Overview of Mt. Fuji Day Trip Guide
You can do so many things in a day around Mount Fuji it is impossible to list them all here. The discussion below contains mere suggestions for the northern side of the mountain.
- About Mt. Fuji and the Surrounding Area
- What to Consider before Taking a Day Trip to Mt. Fuji
- Season is a Main Consideration
- Think about What You Want to Do
- Independent vs. Guided Tours
- Weather Will Affect Visibility
- Going into the Mountain
- Visiting the Surrounding Area around Mt. Fuji
- Lake Kawaguchiko Is the Place to Be
- Visiting Hakone
- Things to Do All Around the Vicinity of Mt. Fuji
- Onsen – AKA Hot Springs
- Museums Galore
- Other Ways to See Mt. Fuji
About Mt. Fuji and the Surrounding Area
Mount Fuji, also known as Fugaku or Fuji-san, is the highest mountain in Japan and resides just 62 miles (100 kilometers), or about two hours southwest of Tokyo.
It stands some 12,389 feet (3,776.24 meters) high. This makes Mt. Fuji the seventh tallest peak on the planet and the second tallest volcano in Asia.
Although an active volcano, there is no risk of eruption since its last one in 1708. What’s more amazing about Fuji is the fact that it is the youngest of three volcanoes stacked atop one another. The bottom-most layer is Komitake, while the second is Kofuji.
Mt. Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains,” inspiring artists, writers, poets, and musicians for centuries.
It’s full of history and has its own Shinto shrine. The surrounding area is a picturesque display of natural beauty in what the earth has to offer. The Hakone five lakes are a prime example.
What to Consider Before Taking a Day Trip to Mt. Fuji
Taking a day trip to Mt. Fuji is an excellent idea. But you want to consider a few things before you go. The area around and in Mt. Fuji is vast, so your time will be the main component of what you plan on doing.
You do have the option of staying overnight in one of the mountain huts or at a hotel in the surrounding area.
If you want to be there morning through night, you can visit the entire vicinity and get a real feel for the area. However, if you only want to spend half the day at Mt. Fuji, you will have to decide whether to get close to the volcano or visit one of the surrounding areas.
Season is a Main Consideration
What will help better determine this will be the season in which you visit Mt. Fuji. In wintertime, you may not be able to get up to see the mountain at all. So, the surrounding areas will have to do.
The summer months are sticky hot, and humid. Going higher up into the mountain will be more cooling and refreshing.
Spring and autumn are the general busiest times when there are often many people. This translates to long lines, packed restaurants, and wall-to-wall traffic.
But, these pivotal times of year are the best for touring the area. This is because of spring’s cherry trees blossoming and the gorgeous color-changing leaves in autumn.
Think about What You Want to Do
Your next point of consideration will be what you hope to do while on Mt. Fuji. There’s climbing, hiking, plant identification, dipping in a hot spring, biking, or touring the mountain by bus, to name a few.
Climbers and hikers must remember that climbing season begins in July and ends in September.
Independent vs. Guided Tours
Yet another thing to think about is whether you want to visit Mt. Fuji on your own or with some sort of tour guide. There are pros and cons to each, and you have to evaluate those against your time, desires, and season
On the one hand, going on your own means, you have total control over the schedule. You select where to go and what to see as well as what kind of time to spend at any given place.
It’s much cheaper than guided tours, lower on the hassle factor, and you don’t have to spend the day with strangers.
However, taking a guided tour means getting detailed information, facts, and data about Mt. Fuji. You don’t have to make the itinerary yourself, especially if you’re strapped for time or don’t know your way around. The tour company prepares all the details for you, and you get to see more of Mt. Fuji.
Weather Will Affect Visibility
Finally, it isn’t possible to arrange to see Mt. Fuji too far in advance. This is because it’s best to visit the mountain on a clear, sunny day.
So, you must base your plans on the weather before paying for any tickets or scheduling reservations. If the cloudiness is forecast at 30% or higher, you will not see the mountain.
Going into the Mountain
If your day trip to Mt. Fuji will definitely incorporate going up into the mountain, make sure you do this in summer or autumn.
Any other time of year may be dangerous to do on your own. Regardless, when it’s open for visiting, you can take a mountain tour bus with five stops along the way up.
To climb or hike the mountain, there are four trails. All four of them will lead to the apex, and all of them are open 24 hours a day. The following list details the four trails, the length of each one, and the travel times.
Total Length in Distance
Length of Travel Time
1.49 miles (2,400 meters)
6 hours up, 4 hours down
1.43 miles (2,300 meters)
6 hours up, 3 hours down
1.24 miles (2,000 meters)
7 hours up, 3 hours down
0.91 miles (1,450 meters)
5 hours up, 3 hours down
It is highly advisable to visit Japan’s official website about each trail. Here they will tell you everything you need to know, what to bring along and what you can expect.
This includes mountain hut availability and reservations, along with obtaining transportation tickets and departure/arrival times.
