Is seeing Mt Fuji on your bucket list? Then you should make Fuji Five Lakes a part of your Japan Itinerary. In this Mt Fuji Five Lakes travel guide, we give you the top sights, the best places to see Mount Fuji (and photograph it), when to go including special festivals, as well as our recommendations for where to stay in Fuji Five Lakes – especially Lake Kawaguchiko.
Mount Fuji is Japan’s most famous and iconic mountain. We have been to Japan several times but due to the overcast and rainy weather that so often obscures the mountain during the summer months, we had never actually seen Mt Fuji clearly. So on this winter trip to Japan in December, we really wanted to cross it off our bucket list. We combined a visit to Hakone with visiting Fuji Five Lakes, which worked out perfectly. We stayed one night in Hakone, and then one night in Fuji Five Lakes.
We decided that staying around the scenic Lake Kawaguchi in the Fuji Five Lakes area would give us the best chance of seeing Mt Fuji. As we arrived at our hotel late in the evening, the sun had set, and we could see no signs of the mountain across the lake. After a late dinner and a relaxing Onsen (hot spring bath), we settled in for the night, set our alarm clocks for sunrise, and prayed that we would wake up to a clear sky.
When the alarm rang, we stumbled out of bed, put on our Yukatas, and stepped out onto the hotel’s balcony. The sight took my breath away. Even though I have seen lots of photos of Mt Fuji on Instagram and Facebook, seeing it in real life with my own eyes was something else!
Standing there all by itself with no other mountains nearby, its perfect cone shape reaching for the sky, it was so much grander and striking in real life than on any photos. Getting such a clear view of Mt Fuji felt like we had won the lottery! 🙂
Mt Fuji Five Lakes Travel Guide
Here we give you a complete guide to Fuji Five Lakes with the top things to see and do, the best places to see Mt Fuji, how to get to and around the area, and where to stay. Have a fantastic trip to Fuji Five Lakes and enjoy the view of Mout Fuji! ♥
The Fuji Five Lakes Area
The map above: The five lakes and four towns that surround Mt Fuji which combined is called Fuji Five Lakes
Five lakes surround Mt Fuji; therefore, this area is called Fuji Five Lakes. The five lakes are:
- Lake Kawaguchi/ Kawaguchiko
- Lake Yamanaka/ Yamanakako
- Lake Saiko
- Lake Motosu/ Motosuko
- Lake Shoji/ Shojiko
Kawaguchiko Lake is the most popular area to stay in in Fuji Five Lakes. Most of the hotels and inns on the east and north side of Lake Kawaguchiko have a stunning view of Mt Fuji. The small town Fuji-Yoshida also has several hotels and inns but is less convenient as it is not covered by any of the three sightseeing bus lines that loop around the area.
Fuji Five Lakes is famous and popular for having one of the best views of the iconic Mount Fuji.
Even if you have never been to Japan, you have most like heard or seen photos of Mount Fuji, popularly called Fuji-san in Japanese. It is a sacred mountain to the Japanese, and hugely popular amongst visitors to Japan.
With its 3776 m (12398 feet), Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National park. The mountain is easily recognizable with its exceptionally symmetrical cone shape, and its bright white peak, covered in snow for five months a year.
Although Mount Fuji is an active volcano, it is classified with a very low risk of an eruption. The last recorded eruption was as far back as in the Edo period, in December 1707. Since then, there have been no signs of an eruption, even though there was an earthquake (magnitude 6,2) in 2011.
Mount Fuji’s Place In Japanese Culture
Mt Fuji is a true Japanese icon, often used in art, paintings, poetry, music, theater, film, manga, anime, and pottery. The Japanese tourism board uses Mount Fuji to promote Japan, and several Japanese brands use Mt Fuji as part of their logo.
You can find the mountain represented in Japanese artworks dating back to the 11th century. Mount Fuji was made famous internationally by the woodblock print “South Wind, Clear Sky” by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai in ca. 1830.
Hokusai made a series of paintings of Mt Fuji called “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” during the Edo period 1615 – 1868. Another of his famous prints is from this series is “The Great Wave” – showing the grand Mount Fuji as a tiny mountain compared to the gigantic wave.
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains,” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku, and has been declared as one of Japan’s Historic Sites, as well as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. In 2013 Mt Fuji was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
What To Do In Fuji Five Lakes
– The Ultimate Fuji Five Lakes Itinerary
Exploring Lake Kawaguchiko
If you only have time to see one lake out of the five, I recommend that you choose Lake Kawaguchiko, as it is the largest and has the most sights and things to do and see. It can be explored on a day trip although we recommend staying at least one night in the area.
Quick Tips For Visiting Lake Kawaguchiko
If you are staying one night at Lake Kawaguchiko, as we did, get up early to get a better chance of seeing Mount Fuji clearly without the clouds. Sunrise and early mornings are the best time of the day to see the mountain.
If you are doing Mt Fuji Five Lakes as a day-trip from, for instance, Tokyo, try to get to Kawaguchiko Station as early as possible.
The Red Line – Kawaguchiko’s sightseeing bus, loops all around the Kawaguchi-ko Lake area and is a convenient way to explore the area. You can also rent a bike from your hotel or from several bike rental shops.
If you plan on taking the bus a lot, buy the Sightseeing Bus Pass (unlimited rides valid for all bus routes) at the Tourist Information Office at Kawaguchiko Station. This cost 1500 Yen = US$ 14 for adults and 750 Yen = US$ 7 for children. The Sightseeing Bus Pass is valid for two days.
However, if you are planning on visiting both Hakone and Fuji Five Lakes, the Fuji Hakone Pass is a good value. We bought this which saved us some money. You can use this on designated buses, trains, boats, cablecars, and ropeways in both Hakone and the Fuji Five Lakes. The Fuji Hakone Pass is valid for three days.
1-Day Fuji Five Lakes Itinerary
Our recommended 1-day Mt Fuji Five Lakes Itinerary:
1. Mt Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, 2. Nagasaki Park, 3. Oishi Park, 4. Fuji Sengen Shrine, 5. Chureito Pagoda
If you have more days: Green & Blue Sightseeing Bus Line to Lake Saiko, Lake Shojiko, and Lake Motosuko, Fuji-Q Amusement Park, Fujiyama Art Museum
Start your day in Fuji Five Lakes by jumping on the Red Line – Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus. Either get on the bus at Kawaguchiko Station (if you are arriving from Tokyo in the morning) or the bus stop closest to your hotel. The bus leaves Kawaguchiko Station every 15 minutes. The first bus is at 09:00 in the morning, and the last bus is at 17:45 (5:45 pm).
Take the red line sightseeing bus to the bus stop nr. 9 – Sightseeing Boat/ Ropeway Entrance.
1. Mt Fuji Panoramic Ropeway – Kachi-Kachi Yama Ropeway
If boat rides are your thing, then you could start your day with the sightseeing boat leaving from the dock just next to the bus stop. The boat takes you out on a small round trip of Lake Kawaguchiko.
Otherwise, skip it (it is a bit touristy) and head straight to the ropeway, which is only a few steps away from the bus stop (follow the signs).
The cable car will take you up 1075 m to the Fuji Viewing Platform, where you will get a spectacular panoramic view of Mt Fuji. You can also hike the way back down, as there is a marked hiking trail, or hike both ways – up and down. The hike down takes about 45 minutes.
There are also hiking trails, short and long, once you are on the top of the cable car. These are well marked, so follow the signs.
If you are feeling energetic and want a full work-out, you can opt for the six-hour or so return hike from the top of the cable car to the mountain Mitsutoge-Yama (1785 m high). This hike runs along an old hiking trail, and you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of Mt Fuji, the whole hike.
- How to get there: Take the red sightseeing bus line. Get off at the bus stop no. 9 – Sightseeing Boat/ Ropeway Entrance
- Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (most of the year), 09:30 – 16:30 (winter, from 1. Dec until 28. Feb)
- Ticket price: 900 Yen = US$ 8 (adult, round-trip), 500 Yen = US$ 5 (adult, one way)
- Where is it: Kawaguchiko Lake, Mt Fuji
- Webpage Kachi-Kachi Yama Ropeway
Back down from the ropeway, jump back on the Red Bus Line at bus stop no. 9. Get off at the last bus stop no. 20 – Oishi Park.
2 & 3. Oishi Park & Nagasaki Park
Go for a stroll along the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi through the beautiful Oishi Park and Nagasaki Park, connected by a walking path. Enjoy the fabulous view of Mt Fuji with the lake, trees, and flowers.
Make sure to walk through the colorful “Flowers Road” on the west side of Oishi Park. This is one of the most popular spots from which to take photos of Mt Fuji with the flowers and the lake as a foreground.
The flowers in Oishi Park vary from season to season. In late April, you can enjoy the colorful tulips, the white, yellow and orange narcissus, and the bright yellow rape flowers. While in early May, the bright pink moss phlox spreads out along the walkway like a colorful carpet.
From mid-June to mid-July, it is all about the purple lavender in Oishi Park, as this is the season for the lavender to bloom fully. The lavender bloom at the same time as the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival. During the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival, you can enjoy various events, food stalls, and small markets selling local products and crafts in Oishi Park (north side of Lake Kawaguchiko) and Yagisaki park (south side of Lake Kawaguchiko).
From late June to early October, you can see the impressive “Niagara Falls of Flowers” in Oishi Park. It is a stunning flower artwork with a total length of 130 meters, all covered in colorful Begonia. The rest of October, and on into November, the walkways in Oishi Park are surrounded by bright red Kochia – summer cypress that has turned red as the temperatures have dropped, and it is autumn.
There is also a shop/ cafe in Oishi Park, called Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center, where you can buy local souvenirs, specialties, and snacks, like homemade blueberry jam.
The walk from Oishi Park to Nagasaki park is a short one and takes about ten minutes.
After Nagasaki Park, continue walking along the shore walkway until you pass the stately mansion that is home to La Boheme Mimi Cafe. If you are feeling in need of a cup of coffee, tea, and some snacks consider stopping here. We had a lovely cup of tea and some fresh fruit in the garden of the cafe.
This area has several quirky museums so if the weather is bad or you are simply feeling like some museum time you can stop by:
- Itchiku Kubota Art Museum – A museum displaying the unique kimono art of master designer Itchiku Kubota
- Kawaguchiko Konohana Museum – An art museum based on Wachifield, a popular book series set in a fantasy land inhabited by Dayan the cat
- Kawaguchiko Museum of Art – A collection of artworks depicting Mount Fuji
- Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum – Vintage music instruments and music boxes
If you would like to explore further along the shore there are a few operators renting out bikes here. It is also possible to rent a small boat and take a row on the lake.
After your walk along the shore of Kawaguchiko Lake, take the Red Bus Line back to Kawaguchiko Station (bus stop no. 1). Once at Kawaguchiko Station, change the bus to the brown C-Line or the orange A-Line that goes to Lake Yamanakako. Get off at the bus stop no. 177 – Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengenjina Shrine.
This bus ride takes about 10 minutes. If you haven’t bought the Unlimited Ride Pass (or has a Hakone Mt Fuji Pass), this bus ride costs about 300 Yen = US$ 3.
4. Fuji Sengen-Jinja Shrine
The full name of this shrine is “Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Jinja,” where jinja is the Japanese word for a shrine. It is often just called Sengen Shrine or Sengen-Jinja Shrine. The word “Sengen” comes from the Shinto animistic worship of volcanoes.
While there are several smaller Sengen-shrines around Mt Fuji, like the Kawaguchi Asama Jinja Shrine, Yama-jinja Shrine, and Suwa-Jinja Shrine, Sengen Jinja is by far the most important and is one of the largest forest shrines in the whole of Japan, covering 99 000 ㎡.
The Shinto shrine complex is very atmospheric, tucked away in the forest among tall cedar trees. The temple buildings are old wooden structures, and to get to the temple, you walk up a path lined with large moss-covered stone lanterns.
After walking through the woods along the path up to the temple, you reach the temple grounds, a wide-open space surrounded by three huge trees These trees are sacred and designated as natural monuments. The trees are enormous, about 23 meters tall and about 1000 years old. They are believed to protect the shrine.
I love the atmosphere at this temple. Walking around the temple grounds surrounded by the dense forest, with the sun peeking through the huge trees, feels otherworldly almost like stepping into a fairytale.
The shrine dates back to the 8th century and was rebuilt in 1800. It is dedicated to the goddess of Mt Fuji – Sakuya-hime (her full name being Konohanasakuya-hime-no-mikoto).
The Sacred Gates To Mt Fuji
A visit to Fuji Sengen Jinja Shrine is for many pilgrims mandatory before going on a pilgrim hike to the Mt Fuji, to purify the body and mind before the challenging climb up to the peak. There are three Tori gates to the climbing paths of Mt Fuji, and two of them are located at the Sengen Shrine.
At the entrance of the Sengen Jinja Shrine stand the first and most spectacular Tori gate. This gate is rebuilt every 60th year, each time bigger and grander than the last gate.
On the west side of the shrine is the “Otorii” gate. This is the main entrance to the Yoshidaguchi climbing trail and is considered the starting point for the Mt.Fuji pilgrimage. If you are wondering where the third gate is, it is called “Kanadorii” and is located near the Fujisan/ Mt Fuji Station.
Yoshida Fire Festival At Sengen Shrine
Every August 26th and 27th the Sengen Shrine is host to the Yoshida Fire Festival (Yoshida no Himatsuri). The festival marks the end of the climbing season of Mt Fuji and offer thankfulness for the safe return of this season’s hikers.
The shrine has two huge Mikoshi (portable shrines) each weighing one tonne and during the first day of the festival, they are paraded down Fuji-Yoshida’s main street. Bonfires are lit along this street for the procession, starting from the shrine. It is an impressive sight, a 2 km long fire corridor of bonfires, and some of the bonfires are up to 3 meters tall! The second day of the festival (27th of August), is held at the Fuji Sengenjinja Shrine itself.
The Yoshida Fire Festival is designated as one of “the three most unique festivals in Japan.” So if you are in the area during late August be sure not to miss it.
- Where is it: Fuji-Yoshida (north of Mt Fuji)
- How to get there: From Kawaguchiko Station, take the brown C-Line bus or the orange A-Line bus that goes to Lake Yamanakako. Get off at the bus stop no. 177 – Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengenjina Shrine.
- Opening hours: 09:00 (9 am) – 17:00 (5 pm), but the temple grounds are open 24h
- Ticket price: FREE!
- Sengenjinja Shrine Webpage
By now, you are probably ready for some late lunch. Head to one of the nearby restaurants of the shrine, along the main street. We had a nice lunch at Royal Host Restaurant (turn right when you get down to the main road, a 5 min walk, the restaurant is on the opposite side of the road). They have a big menu and a good selection of food, both vegetarian, western, and Japanese.
