Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?

Tokaido Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Tokaido Shinkansen and Mt. Fuji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

As you know, Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. Sometimes we can see it even from downtown Tokyo. And when you travel to west from Tokyo by Shinkansen, you will be able to see this beautiful shaped mountain through the window on your right side.

*If you want to see Mt. Fuji on Shinkansen, when you reserve the ticket for Tokaido Shinkansen, try to get D which is isle side, or E which is window side unless you travel as party of 3. The seat configuration on Shinkansen is 3 (A,B,C) + 2 (D,E). (If you take Green seat, C and D are the right place to see it.) Even if you travel to opposite direction (from Osaka to Tokyo), the seat configuration is same. D and E are always on the mountain side.

Of course Mt. Fuji is one of most popular destination for the tourists. We have several choices to enjoy Mt. Fuji. Let’s see how much you can use Japan Rail Pass to get Mt. Fuji.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

*If you will not use JR pass or using other rail pass, please refer other post, Fuji Hakone access guide by train and bus from both Tokyo and Osaka / Kyoto / Nagoya. I also explain how to get Kawaguchiko from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya.

View How to get Mt. Fuji in a larger map


Mt.Fuji and Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) at Hakone ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Mt.Fuji and Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) at Hakone ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

This is the most well known place to see Mt. Fuji and also is known as the famous hot springs resort. When you go to Hakone, you can take “Kodama” on Tokaido Shinkansen to Odawara. Then transfer to Hakone Tozan Railway. Hakone Tozan Railway is the private railway company. So you cannot use Japan Rail Pass and need to pay the extra. If you need more information about access to Hakone, please refer the post, How to get Hakone from Tokyo. Compare Japan Railway and Odakyu lines. And also, Hakone Navi (external link) the following site gives you lots of information too.

Kawaguchiko (=河口湖=Lake Kawaguchi) area

Fuji Shibazakura Festival at Kawaguchiko ©Akira Okada/© JNTO
Fuji Shibazakura Festival at Kawaguchiko ©Akira Okada/© JNTO

This is the most popular area at the base of Mt. Fuji. It is located the north side of Mt. Fuji. We have another four lakes, such as Lake Motosu (=本栖湖), Lake Sai (=西湖), Lake Shoji (=精進湖) and Lake Yamanaka (=山中湖) around Lake Kawaguchi. So these lakes are called Fuji Goko (=富士五湖=Fuji five lakes).

You may take JR trains from Shinjuku or Tokyo to get Otsuki (=大月) And the transfer to Fuji Kyuko Railway to get Lake Kawaguchi. JR East operates Limited Express trains “Super Azusa (=スーパーあずさ)”, “Azusa (=あずさ)” and “Kaiji (=かいじ)” from Shinjuku (=新宿). It takes just 1 hour from Shinjuku to Otsuki. And It takes another 1 hour from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko. Fuji Kyuko Railway’s train is not covered by JR pass. I will explain about extra cost later.

If you need more information about transfer from JR train to Fuji Kyuko train at Otsuki station, please see the post, Otsuki station guide. How to transfer from JR train to Fuji Kyuko train.

Fuji Kyuko Railway

Fuji Kyuko Railway operates trains between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko and a lot of the bus lines. When you get Kawaguchiko, you need to take the trains from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko. They have Limited Express train “Fujisan Tokkyu” (=フジサン特急=Mt. Fuji Limited Express), Rapid train “Fuji Tozan Densha” (=快速富士登山電車=Rapid Mt. Fuji climbing train) and many local trains.

I wrote about Otsuki station in other post. Please see the details about transfer between JR train and Fuji Kyuko train at Otsuki station guide. How to transfer from JR train to Fuji Kyuko train.

Limited Express “Fujisan Tokkyu”
Limited Express Fujisan Tokkyu
Limited Express Fujisan Tokkyu

This train takes you to Kawaguchiko station in 45 minutes. This train runs usually 4 round trips between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko on weekdays. This train runs 7 trips on weekend and holidays. Base fare is 1,140 yen and Limited Express surcharge is 400 yen.

This train is operated by 2000 series. (2000 series was retired. Newer fleet was replaced.) It has the observation seat on car#1 with the huge glass windows. If you want to take the seat on car #1, you need to pay the extra 100 yen for securing your seat. This extra charge is not for the seat assignment. (After March 26, 2016, extra charge will be increased to 200 yen. And the seat will be reserved.) You are guaranteed to get the seat on car#1, but it is first come, first serve. If you want to get the front row, come to the station as early as possible.

And also this train has a compartment room on car#2. If you want to take this room, the extra charge is 1,000yen. This compartment can accommodate up to 6 passengers.