Visiting the Surrounding Area around Mt. Fuji
Mount Fuji is the main attraction of Fuji Hakone-Izu National Park. This is a great place for tourists and easier to access than the mountain itself.
The whole area is a scenic dream of nature, encompassing many hot springs and fabulous views of the volcano and Ashi Lake.
Another popular area to see is the northernmost side of Mt. Fuji, the Five Lakes or Fujigoko. These comprise Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko.
Each one has a memorable landscape with varying types of outdoor activities depending on the time of year.
There are additional hiking trails along with fishing, camping, canoeing, and anything else you may be able to imagine. There are a variety of hotels in this area, so there’s not often a shortage of vacancies.
- Mt. Fuji 5th Station: When you look up the mountain bus transport to the summit of Mt. Fuji, you’ll notice all the stops labeled as 5th Station.
- These stations are the closest you can get to the volcano without actually climbing. Each of the four stops for the trails is breathtaking in its own right.
- Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Jinja Shrine: Nestled on the north side of Mt. Fuji, this is the traditional starting point for local hikers. The shrine is in dedication to Princess Konohanasakuya, the goddess of the mountain, and everyone around the entire circumference of the mountain prays to her for protection.
- Fujisan Sengen Shrine: This sits on the southern end of Mt. Fuji and is the traditional starting point for those attempting to climb the summit of the volcano. The shrine is in honor of Mt. Fuji itself as a living, breathing being.
- Oshino Hakkai Village: Between Kawaguchiko and Yamanakako is Oshino Hakkai Village, notorious for its crystal clear ponds.
- It’s a cute and quaint tourist town with shops and restaurants along with a museum featuring all things samurai. There’s even a small Ninja Village within the place to learn about its history in Japan.
Lake Kawaguchiko Is the Place to Be
However, Lake Kawaguchiko seems to be the most popular of the five lakes due to the sheer abundance of available activities.
It’s the easiest to access and has amazing views of Mt. Fuji along with many hotels, onsen (hot springs), hiking, museums, and so much more. The bus will take you right there, or you can get there by train.
In fact, many of the suggestions here are either incredibly close to or right within the area around Lake Kawaguchiko.
While the other lakes are very beautiful and offer similar accommodations, this one has the readiest access to Mt. Fuji.
- Northern Shore: The northern shore of Kawaguchiko presents several awesome views of the water beset with the mountain behind it. During cherry blossom season and when autumn colors come in, it’s one of the most photogenic and gorgeous places.
- Chureito Pagoda: This spiritual tower that’s part of Arakura Fuji Sengen Jinja Shrine provides majestic views of Mt. Fuji. Professional photographers vie for an opportunity to take pictures here. However, there are 400 steps to walk in order to grab the shot.
- Oshino Hakkai: Photography opportunities abound for Mt. Fuji in this decided tourist village. Many guided tours include the area as part of their itinerary.
- Kachi Kachi Ropeway: For a 360° view of the five lakes area along with Mt. Fuji, the Kachi Kachi Ropeway is perfect. Also called the Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, the car starts on the eastern side of Kawaguchiko and goes up ¼ mile (400 meters) to an observation point near the summit of Mount Tenjo.
- Fuji Q Highland Amusement Park: A brief jaunt away from Kawaguchiko is a fabulous amusement park. They have four roller coasters, a frightening labyrinth, water coaters, virtual reality, and a haunted hotel, among many other sights.
- Oishi Park: This adorable yet cozy park is at the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiki. There are beautiful views and ideal spots for photographing Mt. Fuji. A myriad of flower beds resides throughout the park, offering a colorful experience all year round.
Hakone is yet another excellent place to visit. This small town tucks near Gotemba trail. It’s a beautifully lush green landscape with views of Mt. Fuji that evoke tears.
Plus, this is the place to visit for an experience in a luxury spa in a hot spring.
Because Hakone burgeons with all kinds of activities, a day trip will not be sufficient to explore the place fully. However, they have a host of tea shops, restaurants, and other eateries that are excellent after exploring the mountain.
Things to Do All Around the Vicinity of Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji is a magical place with many natural sights to see and manmade spots for a true distillation of experience. Understand, however, most of the destination suggestions are around Lake Kawaguchiko.
Onsen – AKA Hot Springs
Throughout the areas of the Five Lakes and Mt. Fuji are plentitudes of onsen, or hot springs. These traditional Japanese baths are something any visitor would be remiss to avoid.
They are integral to Japanese culture, and they have been using them for centuries for both washing and cooking food.
Many types of onsen serve varying purposes and give different access. Some are open and free, managed by the national park system.
Others come under private ownership, and yet others are public houses that operate as a luxury spa.
Regardless of which you choose, the experience is uplifting and purifying to the heart, body, mind, and soul. But, if you’re going on a simple day trip to the area, your choices have limits.
