted to take it. While Oshino village is a little touristy (hey, this is why I don’t mind being called a tourist!) the scenery here is breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed.
The village of Oshino Hakkai was designed around eight sacred ponds with water so clear, some you can see down eight metres deep! This is because the waters were created by melted snow from Mt Fuji that have been filtered over 80 years through lava and rock formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. The result is crystal clear springs that are considered sacred.
TIP: As koi fish swim in these ponds, please be an “invisible tourist” and do not throw coins in the water for luck as this damages their habitat.
It’s a lovely spot to relax, take in the scenery and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or street food vendors. I chose some melt-in-your mouth grilled wagyu on a stick, my favourite. Right by the main pond is a huge souvenir store and mini-market with local dried fruits, snacks, trinkets and the like.
The thatched-roof buildings create a traditional atmosphere while each pond is accompanied by a sign that provides more information on its story in Japanese folklore. We spent about 1.5 hours here, I could have easily stayed longer but it’s enough time for a little introduction to Oshino Hakkai.
NOTE: Make sure you take note of where you enter into the village. Peggy warned us the way back to the bus parking area can be a little confusing, and she was right! I managed to make it back with only a moment to spare.
Shop up a storm at Gotemba Premium Outlets
Do you love a good shopping spree when you’re abroad? If so you’re going to love the final stop on this Mt Fuji day trip tour! Not far from popular Hakone lies the largest and most popular shopping mall in Japan, Gotemba Premium Outlets. It’s also one of the most photogenic as Mt Fuji is a beautiful backdrop.
With over 280 stores ranging from high-end luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada, Burberry to more mid-range international retailers such as Michael Kors, Longchamp Adidas etc, Gotemba Outlets is divided into two main shopping regions – the East Zone and West Zone. These zones are connected by the Great Dream Bridge, a picturesque spot to photograph Mt Fuji over in the distance.
A new third zone called Hillside was opened in June 2020. It has more stores, 16 restaurants serving international cuisines as well as a playground with rides for families overlooking Mt Fuji. For a full list of stores click here and for more info on the Hillside area, click here.
We spent about three hours here at Gotemba, which I thought was plenty of time to browse through all the stores. I do recommend finding out the locations of the stores you wish to visit over in the West Zone first as these are the furthest away from the bus parking.
TIP: Peggy mentioned Gotemba is so massive it can take up to 20 minutes to walk from the far side back to the bus parking area, so make sure you leave yourself enough time!
NOTE: If you prefer to skip Gotemba Outlets, there is an option to spend the time soaking in a nearby onsen instead. Just let your guide know at the beginning of the tour.
More tours featuring Gotemba Premium Outlets
Final thoughts on this Mt Fuji day tour
Here are my honest thoughts about the Klook Mt Fuji Classic tour from Tokyo:
- As a solo traveller short on time this trip to Japan, the tour was very efficient and covered more ground than I would have been able to do on my own.
- I loved how this tour visited Lake Kawaguchiko by mid-morning when the weather conditions are at their clearest. This will give you the best possible chance of seeing Mt Fuji.
- The tour offers a nice balance of traditional experiences and locations such as the lakes and shrines, in addition to the contrast of shopping at Gotemba at the end.
- It was convenient to have one bus take us around to the locations, rather than having to try and coordinate schedules with various buses and trains in the Fuji Five Lakes area.
- The tour is very organised. The guide is very clear about meeting points and times throughout the day, and is knowledgeable to answer any questions you have.
- While I personally love travelling independently most of the time, it was a nice change for me to put my feet up and let someone else drive me around, especially as I had injured my knee a few days before.
Sending a huge thanks to Klook for making this experience possible!
Extra tips and advice for getting around Tokyo
Will you be spending a few days in Tokyo? Don’t forget to pick up your Suica IC card, portable pocket wifi or SIM card and calculate if the Japan Rail Pass will be worth it for the duration of your trip.
For even more tips and advice, head on over to my guide about places to go in Tokyo by neighbourhood for differences in the Tokyo transport system and unique Japanese cultural experiences. Also, check out my article to hidden gems in Tokyo for lesser-known places in Japan’s capital to get your trip planning off to a good start.
Where to stay in Tokyo
The best places to stay in Tokyo for easy access to Mt Fuji are Shinjuku, Shibuya or around Tokyo Station. For my full reviews on all the hotels I’ve personally stayed in these areas during my trips, take a look at my honest advice for where to stay in Tokyo. My 6 days in Tokyo itinerary will also inspire your trip.
Concluding a Tokyo to Mount Fuji day trip tour
I hope this review has provided you with some insight into the best way to get to Mt Fuji from Tokyo by bus and what amazing things you can expect to do in the Five Lakes area. Will you be adding a day trip from Tokyo to Mt Fuji to your Japan itinerary? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’re after further inspiration, I have many more detailed guides on my Japan travel blog. From finding hidden gems, detailed city guides, best time to visit for cherry blossoms and more, I have your 2 week Japan itinerary and 3 week Japan itinerary covered.
As this guide to a Mt Fuji from Tokyo forms part of my series on Japan’s Golden Route, if you’re interested take a look at my separate guides for Japan’s off the beaten path destinations, hidden gems and reviews of more cultural experiences I’ve enjoyed once you’re done here.
Want to learn my strategies for how to “blend in” anywhere around the globe? Find out by reading my #1 Amazon New Release Book! If you found this article helpful please share it with your friends or come and join me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for more Japan inspiration!
Until next time,
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