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Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Guide: Tour Buses and Unlimited Rides

Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Guide: Tour Buses and Unlimited Rides

Date published: 16 March 2020
Last updated: 29 December 2020

Mount Fuji is Japan's tallest mountain, spanning Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures. It is famous for its magnificent scenery, which changes with the seasons, and is a sightseeing spot beloved by many. In 2013, Mt. Fuji was even registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, adding to why it is such an immovable global tourist destination.

Today we will show you some of the main attractions around the Fuji Five Lakes, as well as some great tour bus and unlimited ride deals such as the 'Mt. Fuji Pass.'

Table of Contents
  1. What to do at Mt.Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes
  2. Highlights of Lake Kawaguchi
  3. Highlights of Lake Yamanaka
  4. Highlights of Lake Saiko
  5. Highlights of Lake Shoji
  6. Highlights of Lake Motosu
  7. Mt. Fuji Five Lakes Discount Pass
  8. Recommended Sightseeing Plan, Starting at 9AM!
  9. Oishi Park: Panoramic View of Mount Fuji over Lake Kawaguchi
  10. A Panoramic View 1075 Meters Above Sea Level: Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway
  11. Oshino Hakkai: Tour One of Japan's Most Famous Ponds
  12. YAMANAKAKO NO KABA: Amphibious Bus Ride on the Largest of Fuji Five Lakes

What to do at Mt.Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes

The Fuji Five Lakes refers to the sightseeing are of the five lakes at the foot of Mt. Fuji: Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Saiko, Motosu, and Shoji.

They are designated as cultural heritages under the classification, "Mt. Fuji Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration." Each of these five lakes were born from an eruption of the active volcano, Mt. Fuji. Each are full of individuality and show the various expressions of the seasons. No matter when you go, you'll always want to see more!

Highlights of Lake Kawaguchi

Highlights of Lake Kawaguchi
Kwaguchiko

With the Fujikyu Line nearby, and easy access to and from the city center, this is one of the most popular of the Fuji Five Lakes. There are plenty of accommodations and attractions nearby as well, so you can enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji even while soaking in the hot springs or enjoying various activities. Lake Kawaguchi is also a recommended location for capturing a shot of the famous upside-down reflection of Mt. Fuji on the water's surface. The view from the north shore is said to be the best spot for a photo.

Highlights of Lake Yamanaka

Highlights of Lake Yamanaka
Lake Yamanaka

Lake Yamanaka, the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes, is as popular as Lake Kawaguchi. There are plenty of scenic spots around here as well. There are buses as well as bicycle rentals around the lake, so you can pick your favorite means of transportation. You can also enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji from the lake by taking a leisurely ride on a boat or the amphibious bus.

Highlights of Lake Saiko

Highlights of Lake Saiko
Lake Saiko

Lake Saiko is famous for the Aokigahara Jukai Forest, which lies just on the lake shore, and as a colony of the natural monument, the Fuji Marimo. It is also popular with fishing enthusiasts, who can fish for 'himemasu,' a species of salmon that have been successfully bred since the early Taisho Era. In 2010, there were also discoveries of 'kunimasu,' a species of sockeye salmon thought to have been extinct for 70 years. There are plenty of natural attractions in the area, including the Lake Saiko Bat Cave, the Fugaku Wind Cave, and the Narusawa Ice Cave.

Highlights of Lake Shoji

Highlights of Lake Shoji
Lake Shoji

Lake Shoji is the smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes. Tourism is not as developed in the surrounding area as compared to the other lakes. Because of this it has been nicknamed "Switzerland of East Asia" for its old-fashioned scenery, and seems to attract most of its attention from foreign tourists. The view of Mt. Fuji overlooking Aokigahara Forest is one of the area's most spectacular views. Lake Shoji is also rich in plankton, making it a perfect lake for fishing lovers, as well.

Highlights of Lake Motosu

Highlights of Lake Motosu
Lake Motosu appears on the 1,000 yen bill

Lake Motosu is located at the westernmost point of Fuji Five Lakes, and is the deepest amongst them. You can enjoy water activities, such as diving and kayaking, in its beautiful, clear waters. It is also a well-known spot for photographers hoping to capture the 'Diamond Fuji', the beautiful view of the rising sun from the summit of Mt. Fuji. As a matter of fact, it is this very scene of Motosu Lake that has been chosen to grace the back of Japan's 1,000 yen bill.

Mt. Fuji Five Lakes Discount Pass

If you want to take your time touring the Fuji Five Lakes area, you may believe the best option for transportation would be private vehicle or rental car. However, the area around Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes is well-equipped with public transportation and various routes. Even those without a car or who cannot drive will find they can have a fully enjoyable trip.

In this case, the best bet for you would be to purchase the 'Mt. Fuji Pass,' sold by Fujikyu Bus, for public transportation access at a great price.