Interior images
These images are retired 2000 series. Newer fleet has very similar interior but much newer.
Fuji Kyuko Limited Express Fujisan tokkyu Fuji Kyuko Limited Express Fujisan tokkyu Fuji Kyuko Limited Express Fujisan tokkyu Fuji Kyuko Limited Express Fujisan tokkyu
seat | observation seat | compartment | lounge on car#1

Rapid train “Fuji Tozan Densha”
Rapid train Fuji Tozan Densha
Rapid train Fuji Tozan Densha

This train takes you to Kawaguchiko station in 1 hour. They have 1 round trip between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko on weekdays except Thursday. They have 2 round trips on weekend and holidays. They do not operated this train on Thursday. Basic fare is 1,140 yen and Express surcharge is 200 yen. This express charge is not for the seat assignment, but you are guaranteed to get on this train
This train is operated by specialized train 1200 series. This train is designed by Eiji Mitooka who designed many impressive fleets of JR Kyushu. This train gives you very nostalgic atmosphere and traditional culture of Japan. This is most recommended trains in all Fuji Kyuko Railway’s.

Interior images Fuji Kyuko Rapid Tozan Densha Fuji Kyuko Rapid Tozan Densha

Reservations and Local trains

Unfortunately they take a reservation on the phone in Japanese or online in also Japanese only. If you really want to take these trains, you may ask your travel agency. But most of travel agency do not know about this railway. As long as the seat is available, you can get a ticket at the station. But if you cannot make it, you need to take the local trains. They have the local trains every 20 to 30 minutes. It takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to get Kawaguchiko.

Japan Railway operates some Rapid trains “Holiday Rapid Kawaguchiko” to Kawaguchiko directly from Shinjuku on weekend and holidays during summer season. When you take this train, you do not need to change the trains at Otsuki. But you still need to pay for Otsuki to Kawaguchiko if you use Japan Rail Pass. They usually have 1 or 2 round trip(s) between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko. Travel time is about 2 hours. Sometimes JR East operate same type of train between Yokohama and Kawaguchiko. Please check the details at “Seasonal trains schedule“.

Bus line from Kawaguchiko station

If you want to go to Lake Kawaguchi or Lake Sai, you can take Retro Bus. You can get more informations at Retro Bus info on Mt. Fuji and Fuji Goko Navi. If you want to go to Lake Yamanaka, you can take the bus “Fujikko-Go” at Fuji-Yoshida station. You can get more informations at Fujikko-Go info on Mt. Fuji and Fuji Goko Navi. And you can catch the bus to Fuji Skyline 5th station on Yoshida trail for Mt.Fuji climbing.

Gotenba (=御殿場) Area

You can access to Mt. Fuji from South side. Gotenba is the place to catch the bus to Fuji Skyline 5th station on Gotenba trail and Fuji Skyline 5th station on Subashiria trail for Mt.Fuji climbing.

Gotenba is accessible by Japan Railway. But you need to transfer the train twice. First of all, take Tokaido Shinkansen to Odawara (=小田原). Most of Hikari do not stop at Odawara. So you better take Kodama. After getting off Shinkansen, transfer to the local train to Kouzu (=国府津). Then transfer the local train on Gotenba line. It takes 35 minutes to get Odawara from Tokyo by Shinkansen, takes 7 minutes from Odawra to Kouzu and takes another 50 minutes from Kouzu to Gotenba. You will not have many trains on Gotenba line. It usually is operated every 30 minutes. Please be sure to check the timetable.

JR Tokai 371 series Asagiri (C) Sonic Rail Garden
JR Tokai 371 series Asagiri (C) Sonic Rail Garden

*Odakyu Railway (=小田急電鉄) has Limited Express train “Asagiri (=あさぎり)” from Shinjuku to Gotenba. This train takes you to Gotenba from Shinjuku directly. This is the easiest way to get there. But Japan Rail Pass does not cover from Odakyu Shinjuku to Matsuda. But from Matsuda to Gotenba, this express train go through on Japan Railway Gotenba line. So you don’t need to pay for this section. You need to pay 1,420yen (Base fare 750yen + Ltd Exp surcharge 670yen) to take this train by using Japan Rail Pass. If you need more info about Odakyu, please see Odakyu Railway website (English ver).

Fujinomiya (=富士宮) Area

JR Tokai 373 series Fujikawa (C) Sonic Rail Garden
JR Tokai 373 series Fujikawa (C) Sonic Rail Garden

If you want to take Fujinomiya trail to climb Mt. Fuji, Fujinomiya station and Shin-Fuji station are the place to get the bus. Shin-Fuji (=新富士) station is on Tokaido Shinkansen. So it is more accessible and easier. But if you want to save the money as much as you can, you have to take Shinkansen to Shizuoka, and transfer Limited Express train “Fujikawa (=ふじかわ)” to Fujinomiya.

*Actually the bus fare is only 340 yen difference between Shin-Fuji and Fujinomiya. If you access from Tokyo side, I think you don’t need to go to Shizuoka. Just get off Kodama at Shin-Fuji.

Hikari do not stop at Shin-Fuji. So you need to take Kodama from either side Tokyo and Nagoya. It takes 1 hour and 15 minutes from Tokyo. 1 hour and 30 minutes from Nagoya. If you take Fujinomiya via Shizuoka route, some of Hikari stop at Shizuoka. It takes 1 hour from both Tokyo and Nagoya. It takes another 40 minutes to get Fujinomiya by “Fujikawa”.