After your lunch, head to the famous Chureito Pagoda. It’s easiest to just take a taxi there, but if you want to take the bus, see below for more details.
5. Chureito Pagoda
The bright red and shiny five-tired Chureito Pagoda must be one of the most famous and photographed pagodas in the whole of Japan. People are even coming to Japan to photograph this view, that’s how popular it is.
The Chureito Pagoda is a part of the Arakura Sengen Shrine and is located in Sengen Park. To get to the top you cross through the park and walk the 398 steps up the slopes of Arakura-yama (Mt Arakura). The walk up to the Chureito Pagoda takes about 10-15 min (depending on your level of fitness).
Although the steps are concrete and well maintained, it is a steep hike, and I must admit that I had to pause at least once during the hike to catch my breath 🙂 On the bright side, it’s an excellent workout and well worth it once you get to the top and can enjoy the fantastic view of Mt Fuji with the pagoda in the foreground!
There is an observation deck behind the Chureito Pagoda, from where the classic photo of the pagoda with Mt Fuji is taken.
However, don’t expect to be alone when visiting the Chureito Pagoda. It can get pretty crowded, especially during weekends and public holidays. So avoid the weekend if you can. You have the best chance of seeing Mt Fuji in the early morning at sunrise or in the afternoon at sunset, as the mountain usually gets covered by clouds and fog at mid-day.
It gets especially busy during the cherry blossoms season in April. Having the Chureito Pagoda in the foreground surrounded by pink cherry blossoms with Mt Fuji as a backdrop is THE classic cherry blossom picture of Japan.
Early November, at the height of the fall color season, is another popular time to visit the Chureito Pagoda when the leaves of the threes in the park are bright red, orange, and yellow. We visited the Chureito Pagoda during the first week of December, a little too late for the fall colors, but there were still a few threes that had red autumn leaves intact.
Camera tripods are prohibited at the observation deck. And at peak season, there is a queue up to the observation deck, and you only get about 5 minutes to take your photos.
Arakurayama Sengen Park Cherry Blossom Festival
There is another reason to head to the pagoda during the cherry blossom season – to take part in the Arakurayama Sengen Park Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Cherry Blossom festival was first held in Arakurayama Sengen Park in 2016 and has since become a yearly event.
At the festival, you can enjoy outdoor food stalls selling local food, drinks, and snacks. One of the dishes you should try is the Yoshida no Udon – udon noodles made by using the spring water from Mt Fuji, washed down with a local Fujiyama Beer, brewed using natural water from Mt Fuji.
With traditional woven products and crafts from the Yamanashi district for sale, it’s a great place to hunt for gifts and souvenirs.
There are also live music performances like Japanese taiko drum shows, and a food festival going on in the downtown of Fuji Yoshida.
How To Get To Chureito Pagoda:
The quickest and easiest way to get from Sengenjinja Shrine to Chureito Pagoda is by taxi, which we opted for. The taxi ride took about 10-15 minutes and cost approximately 100 Yen = US$ 10.
Another option is to take the bus, but it takes a bit longer time. From Sengenjinja Shrine, you must take the bus back to Kawaguchiko Station (the brown C-Line or orange A-Line) and change the bus there.
Once you are back at Kawaguchiko Station, take the Mount Fuji World Heritage Loop Bus from Kawaguchiko Station to Chureito Iriguchi Bus Stop. This bus ride takes about 15 min. The buses operate every 90 minutes.
Or you can take the train from Kawaguchiko Station to Shimoyoshida Station (the Fujikyu Railway Line). This train ride takes about 10 min and costs 300 Yen = US$ 3 per person. Once at Shimoyoshida Station, follow the signs to Arakura Sengen Shrine/ Chureito Pagoda, which is a 10 min walk from the station. Once you reach the Arakura Sengen Shrine, it takes 10-15 minutes (depending on your fitness level) to walk the 400+ steps up the hill to the pagoda itself.
- Where is it: Arakura Sengen Park, Fuji-Yoshida (north of Mt Fuji)
- Opening hours: 24h
- Ticket price: FREE!
After you have been to the Chureito Pagoda, the sun has probably set, and it is getting dark outside.
If you are spending the night at the Mt Fuji Five Lakes, head back to your hotel or head to a restaurant for some dinner. If you’re moving on, head back to Tokyo by express bus or by train. We took the express bus back to Tokyo (Shinjuku) and paid with our Pasmo card. I recommend reserving a seat on the bus in advance.
More Days At Fuji Five Lakes
If you have more time to spend in the Mt Fuji Five Lakes Area, there are plenty of other things to do and see.
1. Explore Lake Saiko & Lake Motosuko
The green and blue bus lines take you to more quiet and remote areas around Mt Fuji. If you want to escape the crowds, you should opt for these two lines, which will take you to Lake Saiko, Lake Shojiko, and Lake Motosuko. These areas are excellent for hiking.
Green Bus Line – The quiet side of Lake Kawaguchiko & Lake Saiko
Jump on the Sightseeing Bus Green Line, which goes to the more quiet and remote spots of Kawaguchiko Lake, and around Lake Saiko. The bus leaves from Kawaguchiko Station every 30 minutes.
Lake Saiko has a few notable sights including:
- The Healing village of Saiko Iyashi no Sato
This traditional thatched roof farm village is home to many traditional crafts. Each house is dedicated to one craft and you can take workshops in for instance Soba making. The village itself is very charming and a good alternative to the much more famous Shirakawa-go if you won’t be going there.
- The Saiko Bat Cave
The largest of Lake Saiko’s three main caves is well worth a visit with its walkways and low ceilings formed by lava. There is a visitor center at the entrance. The cave is closed during the winter months.
- Fugaku Wind Cave & Narusawa Ice Cave
Inside these caves, you can see illuminated icicles all year around. The caves act as natural refrigerators and during the Edo period they were used to preserve silkworms and eggs.
There are also several nice hiking trails around Lake Saiko, like:
- Tokai Nature Hiking Trail to Mt Ashiwada/ Mt Gokodai (1355 m high) and Mt Sankodai (1202 m high)
- Jukai Nature Hiking Train through Aokigahara Jukai Forest
- Mt Junigatake Hiking Trail (1683 m high)
- Mt Kenashi Hiking Trail (1500 m high)
Blue Bus Line – Narusawa, Lake Shojiko & Lake Motosuko
Take the Sightseeing Bus Blue Line to see the quiet area Narusawa, before the bus goes around the small and remote Lake Shojiko and on to Lake Motosuko. The bus stops at the bus stop no. 98 (Lake Motosuko Tourist Information Center). The blue line leaves Kawaguchiko Station five times a day.
You can sit on board the bus around the blue line and enjoy the beautiful scenery, or get off to see sights along the way, like:
- Fujisan World Heritage Center (bus stop no. 65)
- Kawaguchiko Shopping Center Bell (bus stop no. 67)
- Hike Mt Koyodai, 1165 m high (bus stop no. 79)
- Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave (bus stop no. 80)
- Fugaku Fuketsu Wind Cave (bus stop no. 51)
- Suwa-jinja Shrine (bus stop no. 84 – Lake Shojiko Tourist Information Center)
- Kodaki Fuji View Point (bus stop no. 86)
- Panorama Observatory Shita (bus stop no. 88)
- Yama-jinja Shrine (bus stop 97)
2. Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park
If you are traveling to Mt Fuji with kids, or love roller coasters yourself, then you should consider a visit to the amusement park Fuji-Q Highland. You will have a fantastic view of Mt Fuji from the roller coasters, some of which are pretty extreme:
- Fujiyama roller coast – The tallest and fastest roller coaster at Fuji-Q Highland Park. It is the 10th fastest, 8th tallest, and 5th longest ride in the world.
- Do-dodonpa’s vertical loop – The world’s fastest acceleration roller coaster. Its speed is 180 km/h = 111,9 miles per hour in 1,6 seconds!
- Takabisha – The steepest roller coast in the world with a drop angle of 121 degrees.
- Eejanaika – Experience life in 4D.
- Labyrinth of Fear
- Anime-themed rides
One part of the park, Thomas Land, is based on the Thomas the Tank Engine and is perfect for the little ones. The park also has shops, cafes, onsen, and a resort hotel. So you can easily spend a few hours or even a full day at Fuji-Q Highland.
To save time and skip the lines, consider buying the 1-day Fuji-Q Highland pass ticket online. The Fuji-Q One-Day Pass (includes Fuji-Q and Thomas land) will get you all-day access to Fuji-Q Highland and unlimited access to rides.
- Where is it: Close to Kawaguchiko Station
- Opening hours: 09:00 (9 am) – 17:00 (5 pm), until 20:00 (8 pm) on Saturdays and Sundays
- Ticket price: 1-day pass: adult 6000 Yen = US$ 55, youth 12-17 years old 5500 Yen = US$ 50, child 6-11 years old 4300 Yen = US$ 39, infant 1-5 years old 2000 Yen = US$ 19. You can also buy priority tickets (to skip the lines), and cheaper afternoon tickets.
- Fuji-Q Highland Webpage
3. Fujiyama Art Museum
A nice art museum where you can enjoy an excellent collection of Mt Fuji paintings by famous Japanese artists.
- Where is it: Just outside the entrance to Fuji-Q Highland amusement park, close to Kawaguchiko Station
- Opening hours: 09:00 (9 am) – 17:00 (5 pm), until 20:30 (8:30 pm) on Saturdays and Sundays
- Ticket price:
- Fujiyama Museum Webpage
The Best Places To See Mt Fuji
While Fuji Five Lakes have plenty of things to do and see, there is no denying that it is the sight of the mighty Mt Fuji that brings people here. Some come to photograph it while others just want to gaze at it with their own eyes. Even though the mountain lies about 100km southwest of the capital Toky, the sheer size of it means that on a clear day you can even see Mt Fuji from Tokyo.
You can also see Mt Fuji distantly from Yokohama city, and as far as Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Lake Hamana, but only when the sky is clear with no clouds, mist, or fog.
You can even catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji from the southbound Shinkansen train from Tokyo until the train reaches Utsunomiya Station.
But to see the mountain at its most majestic nothing can quite compete with the Fuji Five Lakes area. There are more famous Mt Fuji observation points here than anywhere else.
Map of the best places to see Mt Fuji –
Chureito Pagoda, Mt Fuji Panoramic Ropeway, Ubuyagasaki, Fuji Observation Deck, Yagizaki Park, Momiji Autumn Leaves Corridor, Nagasaki Park, Oishi Park, and the lakeshore below Kawaguchko Music Forest Museum
The Red Chureito Pagoda
The most classic Mt Fuji picture is probably with the red Chureito Pagoda as a foreground and Mt Fuji as a background. If you visit the Mt Fuji area during the right season, you can even get a photo of the Pagoda surrounded by pink cherry blossoms or red autumn leaves.
Read more about Chureito Pagoda and how to get there further up (under the itinerary).
Eastern Shore Of Lake Kawaguchi
The whole shore of the east and north of Laka Kawaguchiko gives you fantastic views of Mt Fuji.
The most famous photo spots and best places to see Mt Fuji around Lake Kawaguchiko are:
- Mt Fuji Panoramic Ropeway
Also called Kachi-Kachi Yama Ropeway. Get off at bus stop no. 9 – Sightseeing Boat/ Ropeway Entrance (Red Bus Line).
You have probably seen this shot of Mt Fuji with Lake Kawaguchiko and Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge as the foreground in brochures and guidebooks. Get off at the bus stop no. 12 – Kukuna Hotel (Red Bus Line). This shot was first done in April 1914 by the photographer Koyo Okada who dedicated his life to photographing Mt. Fuji. He is most famous for his photo of Mt Fuji on the Japanese 1000 Yen bill.
- Fuji Deck
A new observation deck (opened in November 2018). From the 13-meter high observation deck, you get a fantastic view of Mt Fuji. There is a beautiful garden in front of the deck, as well as a cafe where you can get something to eat and drink while photographing Mt Fuji. Address: 1996 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi. Open every day 10:00 – 17:00, entrance fee: 500 Yen adult/ 300 Yen child.
- Yagazaki Park
A big open park at the south shore of Lake Kawaguchiko (take the Green Sightseeing Bus Line, jump off at bus stop no. 24). You get a stunning view of Mt Fuji from this park, and it is particularly beautiful when the over one thousand lavender is in full bloom, from mid-June to mid-July. It is like a purple sea of lavender flowers, making a beautiful foreground with Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi as the background.
- Momiji Autumn Leaves Corridor
A corridor of maple trees gets red, orange, and yellow in November. Take the Red Bus Line to bus stop no. 17 – Itchiku Kubota Art Museum.
- Nagasaki Park and Oishi Park
On the north side of Lake Kawaguchiko (bus stop no. 18 on the Red Line) has trees and beautiful flowers you can use as a foreground with the lake and Mt Fuji as a background. Especially beautiful during cherry blossom where you can have the pink blossoms in the foreground.
- Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum Promenade
There is a lovely promenade along the shore side of Lake Kawaguchiko between the Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum and the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art. Jump off at bus stop no. 14 or 15 (Red Bus Line). You can get a beautiful shot of the lake, with the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge and Mt Fuji in the background.
Lake Saiko, Lake Shojiko, and Lake Motosuko also have a nice view of Mt Fuji, especially if you hike up one of the many mountains in the area like Mt Koyodai, Mt Sankodai, and Mt Ashiwada/ Mt Gokodai on the Tokai Nature Trail.
How To Get Around Fuji Five Lakes
Traveling around the Fuji Five Lakes area that surrounds Mt Fuji is very easy with the convenient sightseeing buses that frequently run between the five lakes every day. All buses start from Kawaguchiko Station.
The bus stops are well marked, and there is a monitor on board the buses telling you which bus stop is coming up. See all the bus stops here (Google Maps). The buses are easy peasy to use!
Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Bus – Red, Green & Blue
There are three main sightseeing bus lines to choose from in Fuji Five Lakes area:
- Red Line – Lake Kawaguchiko Area
First bus: 09:00, Last bus: 17:45, departs every 0/ 15/ 30/ 45 min on every hour
- Green Line – Lake Saiko Area
First bus: 09:20, Last bus: 16:40, departs every 10/ 40 on every hour
- Blue Line – Narusawa/ Lake Shojiko/ Lake Motosuko
Runs only five times a day: 09:35, 10:35, 11:35, 13:35, and 15:35
All three bus lines depart from Kawaguchiko Station (from Bus Stop No. 1).
Lake Yamanakako/ Fujiyoshida/ Oshino Sightseeing Bus
Additional to these three sightseeing bus lines, three lines are running in the Lake Yamanakako Area (Fujiyoshida, Oshino-Hakkai and Lake Yamanaka):
- Brown C-Line
- Green F-Line
- Orange A-Line
These buses also depart from Kawaguchiko Station (from No. 6), eleven times a day. All these three bus lines also go to Mt Fuji Station. You must, for instance, take the brown C-Line or the orange A-Line to get to the Sengen Shrine (get off at bus stop no. 177).
Fuji Five Lakes Sightseeing Bus Tickets
You can buy a Sightseeing Bus Pass, which is valid for two days for an unlimited ride on all the bus routes in the area. The Sightseeing Bus Pass can be purchased at Kawaguchiko Station and some of the hotels in the area. This 2-day Sightseeing Bus Pass valid for all routes cost 1500 Yen = US$ 14 (adult), 750 Yen = US$ 7 (child).
Or you can buy individual tickets onboard the bus. The fare varies with how far you want to go.
Alternatively, if you plan on taking the sightseeing buses + the ropeway + the sightseeing boat on Lake Kawaguchiko, you can opt for the R Coupon. The R Coupon gives you unlimited access for two days on all bus routes, as well as the ropeway (one time only) and sightseeing boat (one time only). This R Coupon cost 2800 Yen = US$ 25 (adult), 1400 Yen = US$ 13 (child).
You can get a bus guide map with all the bus stops at the tourist information desk at Kawaguchiko Station. The timetables are printed on the back of the map.
When To Go – The Best Time To View Mt Fuji
You are more likely to get a clear sky during wintertime in Japan, so November till April are the best months to see Mount Fuji. During summer, June – August, clouds often cover Mt Fuji’s peak.
Early mornings are the best time of the day to view Mt Fuji, as the mountain often starts to get cloudy from mid-day. This is one of the reasons we recommend staying for at least one night in the area, instead of just taking a day trip from Tokyo.
If possible you may also want to plan your trip to coincide with one of the many festivals held here every year. We cover the festivals in more depth later.
Btw, if you are considering climbing Mt Fuji, then the best time is during July and August when the weather is at its warmest. You can read all about climbing Mount Fuji on the official web page.
Cherry Blossoms – April
Spring, April – May, with its cherry blossom, is a fantastic and popular time to head to Fuji Five Lakes to see Mt Fuji. It doesn’t get any better than Mt Fuji with pink cherry blossom trees in the foreground. At this time there are also several cherry blossom festivals going on in the area.
Fuji Kawaguchiko Cherry Blossoms Festival
On the north side of Lake Kawaguchiko, you can enjoy the Fuji Kawaguchiko Cherry Blossoms Festival during the first couple of weeks of April.
You can walk among 200 Someiyoshino cherry trees covering about 1 km of the lakeside of Kawaguchiko Lake. It is a beautiful sight with Mt Fuji as a majestic backdrop.
During the festival, the cherry blossom trees are lit up from sunset until 21:00 (9 pm), making the pinkish flowers sparkle even more.
There are also plenty of vendors and stalls where you can sample the local snacks, as well as buy a souvenir or two to bring back home.
To get to the Fuji Kawaguchiko Cherry Blossom Festival, take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus and get off at Stop No. 16 (Kawaguchiko Moneky Show Thater/ Konohana Art Museum) or 17 (Itchiku Kubota Art Museum). There are also cherry blossom trees close to bus no. 18 (Nagaski Park Entrance). Taking a walk along the lakeshore between bus stop no. 16 and no.18 is stunning during the cherry blossom season.
Arakurayama Sengen Park Cherry Blossom Festival
There is also a similar cherry blossom festival in Arakurayama Sengen Park, which surrounds the famous Chureito Pagoda – Arakurayama Sengen Park Cherry Blossom Festival.
This festival is on at the same time as the Fuji Kwaguchiko Cherry Blossom Festival, in the first couple of weeks of April. Read about it further down, under Chureito Pagoda.
There are also food stalls selling local snacks and drinks during cherry blossoms, as well as local crafts and souvenirs in the downtown of Fuji-Yoshida (north of Mt Fuji).
So lots of people, an energetic atmosphere, and fun festivals to attend during the first couple of weeks of April in the Fuji Five Lakes area.
Autumn Leaves – November
November, when the leaves of the maple trees turn red, yellow, and orange (autumn foliage), is also a beautiful and popular time to visit Mt Fuji Five Lakes Area.
Going out for a stroll admiring the autumn leaves is a popular activity and custom in Japan. It even has a special word – “Momijigari“. Momiji is the Japanese name of the Japanese maple tree Acer palmatum.
Fuji Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival
Every November, the Fuji Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival is held at the lakeside of Lake Kawaguchiko. In 2019, the dates of the Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival were from the 1st of November until the 23rd of November.
During the Autumn Leaves Festival, the maple trees are lit up from sunset until 22:00 (10 pm) every evening, making the red, orange, and yellow leaves pop even more. It is a stunning sight with Mt Fuji and the lake as a backdrop.
During the festival, you can enjoy walking through corridors of maple trees with autumn leaves, market stalls selling food, drinks, souvenirs, and locals crafts. The food stalls are open from 09:00 (9 am) until 19:00 (7 pm). There are also various music performances in the area during the festival.
Momiji Autumn Leaves Corridor
The most famous and largest maple leaves corridor in Kawaguchi is the Momiji Corridor on the north side of Lake Kawaguchiko. Take the Red Line Sightseeing Bus to Bus Stop No. 17 (Itchiku Kubota Art Museum). The bus ride takes about 20 min from Kawaguchiko Station and costs 390 Yen = US$ 4 one way.
We visited Lake Kawaguchiko in the first week of December, so we, unfortunately, missed out on the autumn leaves festival. But we still got to see some red, yellow, and orange maple trees around Lake Kawaguchiko and at the Momiji Corridor.
Lake Yamanakako Autumn Leaves Festival
Lake Yamanakako has several maple tree forests and corridors well worth a visit during November when they are all colored in red, yellow, and orange.
The best sport is the “Sunset Shore” in Asahigaoka Lakeside Greenspace Park on the east side of Lake Yamanakako. Here you can see Mt Fuji with autumn leaves and the lake in the foreground. The 600 m corridor of maple trees is illuminated from 16:30 (4:30 pm) until 21:00 (9 pm) every evening during the festival.
In 2019, the dates of the Lake Yamanakako Autumn Leaves Festival were 25th October – 10th of November.
Take the Fujikko-go bus from Kawaguchiko Station, the C-Line, F-Line, or A-Line, and get off at bus stop no. 150 (Yamanakako Asahigaoka).
Other Fuji Five Lakes Festivals & Events
The Japanese love fireworks and there are several fireworks festivals at Kawaguchiko.
Fuji Shibazakura Festival – April
We have unfortunately not been to Japan during spring yet. But when we do, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is definitely going to be on our bucket list as it looks amazing! Every spring, this stunning festival is held 3 km south of Lake Motosu in Fuji Five Lakes (head to Fuji Motosuko Resort).
800 000 of five varieties of the pink moss Shiba-Sakura are blooming at the foot of Mount Fuji. It is a spectacular sight – a pink sea of flowers with the iconic Mt Fuji in the background. You have probably seen pictures of it on Instagram.
Shiba-Sakura, meaning “lawn cherry”, has the official name of “Phlox subulata”. It is a creeper plant and a species of phlox, also called “Moss Plox”. It has flowers in red, pink, white, and purple and resembles a bit like cherry blossoms although it is on the ground and not up in cherry trees. Around Lake Motosu a sea of these flowers has been planted which turn into a beautiful pink flower carpet made of mother nature.
Make sure to visit the “Panorama Café” to get some super cute and special Shiba-sakura blossom sweets. There is also a food festival going on at the same time – the “Mt.Fuji Delicious Food Festival”.
- When is it: 11th of April – 31st of May 2020, every day at 08:00 – 17:00
- Where is it: The main place for this festival is Fuji Motosuko Resort, 3 km south of Lake Motosuko in Fuji Five Lakes
- Entrance fee: 800 Yen = US$ 7 adult, 250 Yen = US$ 2,3 child
- Parking fee: 500 Yen = US$ 5
- How to get there:
A special bus route, “Shiba-Sakura Liner”, departs from Kawaguchiko Station every 30 minutes during the festival. The bus round trip fare + entrance ticket to the festival is about 2000 Yen = US$ 19 adult, 1000 Yen = US$ 9 child. The bus ride usually takes about 30-40 minutes, but it might take longer due to heavy traffic, especially during the Golden Week (end of April until early May).
Fujikyu Bus Company operates two highway buses per day directly from Shinjuku to the festival site at Lake Motosuko. The bus ride takes bout 2,5 hours one way and costs around 2500 Yen.
- Shiba-sakura Festival’s Offical Webpage
Mt Fuji Climbing Season Opening Fireworks – July
Every year, around the opening date of the climbing season of Mount Fuji, there is a big firework at Lake Kawaguchiko kickstarting the summer climbing season. The climbing season starts on the 1st of July, but the firework show is usually held on the first Saturday after the 1st of July. So in 2019, the firework show was on Saturday the 6th of July from 20:00 (8 pm) until approximately 20:30 (8:30 pm).
It is a great firework show where around 2000 fireworks are launched within 30 minutes. Be prepared and have your camera on a tripod before the fireworks start shooting. A great place to see the fireworks is in front of the Kozantei Ubuya Ryokan Hotel (take the Red Bus Line to bus stop no. 13 – Kozantei Ubuya).
Kawaguchiko Herb Festival – June/ July
The Kawaguchko Herb Festival is on from around mid-June to mid-July, when the purple lavender flowers are in full bloom.
The Herb Festival is held in Oishi Park (north side of Lake Kawaguchiko) and Yagisaki park (south side of Lake Kawaguchiko). In 2019, the dates for the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival was 14th June – 7th July (in Yagasaki Park) and 14th June – 15th July (in Oishi Park).
During the festival, you can wander around the parks admiring the beautiful purple sea of over one thousand fully bloom lavender flowers with Lake Kawaguchi and Mt Fuji as a backdrop. There are various events and markets in these two parks during the Herb Festival, and you can enjoy street food, drinks, and buy local products and crafts.
Fuji Five Lakes Fireworks Festivals – Kojosai – August
In the first week of August, the Fuji Five Lakes Fireworks Festival is held at the five lakes that surround Mt Fuji (Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Yamanakako, Lake Saiko, Lake Shojiko and Lake Motosuko).
During this week-long festival, there are firework shows held at one of the lakes every evening. First out is Lake Yamanakako (Day 1), followed by Lake Saiko (Day 2), Lake Motosuko (Day 3), and Lake Shojiko (Day 4). At some of the lakes, they also release floating lanterns, which is a quite stunning sight.
The fireworks are launched at 20:00 (8 pm) every night during the festival, and the shows last for about one hour.
The grand firework finale – Kojosai – with the most spectacular firework show is held at Lake Kawaguchiko over two days (Day 4 & 5) at the end of the first week of August. In 2019, the Kawaguchiko Kojosai Festival was held on the 4th and 5th of August.
Over the two evenings, around 10 000 colorful fireworks lit up the sky in front of Mt Fuji and over Lake Kawaguchi. The fireworks show starts around 20:00 (8 pm) on these two days. But the one on day one is only a short show which lasts for about 20 min. The main firework show on day two lasts for about an hour and is spectacular!
During this one-week festival, you can enjoy different cultural events in the Fuji Five Lakes area, like dance performances and concerts, and try lots of delicious Japanese street food, snacks, and drinks.
This firework festival is super fun for both adults and kids!
Kawaguchiko Winter Fireworks – January & February
During January and February, there are a total of twelve fireworks shows held at Lake Kawaguchiko during the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). The fireworks are launched at 20:00 (8 pm) and last for approximately 20 minutes or so.
You can see the fireworks from all around the lake, but they are launched in Oike Park (take the Red Bus Line to bus stop no. 5) and Yagisaki Park (take the Gren Bus Line to bus stop no. 24).
Since the sky often is clear and the water on the lake is calm in January and February, the winter fireworks create a beautiful reflection on the lake. It is a great photo opportunity so make sure to have your tripod set up and your camera ready.
Fujisan Marathon – November
The Fujisan Marathon is held on the last Sunday in November each year. So if you are the sporty type and want a good workout, then you should head to Lake Kawaguchiko on the last weekend of November.
You can choose between two distances, the full 42 km Marathon and the 12 km Charity Fun Race. Both distances have a stunning view of Mt Fuji around the track.
See the official webpage of the Fujisan Marathon for more information.
Where To Stay In Fuji Five Lakes – Kawaguchiko
Lake Kawaguchiko is in our opinion the best place to stay if you want to explore the Fuji Five Lakes Area and enjoy the view of Mt Fuji. The three Fuji sightseeing bus lines, as well as the local buses, all start from Kawaguchiko Station, making it an excellent base from which to discover the area.
There are also a lot of fantastic options for accommodation at any budget here. Below are some of our favorites.
Shuhokaku Kogetsu Ryokan
Shuhokaku Kogetsu is a Ryokan – a traditional Japanese inn with Japanese-style rooms, including futon beds on a tatami mat. The rooms do, however, have modern comforts like air-conditioning, an LCD TV, and a private bathroom. The Shuhokaku Kogetsu has a stunning location right on the shore of Lake Kawaguchi. The uninterrupted view of Mount Fuji from the room balcony and lounge are breathtaking!
All rooms have a fantastic view of Mt Fuji and the lake. The outdoor hot spring/ Onsen with a view of Mt Fuji is a real gem at this hotel. In the evening, you are served a private traditional Kaiseki dinner in your room or a private dining room and get to enjoy a breakfast buffet in the morning serving both Japanese and Western food. It is a little pricey, but with both dinner, breakfast, and onsen included, it is not that bad.
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
Fufu Kawaguchiko is beautifully nestled up in the hill above Lake Kawaguchiko, surrounded by pristine nature. I love the cozy Scandinavian-like decor of this hotel! It is a modern, fresh, and brand new hotel (opened November 2018).
All rooms have an awesome view of Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. The real star of this hotel is that all rooms have open-air baths/ onsen where you can soak down in hot water while enjoying the view of Mt Fuji. Fufu Kawaguchiko is the perfect place to wind down and relax.
The rooms are big, elegant, comfortable, bright, and airy. A delicious and beautiful Japanese dinner and breakfast are included in the price. And you get to borrow free e-bikes to explore the area and go for a ride along the shore of Lake Kawaguchi. There is also a wellness center at the hotel, where you can enjoy a hot spring bath and a sauna.
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
The stunning Hoshinoya Fuji is a modern luxury glamping resort tucked away in a peaceful red pine forest. This place is simply gorgeous – an oasis. And the view from the rooms is breathtaking! You can not get any closer to nature and get a better view of Mt Fuji than at this hotel!
The hotel has a restaurant and bar and a fantastic outdoor lounge area/ terrace. All guestrooms, as well as the restaurant and lounge area, have a spectacular view of Lake Kawaguchi and Mt Fuji. The area surrounding the hotel is excellent for going for walks, horse riding, and not to mention unwinding and stargazing at your balcony or the open-air lounge area.