●What is the Mount Fuji Pass?
The Mt. Fuji Pass is a two-day unlimited rides pass sold by Fujikyu Bus. There are two types of passes. The Mt. Fuji & Fuji Five Lakes Pass (2600 yen for adults, 1300 yen for children), allows you to easily get on and off the main route buses and part of the Fujikyuko Line. The Mt. Fuji Five Lakes Pass Fujikyu Train Set (3600 yen for adults, 1800 yen for children) includes all major buses and Fujikyuko train lines. *Tax included.

●What Are The Perks?
This unlimited pass covers almost all public transportation that service major tourist facilities around Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes*, which can greatly reduce the total travel cost for sightseeing the area. The pass also offers discounts and perks at a total of 42 partnering tourist facilities, including the Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway (formerly Tenjoyama Park Kachikachiyama Ropeway) near Lake Kawaguchi, and the above-mentioned Fugaku Wind Caves and Narusawa Ice Caves.


*Passport Coverage
All route buses (Fuji Five Lakes Area), Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus (Red line), Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Green Line), Narusawa/Shojiko/Motosuko Sightseeing Bus (Blue Line), Fujiyoshida/Oshino/Yamanakako Sightseeing Bus, Fujikko-Go, Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site Loop Bus, Railway (Fuji Kyuko Line) between Kawaguchiko Station and Shimoyoshida Station (Fujikyu Train Set allows you to freely ride all Fujikyu Lines).

●Where to Buy
Passport sales locations are as follows:

Yamanashi Prefecture: Fujikyu Bus Window at Fujisan Station, Kawaguchiko Station, and Asahigaoka Bus Terminal (Lake Yamanaka)
Shizuoka Prefecture: Fujikyu Bus Window at Mishima Station, Fujinomiya Station, and Gotemba Station
*Fujikyu Train Set can also be purchased at Otsuki Station (Yamanashi Prefecture).

In addition, you can also purchase this pass at major travel agencies across the country, including JTB, Kinki Nippon Tourist, and Japan Travel. Be sure to ask about it when making travel reservations through an agency.

Recommended Sightseeing Plan, Starting at 9AM!

Here's a good example of a Fuji Five Lakes sightseeing plan using the Mt. Fuji Five Lakes Passport. The schedule that starts at 9:00AM at Kawaguchiko Station and plans for four attractions by sunset.

Oishi Park: Panoramic View of Mount Fuji over Lake Kawaguchi

Oishi Park: Panoramic View of Mount Fuji over Lake Kawaguchi
Oishi Park

Ride the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus (Red Line) farm Kawaguchiko Station towards Oishi Park. The nearest bus stop, Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center, is about 30 minutes from Kawaguchiko Station. Once you arrive, spend some time enjoying the view of Mt. Fuji over Oishi Park. Don't forget to take photos!

On the west side of Oishi Park is a promenade called Hanakaido, which is colored with various flowers from spring to winter. From June to early July, the specialties of the park, lavender and autumn kokia, are at their peak. Events such as herb festivals are also held around this time.

Oishi Park

At the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center, a facility located right next to the bus stop, you can buy products made with blueberries and cherries from nearby farms. This is a great place for souvenir shopping.

  • Oishi Park
    大石公園
    • Address 2525 Oishi, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture
    • Nearest Station Take Lake Kawaguchi Sightseeing Bus (Red Line) from Fujikyuko Kawaguchiko Station (30 minutes)

A Panoramic View 1075 Meters Above Sea Level: Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway

A Panoramic View 1075 Meters Above Sea Level: Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway
Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway

From Oishi Park, go eastward halfway around Lake Kawaguchi to Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway (formerly Tenjoyama Park Kachikachi Ropeway). Take the 10:00AM Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus (Red Line) from Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center to the Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi bus stop. Ride time is approximately 15 minutes.

Get off the bus and head to Kawaguchiko Lakeside Station Ropeway Stop. When purchasing your ropeway ticket, remember to present your Mt. Fuji Pass, as you ay be eligible for a discount. Ride the Ropeway to Fujimidai Station, only 3 minutes away, and enjoy the vast panoramic scenery.

Tenjoyama - ParrySuwanitch / Shutterstock.com

This mountain, Tenjoyama, is said to have been the setting of the famous Japanese folk tale, Kachi-kachi Yama. You will find many themes related to the story and its heroes, such as the Tanuki Teahouse and the Usagi Shrine. There are many popular spots around Fujimidai Station as well, including an observatory and Kawarakenage (clay-disc toss), a popular custom to prevent bad karma.

  • Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway
    ~河口湖~ 富士山パノラマロープウェイ
    • Address 1163-1 Asakawa, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0303
    • Nearest Station Take Lake Kawaguchi Sightseeing Bus (Red Line) from Fujikyuko Line Kawaguchiko Station (10 minutes); walk from Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi bus stop
    • Phone Number 0555-72-0363
    • Admission: 900 yen adult round-trip (500 yen one-way), 450 yen, child round-trip (250 one-way)
      Hours: 9:00AM-5:00PM (last departure 5:20PM)
      Closed: N/A

Oshino Hakkai: Tour One of Japan's Most Famous Ponds

Oshino Hakkai: Tour One of Japan's Most Famous Ponds

Next, head to Oshino Hakkai, where its clear ponds and original Japanese landscape remain. Take the 10:00AM Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus (Red Line) from the nearest bus stop, Yuransen Ropeway Iriguchi at Kawaguchiko Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway. Head to Kawaguchiko Station, then transfer to the bus bound for Oshino Hakkai (Kawaguchiko/Fujisan/Oshinoko/Yamanakako/Gotemba Outlet route).

The scheduled arrival at Oshino Hakkai is around 11 o'clock.

Oshino Hakkai has eight ponds, all within walking distance of each other, making it a popular tourist attraction. All ponds are included in Japan's Top 100 Waters, famous for the incredible transparency of their waters. Many thatched-roof buildings also remain in the area, making it a great place to get a taste of old-fashioned Japanese scenery.

There are plenty of souvenirs and restaurants at Oshino Hakkai, so you may want to spend about an hour or two and enjoy a traditional lunch of famous, handmade soba, cooked with the underground water of Mt. Fuji.

  • Oshino Hakkai
    忍野八海
    • Address Oshino Village, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0511
    • Nearest Station Take bus from Fujikyuko Line Kawaguchiko Station, 25 minutes (Kawaguchiko/Fujisan/Oshinoko/Yamanakako/Gotemba Outlet route bus), walk from Oshino Hakkai bus stop (5 minutes)
    • Phone Number 0555-84-4222
    • Admission: 300 yen adults, 150 yen children, 100 yen children from 1 to pre-elementary age
      Business Hours: 9:00AM-5:00PM (Sokonuke Pond only)

YAMANAKAKO NO KABA: Amphibious Bus Ride on the Largest of Fuji Five Lakes

YAMANAKAKO NO KABA: Amphibious Bus Ride on the Largest of Fuji Five Lakes
Lake Yamanaka amphibious bus

Our final destination is Lake Yamanaka. Take the 1:00PM bus from Oshino Hakkai (Kawaguchiko/Fujisan/Oshinoko/Yamanakako/Gotemba Outlet route), and enjoy a 15 minute ride through the peaceful mountain and lakeside scenery. Get off at Lake Yamanaka Asahigaoka Bus Stop.

*Clockwise route via Fujikko-Go takes about 50 minutes.

Lake Yamanaka offers a variety of activities to enjoy, including cycling and pleasure boats. Today, however, our activity of choice is the amphibious bus, YAMANAKAKO NO KABA (advanced reservations required). Enjoy a 30-minute tour of Lake Yamanaka from both above and below as your guide tells the story of the lake's history and nature. The highlight of the tour is the moment you dive straight into Lake Yamanaka, a powerful experience you will not easily find anywhere else.

  • YAMANAKAKO NO KABA
    YAMANAKAKO NO KABA
    • Address 506-296 Hirano, Yamanakako Village, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture, 401-0502
    • Nearest Station Take bus from Fujikyuko Kawaguchiko Station, 40 minutes (Kawaguchiko/Fujisan/Oshinoko/Yamanakako/Gotemba Outlet route bus), get off at Yamanakako Asahigaoka Bus Stop
    • Phone Number 0555-73-8181
    • Fee: 2,300 yen adults, 1,150 yen children, 400 yen children 0-4 years (no seat) *Tax included; extra fee in summer)
      Tour Length: 9:15AM-3:15PM (Approx. 30 minutes, 8 departures daily)
      Regular Holiday: Irregular closings

And with the YAMANAKAKO NO KABA ride, our sightseeing trip comes to a close. Take the 4:00PM bus (Kawaguchiko/Fujisan/Oshinoko/Yamanakako/Gotemba Outlet route) back to Kawaguchiko Station.

Kawaguchiko station

In a single day, we were able to enjoy Lake Kawaguchi's Oishi Park, Oshino Hakkai, and Lake Yamanaka for only 2,600 yen per adult. Normally, costs would add up to 3120 yen, so we saved 520 yen in discounts. There were also discounts on the ropeway and amphibious bus.

In addition to the attractions introduced here, the Mt. Fuji Pass allows you to enjoy various other routes and combinations. If you plan to visit the Mt. Fuji Five Lakes area, give this pass a try. There is nothing to lose!

  • Kawaguchiko Station
    河口湖駅
    • Address Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 3641
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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