301 thoughts on “Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?”

  1. Hi! I read an article from another website that you can access to Kawaguchiko Station from Otsuki Station by using the JR Narita Express Line. Is that possible? Thanks.

  2. Hi im planning to visit lake kawaguchi from yokohama. Should i take a direct bus from yokohama station or take JR line to Hachioji change to chuo line to otsuki then to kawaguchi?
    Which route is better sir?

  3. Hi! I am planning to travel from Tokyo to Mt Fuji via Shinjuku ExpressWay bus and travel to Nagoya and next take Shinkansen to Osaka. From Mt Fuji to Nagoya, which type of transportation is advised, bus or train? We probably will have to stop at toyohashi to visit our friend there.

  4. Takeshi san,

    I plan to visit Tokyo on 1 Apr to 14 Apr.

    I will be staying in Tokyo from 1-4 Apr and then on 5 Apr, I will go to Sapporo and stay for 3 nights and then go to Hakodate on 8 Apr to stay for another 3 nights before returning back to Tokyo on 11 Apr. During one of the days in Tokyo, I will make a day trip to Mt Fuji.

    Will the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass be more suitable for me compared to the JR Rail Pass? As I will be arriving in Haneda and departing from Narita, I also plan to use the pass for the train trips during the arrival and departure dates.

  5. Hi Takeshi san,

    I come from Thailand and planing to go to japan next march. I will use JR east nagano pass. I will go to hakone through odawara from echigo-yuzawa ,buy fuji hakone pass for 3 days then move to kawaguchigo 1 night and back to tokyo. Questions. 1. Will my jr pass covered to Odawara? Someone told me it use Tokaido shinkansen so i can’t use it. 2. From kawaguchiko i need to buy ticket to Otsuki station, don’t i? I am very confusing coz so many informations and restrictions.
    Thank you very much.


    1. Hi puechmongkol,

      You can use JR East pass to get Odawara but you cannot take Shinkansen. You have to take rapid train on Tokaido line train or Limited Express Odoriko.

      Fuji Kyuko railway between Kawaguchiko and Otsuki is not covered by this pass. But if you use Fuji Hakone Pass, you can take express bus from Kawaguchiko to Shinjuku.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. hi takeshisan,

        Thanks for prompt reply. So i really can’t take shinkansen to odawara but i can use those two lines you mentioned. More questions.
        1. I can look for timetable for JR tokaido,but not for superview odoriko. where can i look for the superview odoriko schedule?
        2. Do i need booking for that superview odoriko? It seems popular. Do i need to pay extra for anything?

        1. Hi puechmongkol san,

          You can find the timetable at the link below:

          Reservation is not required but recommended. You can book when you get Tokyo Wide Pass or you may book online too.

          This trip by either rapid or Odoriko or Super View Odoriko is covered fully.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Thanks very much for those informations. I am quite confusing now because i have a japanese host i will be staying with in this trip checked about this and she said JR tokai and odoriko line are also not covered by JR east Niigata PASS.
            So please reconfirm again that your information is up to date. Sorry to ask about this, but I just need to be sure. I don’t know what source did she check this info, but it made me worried.
            Thank you very much Takeshi san.

            Best Regards,

          2. Hi Puechmongkol san,

            Please see the coverage map in the link below:

            You will see Atami, Ito, Izu Kyuko line and Izukyu Shimoda in the map. Odoriko runs on this line from Tokyo and Yokohama. So it’s covered.
            Odoriko has two destination actually, Izukyu Shimoda and Shuzenji. Shuzenji is outside coverage area. Probably she mixed up these destination. As long as you reserve your seat, you will be assigned the seat on the train to Atami, Ito and Izykyu Shimoda. So you don’t need to worry about taking wrong destination.

            And also I recommend you to see the link below. It may help you to travel in Japan by train.


            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. hi takishi,

    I will travel from echigo-yuzawa to hakone through odawara and then go to kawaguchigo then go back to tokyo through kawaguchiko. I will use JR east Niigata/Nagano pass. I believe i can use to odawara but need to purchase ticket from kawaguchiko to otsuki station. Do i understand this correctly? Someone told me from tokyo to odawara use JR tokaido shinkansen, so i can’t use it.

  7. Hi Takeshi,
    I red in some website that narita express (N’ex) can be used to travel from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station (direct).Is This valid information?I will be travelling to Japan using JR Pass and i hope if this information correct it will be easier to me to reach kawaguchiko area.thanks!

  8. Hi Takeshi,

    I saw in hyperdia there is a Mt.Fuji train from shinjuku to Kawaguchiko . Is it cover by Jr Pass? how do we get to 5th station from there?


  9. Hi Takeshi ,does JR pass cover from Odawara station by KHINKAN SEN to kyoto ?Hyperdia Plan didn’t find the route until i click on private company . is Shinansen Hikari,Kodama and Nozomi are private company?can you show the way may i can use JRpass please . thank you

    1. