HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Mt. Fuji Getting to Mt. Fuji: Complete Access Guide - With Trail Tips & More!
HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo's Surrounding Areas Getting to Mt. Fuji: Complete Access Guide - With Trail Tips & More!
Getting to Mt. Fuji: Complete Access Guide - With Trail Tips & More!

Getting to Mt. Fuji: Complete Access Guide - With Trail Tips & More!

Update: 24 August 2018

Among the many attractions visitors in Japan long to enjoy, Mount Fuji (or Fuji San as Japanese people call it) is one of the most sought-after ones – either as a hiking destination or a selfie spot. Standing at 3776 meters above sea level, Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in the country. Its iconic image and beauty, every year, compels huge crowds of tourists from Japan and abroad alike to look for the best location to admire its shape and snap photos.

The experience of Mount Fuji is not merely limited to its visual appeal. In fact, if you so choose, you’ll be able to hike it. In order to do so it’s important to prepare and to know exactly not only how to access it, but also how to make the adventure as safe as it’s certain to be enjoyable.

Here we will introduce the area right around Mt. Fuji, how to get to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo, and other essential information on climbing Japan’s most famous mountain.

Seeing Mt. Fuji: The Kawaguchiko Area

Seeing Mt. Fuji: The Kawaguchiko Area

Several areas around Mt. Fuji are amazing to enjoy the view but the most warmly recommended one would be the area around Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiko in Japanese). Sitting just north of Mount Fuji, this area will offer one of the best angles for postcard-worthy pictures, but also much more. The area takes the name from its lake, the second largest of the five lakes resting around Mount Fuji. It’s a popular resort with many lake-side hotels, windsurfing facilities, camp sites, fishing spots and excursion boats.

Kawaguchiko is also home to Ooishikoen Park, a large natural park, famous for its colors, but especially interesting between mid June and the beginning of July. During these weeks a popular “herbs festival” takes place, while in December the park sets up mesmerizing light shows.
What makes this park very sought after among Japanese visitors is that it’s renowned to offer, on a clear day, the view of the so-called “double Fuji”. The visage of the mountain reflects into the lake creating a clear mirror image. Furthermore there are many beautiful hotels, the nearby theme park Fuji-Q Highland, as well as museums and entertainment of many kinds.

Reaching Kawaguchiko from Tokyo

Reaching Kawaguchiko from Tokyo

Take the JR Chuo Line from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station (70 minutes, about ¥2500 by direct limited express train or 100 minutes, ¥1320 by local trains with usually one transfer along the way). From Otsuki, take the Fujikyu Railway Line to Kawaguchiko Station (55 minutes, ¥1140 one way).

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass covers the entire journey (except panorama seats on limited express trains); however, the Japan Rail Pass and other JR passes are not valid between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko.

By Bus
■ From Shinjuku Station
Access: Take the Fujikyu or Keio Bus from the Shinjuku Bus Terminal in Tokyo (to Kawaguchiko Station)
Cost: ¥1750 (one way)
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Note: The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these buses.

■ From Tokyo Station
Access: Take the Fujikyu or the JR Kanto Bus From Tokyo Station (Yaesu South Exit) to Kawaguchiko Station.
Cost: ¥1800
Time: Approximately 2 hours
Note: Online reservations can be made through Willer, Japan Bus Online and kosokubus.com.
The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these buses.

■ From Shibuya Station
Access: Shibuya (Mark City)
Cost: ¥1800
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Note: The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these buses.

■ From Narita Airport
Access: Take the Keisei Bus #7 from Terminal 1, or Terminal 3; #11 from Terminal 2.
Cost: 4,400 yen (one way).
Time: Approximately 4 hours

There are also several other busses leaving from many areas of Tokyo. The options above should be able to accommodate all visitors, but should you need alternatives, please refer to:
https://highway-buses.jp/
http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/highway/detail/id/1

Seeing Mt. Fuji: Loop Buses around Lake Kawaguchi

Seeing Mt. Fuji: Loop Buses around Lake Kawaguchi

Climbing Mount Fuji can certainly be a great experience, but what if you can’t or don’t want to, yet you still would like to enjoy some amazing sights without having to spend days in the area?
Several companies have set up the so-called loop bus tours. As the name suggests these are rides circling around Mount Fuji, passing by landmarks and points of interest such as Lake Kawaguchi, the Churehito Pagoda, the Oshino Ninja Village, the Sengen Jinja shrine and much more. Depending on the company, there are several tours a day (at least 6, in summer, but less in winter).