The rooms are modern and chic decorated, and all have a private balcony and a private bathroom. I love the vast floor-to-ceiling windows letting you enjoy views of Mt Fuji even from the bath and shower! So cool! You can rent a bicycle at the hotel to explore the Mt Fuji area. If you want a unique and memorable stay in Japan, this is it.
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
We stayed at the Mizno Hotel in Kawaguchi, which is one of the hotels in Kawaguchiko with the best view of Mt Fuji. The hotel is fantastic, and one of our favorite hotels in Japan. The welcoming staff made us feel at home, and the lobby is homey and cozy with a library, a lounge area, and a bar.
We stayed there in December, and the lobby was like taken out of a Christmas movie – the fireplace was lit, and the whole bar/ library/ lounge area was stunningly decorated with English-inspired Christmas ornaments and a Christmas tree.
Mizno Hotel is located on a hilltop and has a gorgeous view overlooking Lake Kawaguchi. You can easily walk down to the shore of Lake Kawaguchi in 2 minutes, where you will find the Red Bus Line Stop no. 11. There are a couple of restaurants here as well.
You can choose between Western-styled rooms (with western beds, which we opted for), and Japanese-style rooms with traditional futon beds on a tatami mat. We booked one of the top-floor rooms with a balcony and had the most fantastic view of the lake and Mt Fuji! We even had a view of Mt Fuji from the shower in our bathroom! We enjoyed the hotel’s public hot spring bath/ Onsen on the top floor, which was very clean and spacious.
In the morning, we got served a delicious breakfast (could choose between Western and Japanese) in the top floor restaurant and could admire the grand Mt Fuji while having breakfast. The hotel also serves Japanese cuisine with a reservation, although we arrived so late in the evening that we had not made a dinner reservation. Free pick-up from Kawaguchiko Station is offered from 15:00-18:00.
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
The Jinya Hotel is a small modern inn (opened in 2018), which is excellent for families. All their rooms have a kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, and an electric water kettle. They also have big family rooms with up to five beds.
All rooms are quite spacious with comfortable western beds, and some rooms have a living room with a sofa and a dining table. The rooms also have an air-con and a private bathroom/ toilet. A bonus is the free use of the two washing and drying machines (also detergent capsules are free) as well as free parking if you plan on renting a car.
The hotel is located just a 5-min walk from Kawaguchiko Station, and a 10-min walk to Lake Kawaguchiko. The Jinya Hotel does not have a restaurant or cafe, but there are several eateries close by and also a Family Mart next door. You have a great view of Mt Fuji from your room window and balcony!
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
Kawaguchiko Urban Resort Villa
If you are a big group or family, then staying at this villa apartment hotel is perfect. The small houses Kawaguchiko Urban Resort Villa are modern and new apartments beautifully located right by Lake Kawaguchi (only 40 m or so from the shore). It is located just next to Oishi Park, in a quiet and peaceful area with great walking paths along the lake. From your hotel room and especially balcony, you get a spectacular view of Mt Fuji and the lake.
All apartments have a well-equipped kitchen, and you can choose breakfast (American) or/ and dinner to be included, which they serve in your kitchen.
The villas have a private garden, great for the kids to play in. You even get to use the barbeque grill in the garden if you want. Some of the rooms are big family rooms with two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen, and can house up to six people.
You can easily get to your villa from Kawaguchiko Station by taking the Red Sightseeing Bus Line to the last bus stop (bus stop no. 20 – Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center), the bus ride takes about 30 min. Please note that the last bus leaves from Kawaguchiko Station (bus stop no. 1) at 17:45 (5:45 pm). Or you can drive there if you have a rental car, or take a taxi (a 10 min taxi ride, cost approximately 3-4000 Yen = US$ 30).
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
Kagelow Mt.Fuji Hostel Kawaguchiko
This chic, stylish, and newly renovated hostel (renovated 2015) has a great view of Mt Fuji, both from the cozy garden patio and from some of the rooms. It is a good value, and you can choose between double rooms with big comfortable beds, big family rooms with Japanese futon beds where up to five people can sleep, and bunkbed dormitories (mixed and female-only).
The shared bathrooms on the ground floor are spotlessly clean, and the hostel also has a bar, cafe, and a shared kitchen for the guests to use. They have bikes for rent. Kagelow Hostel has a very convenient location, only a 10-min walk from Kawaguchiko Station.
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
This hostel, beautifully decorated in Japanese style, is located only a 10-min walk from Laka Kawaguchi. The main reason for its raving reviews is the super kind and helpful owner, Michi-san. Also, there is an excellent view of Mt Fuji from the lounge area of the hostel, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or have a meal while admiring the view.
You can easily get to Hostel Michikusa-ya by the Green Sightseeing Bus Line (get off at bus stop no. 25, walk 3 min). It is close to Yagisaki Park, which is a beautiful place to take photos of the lake and Mt Fuji.
The hostel has a beautiful and relaxing garden, as well as a shared kitchen, shared bathrooms, and offers free luggage storage as well as lockers for guests. The hostel also provides bike rental. You can choose between rooms for 2-3 persons or bunk beds in the mixed dormitory.
Click here for the latest prices (Booking.com)
How To Get To Fuji Five Lakes
Mt Fuji & Fuji Five Lakes area is most easily reached from Tokyo by either train or bus.
The two main gateways to this area are:
- Kawaguchi-ko Station (close to lake Kawaguchi-ko)
- Fujisan Station (in the small town Fuji-Yoshida)
Train From Tokyo To Fuji Five Lakes
Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Otsuki Station (1 – 1,5 hours). You can use the JR Pass for this ride.
At Otsuki Station, change train and take the Fuji Kyuko Line to either:
- Kawaguchiko Station (if you are staying at Lake Kawaguchi as we did) or
- Fujisan Station (if you are staying in the town Fuji-Yoshida north of Mt Fuji)
This last leg takes about 1 hour. You can NOT use the JR Pass for this ride as this is a private railway line. So if you have a JR Pass, you must buy an additional train ticket for this leg (from Otsuki Station to Fujisan Station or Kawaguchiko Station). This ticket costs 1170 Yen = US$ 11, from Otsuki Station to Kawaguchiko Station.
So altogether, it takes about 2 – 2,5 hours to get from Tokyo to Mt Fuji/ Fuji Five Lakes by train.
Bus From Tokyo To Fuji Five Lakes
The quickest and easiest way to reach Mt Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes Area is by bus.
There are frequent direct highway express buses every day between Tokyo and Kawaguchi-ko Station or Fujisan Station. The bus trip takes approximately 1 hour and 45 min.
We took this bus from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station, and it was very comfortable and convenient. We bought tickets on board the bus with our Pasmo cards.
