The following article is an excerpt from my Travel to Japan in 2014. It describes my travel from Tokyo to Mt Fuji by train, to the highest Mountain in Japan. If you are interested in the ascent or how to climb it, please continue reading here.
Since 3 days my best friend Tim and me were in Japan. We have decided, since our 2 day long stay in Tokyo, that we would like to see some nature. Biggest change that was upcoming was the weather, the weather became more sunny and more friendly for hiking and traveling. Basically the best situation for a hike to the holy mountain of Japan: Mt. Fuji. The volcano has multiple different names, many call him Fuji, Mt. Fuji or Fuji-San. I called him always Fuji-San, because the suffix -San refers to mountain.
Tokyo to Mt Fuji by train – The Connection
We stayed in Tokyo in a hostel near to Metro Station Iriya. We left early in the morning, because we had long journey ahead of us. We took the Metro to the JR Station: Tokyo. The first stop was Shinjuku Station within Tokyo. Shinjuku is the hub to switch to long-distance trains like the Shinkansen. For our trip to Fuji-San, we travelled with a Shinkansen train, because there is no high-speed train connection. Before we started the trip, we purchased tickets in the train station. Tickets should always purchased upfront, if you don’t own the Japan Rail Pass.
Important: The Japan Rail Pass can be purchased only from outside of Japan! It unfortunately can not be used for the entire route from Tokyo to Fuji-San, because one part of the track is operated by a private company, but later more details about this.
The 2nd stop after Shinjuku station was “Otsuki”. From Shinjuku station we took an Express Train, called “LTD. EXP KAIJI 119”. The top speed of the trains from fast to slow are: Shinkansen is the high-speed train, followed by Ltd. Express, Rapid and normal trains. To plan our trip within Japan, we used a great application called: Hyperdia. Hyperdia is an application for your mobile phone that knows all the stations and the routes. With this application, we have been able, to find better routes than the train service. The route to Otsuki we could ride for free using the JR pass. Traveller without JR Passes must expect costs of ¥ 2,940.
The next stop after Otsuki was Kawaguchi. To go by train to Kawaguchi we needed to switch to the already mentioned private train service. The private service took us from Otsuki to Kawaguchi, information about this part can be found here. The ride from Otsuki to Kawaguchi costs additional 2940 ¥. During the train ride we looked for a place to rest during the night in Kawaguchi. The goal for the next two nights was: TheWilderness Park Lodge. The hostel was worn down, but fitted our needs. A small side note: On the brink of September is no longer traveling season for Mt. Fuji, that’s why most hostels had already closed. To get a hostel out of season is pretty difficult – Consider that for your future travels.
Tokyo to Mt Fuji by train – Kawaguchi
Kawaguchi is the starting point for hikes on Mt Fuji. There is a bus that carries the hikers to the hiking Station. During the train journey, I gathered information for the climb to Fuji-San. I found out that there is a bus which goes from Kawaguchi to the 5th Station, the highest station, which can be reached by bus. The departure of the bus was also equal to the destination station by train. On arrival to Kawaguchi, we purchased tickets for the bus to the Mt. Fuji Station. This early purchase will be a benefit for the next day.
The hostel for the night was located outside of Kawaguchi. The operator of the hostel offered to pick us up at the train station. This offer we gladly accepted. The view from the hostel would have been right on the Fuji-San, unfortunately the volcano was shrouded in clouds. We prepared for the next day and studied the route during the evening. The bus for the next day was leaving at 08.15 AM, so we were going to bed very early. We spent the night on Japanese traditional tatami and dreamed of Fuji-San.
Read here about the Fuji-San hike.
The travel from Tokyo to Mt Fuji by train was not a problem at all. People will help you out and in urgent situation, you can ask the conductors. The whole travel will take between 6 and 7 hours.