You will have to find an onsen that caters to daytime use. The following indicates two of the more common ones:
- Yurai: Public accommodation with 10 hot springs. It’s a complex of onsen, but only one offers a view of Mt. Fuji.
- Hotel Mifujien: This offers daytime use with many wonderful views of Mt. Fuji. It’s older and more conservative, complete with restrictions and rules. For instance, their bathing facilities separated by gender.
For those who love to frequent museums, the entire area around Mt. Fuji has a cornucopia of them. The best way to see most of them is to take the Fujikyuko sightseeing bus. They make several museum stops at places like:
Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum: This place has the most comprehensive collection of music boxes, and they have a water fountain show synchronized with music.
Kawaguchiko Museum of Art: This mega art gallery splays all pieces inspired by the mountain itself. There are paintings, photographs, drawings, sketches, and other works.
Itchiku Kubota Art Museum: For those who love the art behind the making of kimonos, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum is ideal. They have a wonderful garden surrounding the museum too.
Yamanashi Gem Museum: Gemologists and crystal fans will love the Yamanashi Gem Museum. They have a worldwide collection displaying well over 3,000 gemstones, crystals, and minerals.
Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nemba: This is an open-air museum resting in a former agricultural village called Nemba. Destroyed by a typhoon in 1966, only 20 of the original houses have now undergone restoration. These small thatched houses now contain mini museums and educational centers.
Visiting One of the Many Caves
Another great thing to do around the area surrounding Mt. Fuji is the many caves you can go explore. The volcano’s eruptions have left several in its wake over the years, and three of them are open to the public.
- Bat Cave: Stretching about 386 meters long, it’s the longest in the area. Don’t let the name scare you, the bats are often sleeping during the day when the cave is in operation. This is a great hiking start that leads into the Aokigahara Forest.
- Fugaku Wind Cave: This once provided natural refrigeration for the locals, including ice storage and other types of perishable items. The temperature is cold, even in the summertime, with an average temperature of 3°F.
- Ice Cave: Another traditional frozen storage area is the Ice Cave which stays below freezing all year long. This is a very small cave with some amazing ice formations and stalagmites.
Other Ways to See Mt. Fuji
If you can’t get to Mount Fuji during your stay in Japan or if you don’t want to go independently, there are some other options. First, if you’re going to Osaka or Kyoto and it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see it while passing by on the train.
Otherwise, there are many scheduled and organized day tour buses. You will be with many other tourists, and a guide will take you through all the important spots, explaining the history and nature of the area.
Pro Travel Tips And Advice For Visiting Mount Fuji
If you’re taking the train from Tokyo Station to mt. fuji area, you will arrive at Kawaguchiko Station. A new limited express service has been added to routes to the mount fuji area.
The express trains take about 1 hour and 52 minutes from Shinjuku station. Check with JR East timetable of departures and arrivals as they change often. Although the bullet train or Shinkansen doesn’t offer a route to Mount Fuji, these small express trains are a real-time saver on getting to Fuji.
If you are using the Japan Rail Pass, there is a separate fare or charge for using the express train. If you are unaware of the JR pass, it’s a great way to see Japan via rail.
Mount Fuji is one of the best spots to see cherry blossoms in the spring. The area surrounding Fujisan, such as lake Ashi is one of the best places for taking incredible photos of the mountain. Most photographers say the best time to photograph Fuji is early morning before clouds settle in for the day.
Whether you’re taking a local train or bus tour, there are many different ways to make it to the area from central Tokyo and see Fuji from various observation deck points surrounding it.
Some activities will have a small admission fee, such as the cable car service or spending a day at the nearby amusement park enjoying a fun roller coaster at Fuji-q highland. If a relaxing day of shopping rather than strenuous climbing is your interest, then the Gotemba Premium Outlets are a great way to spend time in the area. Consider a Mt. Fuji Tour if being part of a group interest you.
If your goal is not to reach the summit of Fuji but rather to arrive at Fuji directly from public transport from Tokyo, the fuji Subaru line 5th station is most likely where you will arrive. The panoramic view from this area is incredible as well. Fuji Subaru has restaurants and is a great spot to enjoy a bowl of miso soup and many types of Japanese food.
The climbing season last from about mid-July to the end of August. If you want to reach Fuji’s highest point, keep these dates in mind. In the winter months, the peak is covered by heavy snow, and a private tour or solo trip isn’t possible.
The area does have many souvenir shops, so once you arrive at the local bus station. Take advantage of these while on your mount Fuji day tour.
Visiting the Fuji five lakes region is a great way to experience one of Japan’s natural wonders. A mount Fuji day trip is a great addition to any itinerary while visiting Japan. Note that weather conditions can obscure the mountain, so it’s a good idea to check before taking a mt Fuji day trip. If you are on a tight budget, then a highway bus is the cheapest way to reach the sacred mountain.
Japanese people have been visiting the mountain since ancient times, and the easiest way for you to enjoy your visit is to check the weather conditions as first-time visitors are wanting to see the best view of the mountain.