Buses for Kawaguchiko Station leave Tokyo from the following stations: Shinjuku station, Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station and Akihabara
From Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station:
- Buses run every half hour
- First bus from Shinjuku Station 06:05, arrives at Kawaguchiko at 07:54
- Last bus from Shinjuku Station 23:25, arrives at Kawaguchiko at 01:11
From Kawaguchiko Station to Shinjuku:
- Buses run every hour
- First bus from Kawaguchiko Station 07:00, arrives at Shinjuku Station 08:45
- Last bus from Kawaguchiko Station 20:15, arrives at Shinjuku at 22:00
- Adult: Fare at counter 1950 Yen = US$ 18, Fare online 1800 Yen = US$ 16 (one way)
- Child: Fare at counter 980 Yen = US$ 9, Fare online 900 Yen = US$ 8 (one way)
For more information and reservation see Online Booking & Timetable (Highwaybus.com)
From Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station:
- Buses run every half hour
- First bus from Tokyo Station 06:20, arrives at Kawaguchiko Station 08:42
- Last bus from Tokyo Station 21:20, arrives at Kawaguchiko Station 23:22
From Kawaguchiko Station to Tokyo Station:
- Buses run every hour
- First bus from Kawaguchiko Station 06:30, arrives at Tokyo Station 08:35
- Last bus from Kawaguchiko Station 19:30, arrives at Tokyo Station 21:27
Fare one way: 2000 Yen = US$ 18 (adult), 1000 Yen = US$ 9 (child)
For more information and reservation see Online Booking & Timetable (Japanbusonline.com)
From Shibuya Station to Kawaguchiko Station:
- Buses depart every hour or so
- First bus from Shibuya Station 06:45, arrives at Kawaguchiko Station 08:52
- Last bus from Shibuya Station 19:15, arrives at Kawaguchiko Station 21:22
From Kawaguchiko Station to Shibuya Station:
- First bus from Kawaguchiko Station 06:00, arrives at Shibuya Station 08:10
- Last bus from Kawaguchiko Station 19:00, arrives at Shibuya Station 21:36
Fare one way: 1800 Yen = US$ 16 (adult), 900 Yen = US$ 8 (child)
For more information and reservation see Online Booking & Timetable (Highwaybus.com)
There are also highway express buses between Kawaguchiko Station and Kyoto Station, Osaka Station, Takayama Station, Nagoya Station, Haneda Airport, and Narita Airport.
The departure times and ticket prices above may change, so always check the online timetables for the correct and updated departure times.
Private Car From Tokyo To Fuji Five Lakes & Hakone
If you are short on time, renting a private car and driver is the most convenient, hassle-free, and comfortable way to get to Fuji Five Lakes. A professional driver will pick you at your hotel in Tokyo. You are totally flexible and can choose when to go, where to go, and how long you want to spend at each sight.
Tokyo: Private Full-Day Transfer To Mt. Fuji And Hakone (10 hours)
Door-to-door transfer by a professional driver from your hotel in Tokyo, to Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone, and back to your hotel in the evening. You can be a group of up to five people in each car.
You decide where you want the driver to take you. So you can (if you want) follow our recommended itinerary in this article (see further up). You can also include Hakone on your private tour. The driver speaks English, and you get free wifi and bottled water on board.
Click here for more info and the latest prices on the Private Full-Day Transfer to Mt Fuji & Hakone (Get Your Guide)
Tours To Mount Fuji Five Lakes
If you’d rather do a day-trip to Mt Fuji Five Lakes as part of a tour, there are several great options to choose from. Here are some popular Mt Fuji Five Lakes day-tours:
Mt Fuji Day Tour With Kawaguchiko Lake (10 hours)
This day tour to Fuji Five Lakes is a great alternative to going there on your own. This tour takes you to most of the places that we have listed on our DIY sightseeing tour of the Fuji FIve Lakes, like Oishi Park next to Kawaguchiko Lake and Chureito Pagoda.
On this tour, you will experience the most famous sightseeing spots of Fuji Five Lakes:
- Oishi Park – A beautiful park located at the shore of Kawaguchiko Lake with Mt Fuji as a stunning backdrop. It is also on our DIY itinerary (see further up).
- Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station – Taste the water from Mt Fuji at the Oshino Hakkai – “Oshino Eight Ponds” and enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Fuji.
- Arakura Sengen Shrine – See the famous five-storied red Chureito Pagoda with Mt Fuji in the background.
- Gotemba Premium Outlets – Enjoy some shopping and visit Gotemba Heiwa Koen (Peace Park).
This tour departs from Shinjuku in Tokyo at 08:00 am, and you will be back in Shinjuku in the evening around 18:00/ 6 pm. Transport from and back to Tokyo, an English-speaking guide, as well as all entrance fees are included.
Click here for more info and the latest prices on the Mt Fuji Day Tour with Kwaguchiko Lake (Get Your Guide)
From Tokyo: Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Full-Day Tour (11 hours)
On this full-day bus tour to Mt Fuji, you get to see these highlights:
- Oishi Park – See the breathtaking views of Lake Kawaguchi with Mount Fuji in the background.
- Cable Car – Ride the cable car at Kawaguchiko Lake to an observation deck with a spectacular panoramic view of Mt Fuji.
- The 5th Station on Mount Fuji – Here you will visit Oshino Hakkai, a UNESCO World Heritage site where eight ponds of freshwater originating from Mount Fuji can be found.
- Oshino Ninja Village
You get picked up in Tokyo at 08:30 am, and you will arrive back in Tokyo in the evening, at Shinjuku Station West Exit at 19:00/ 7 pm, and Tokyo Station at 19:20/ 7:20 pm. This tour is a good value as it includes the cable car ticket at Kawaguchko Lake, and a delicious Japanese lunch of miso soup, fried fish and vegetables, side dishes, and rice.
Click here for more info and the latest prices on the Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Full-Day Tour (Get Your Guide)
Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Scenic 1-Day Bus Tour (10-11 hours)
A full-day bus tour to Fuji Five Lakes that take you to the main sights:
- Arakurayama Sengen Shrine – See the famous Chureito Pagoda with Mt Fuji in the background.
- Kawaguchiko Craft Park
- Oishi Park – Walk the shore of Kawaguchiko Lake and see the seasonal scenery with various types of flowers and admire Mt Fuji.
- Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nenba Ancient Japanese Village – Located on the banks of Lake Saiko. Take a stroll through the village and marvel at the houses with thatched roofs which will give you a glimpse into life in Japan in the olden days.
You can choose where in Tokyo you want to be picked up. After the tour, you get dropped off in Shinjuku in Tokyo at 18:15/ 6:15 pm.
Click here for more info and the latest prices on the Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Scenic 1-Day Bus Tour (Get Your Guide)
Mount Fuji: Full-Day Tour with Private Van (10 hours)
Hire a professional English-speaking driver and take a day trip in a comfortable private van to visit Mount Fuji and Hakone. You can be a group of up to ten people in this van.
The driver will pick you up at your hotel in Tokyo at 08:30 am and take you to the Fujisan World Heritage Center/ Fuji Visitor Center. Here you will get an introduction to Mt Fuji, learn more about the holy mountain. The driver will then take you to visit the 5th Station on Mount Fuji. Here you will visit Oshino Hakkai, a UNESCO World Heritage site where eight ponds of freshwater originating from Mount Fuji can be found. You will make a stop by Gotenba for a lunch break.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Hakone area, famous for its stunning nature and hot springs. You will stop by the Hakone Ashinoko Lake and head on to Owakutani, the volcano valley. You will be back in Tokyo at 18:00/ 6:00 pm.
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There you have it, our ultimate travel guide to Fuji Five Lakes with our recommended full-day itinerary. We hope you find it useful. Let us know if you have any questions. Just leave a comment below and we will answer it as soon as possible.
Fuji Five Lakes is perfect to combine with a visit to Hakone, as we did. You can read our guide to Hakone here.
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Do you want to see Mt Fuji, or have you already seen it? If you have been to Fuji Five Lakes, have I missed something in this travel guide? Where is your favorite spot to see Mt Fuji? I would love to hear from you in the comment area below! Cheers! 🙂
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