Access: From Kawaguchiko Station bus terminal
Cost: 1500 yen per person
Time: The tour lasts approximately 70 minutes

Climbing Mt. Fuji: About The Fuji 5th station and the main trail

Climbing Mt. Fuji: About The Fuji 5th station and the main trail

Those who seek to hike Mount Fuji can choose to do so from its base, but most people, in order to make it a 1-day hike, start from the so called Gogoume - the 5th of several stations, which marks the half point of the trails leading to the top of Mt. Fuji. From this station you can take several trails. Depending on which one you choose, and on your own pace, the hike could take anywhere between 4 and 8 hours.

Yoshida Trail
At a glance:
-Climb time (Approx.): 5 hours 40 min
-Descent time (Approx.): 2 hours 20 min

The Yoshida route will be the easiest to approach for beginners. The Yoshida route starts you off at the 2,305 meters mark. At this route’s 5th station there are shops, and more inns than there are along other paths. More importantly the route is equipped with 3 rescue stations, against only one in the Fujinomiya trail, and none in the others.

Regardless of which route you choose, the 5th station presents hotels, stores, and restaurants to prepare for your hike. In addition you’ll be able to buy souvenirs - although we would recommend to do so after your descent. The website and the local signs suggest to start climbing in the late evening to ensure that you reach the summit and enjoy the sunrise from the top of the mountain.

Climbing Mt. Fuji: The other hiking paths

Climbing Mt. Fuji: The other hiking paths

Subashiri Trail
At a glance:
-Climb time (Approx.): 5 hours 10 min
-Descent time (Approx.): 2 hours 40 min

The Subashiri trail (starting around 1970 meters above sea level) is less crowded. Starting on the east side of the mountain it allows for a quieter, albeit it more challenging ascent, especially if you choose to hike at night. The Subashiri trail leads you through a forest path, which is made harder to traverse by frequent fog and all around limited visibility. If you choose this path please be mindful of these factors and make sure to be equipped with a headlight. Like on the Yoshida trail, you’ll be able to see a clear sunrise (assuming the weather is nice) once you reach areas above the 5th station. Starting at the main 8th station (Mount Fuji presents several stations numbered the same way), the Subashiri and the Yoshida trails merge into one. This trail is particularly scenic in the composed by volcanic rocks and gravel. Note however that Subashiri has no rescue stations.


Fujinomiya Trail
At a glance:
-Climb time (Approx.): 5 hours
-Descent time (Approx.): 2 hours 40 min

The Fujinomiya trail (2380 meters above sea level) is the shortest path, but it can also be more dangerous that the previously mentioned ones. In fact it presents steep slopes and loose terrain. Unlike the other 3 trails, Fujinomiya’s ascent and descent routes are the same. For this reason is less likely to get lost on this path, but you should pay attention to situations when hikers climbing up and down at the same time cross paths, as potential incidents are more likely to happen. The only rescue station on this trail is at the 8th station. Both Subashiri and Fujinomiya have inns at every station.


Gotemba Trail
At a glance:
-Climb time (Approx.): 6 hours 50 min
-Descent time (Approx.): 3 hours 5 min

The Gotemba trail is the hardest of the paths you can choose. It’s a 10.5 km hike with no rescue stations, and no bathrooms or rest stops until the 7th station. The path is also marked by less signs than there are on the other roads.

Expert hikers might want to choose this path because one can see the sunrise from anywhere on the path. Furthermore, because of its complexity it’s the least walked path, offering the quietest climb to the top. Gotemba, like Subashiri, runs through volcanic terrain, making the view both mesmerizing and humbling for any visitor. Those who choose to hike to the top via Gotemba should make sure to be well equipped and to carry enough food and water to last for a long hike.

Fuji FAQ: When is the best season to climb Mt Fuji? About the climbing season

Fuji FAQ: When is the best season to climb Mt Fuji? About the climbing season

The climbing season is between July 1st and Mid September, although there are some differences depending on the route. The Yoshida trail is accessible from July 1st to September 10th, but the other routes, while closing on the same date, open on July 10th. Yoshida also extends the climbing season by one day for those who choose to only do the descent from the 5th station.

The Fujinomiya trail opens on the 8th of June only between the 5th and the 6th stations. It’s important to note that these dates may change depending on weather conditions.

Points to note before climbing Mt. Fuji

Points to note before climbing Mt. Fuji

1. Climbing Mt. Fuji has become an extremely popular activity
Reaching the summit of Mount Fuji has been a popular staple of Japanese tradition for a long time, but in recent events the appeal for this activity has increased exponentially among visitors from all over the country and the world. From the city of Tokyo, it takes about 5 hours to reach the 5th station. The time it takes to reach Mount Fuji though is only one of the things one must consider when preparing for the trip.

2. Bring loose change for bathrooms
Mount Fuji is not only a World Heritage Site, but it’s one of the three holy mountains of Japan. Alongside Mount Haku and Mount Tate, Mount Fuji is, in fact sacred ground. For this reason, it’s important to remember that it is forbidden to relieve oneself on the mountain itself. Due to the very large number of visitors, access to bathrooms may be a problem. You should expect very long lines (up to 1 hour wait or more). Furthermore make sure you bring a few ¥100 coins with you. In order to access the toilets you’ll have to pay ¥100-300.

3. Plan on staying on the mountain? Book well ahead
Depending on the trail you choose you may encounter more or less inns (or huts). Should you choose to stay at an inn, make sure to book well in advance. Furthermore please take into consideration that inns on Mount Fuji, are designed more like rest stops than regular hotels. You should be aware that many will not have shower rooms, running water, or baths. Additionally, some may only have mixed rooms for both men and women.

That being said, some may have dedicated Wi-Fi, single rooms and private spaces, but they will be harder to find and will require booking even more time in advance. On weekends, prices might increase.

More commonly people use the cheaper and more accessible “mountain huts”. For these accommodations you’ll be able to only book via phone and they may not accept credit cards, so make sure to have enough cash on you.

4. Take climbing seriously
As popular as Mount Fuji climbing is, please remember that it’s a true mountain climb and should not be taken lightly. It’s recommended not only to have good equipment, but also to prepare in advance in terms of training.

While you’ll be able to buy water and food along the trails, it’s important to bring some of your own with you.
Even in summer, temperatures on the summit of Mount Fuji fall below freezing. Make sure you bring warm clothing.

Here is the equipment recommended:
Shoes
Trekking shoes/boots (proper footwear is essential - do not wear sandals, heels, or similar shoes)
Rainwear
Waterproof jacket and trousers, and/or poncho
Clothes
Warm clothes: fleece, sweater, down jacket
Underwear
Quick-drying underwear
Light
Head lamp or flashlight
Water
About 2 liters of water
Snacks
Easy to take ones; energy bars
Trash Bags
Bags to bring trash back
Money
Cash: Credit card is not usually accepted at mountain huts
Small Change: contribution for toilet
Others
Cap/hat, map, sunglasses, sunscreen, walking poles

Most people think only of the climb as the challenge. The descent can be as challenging and even more so. Most injuries occur during the descent. Make sure you’re well rested before heading back down the trails.

You now know all there is to know (and more) about climbing Mt. Fuji. Nevertheless, make sure you don’t take this adventure lightly. Be prepared, plan ahead, and, if possible, train.

The experience of climbing one of the sacred mountains of Japan is truly one that you will remember for a very long time. The hike, the view, the mountain and the surrounding nature themselves will fill you with every breath you take. Make sure to let yourself enjoy the moment and live the magic of the majestic Mt. Fuji!

Written by:

Lucio Maurizi

Lucio Maurizi

Lucio Maurizi is an Italian writer, photographer, and streamer. He spent 10 years in the United States and currently lives in Japan, focusing on creating articles and channels dedicated to the Land of the Rising Sun. He loves any form of storytelling, natto, and wasabi, and is desperately trying to make time to work on his novel. On Instagram @that_italian_guy_in_japan.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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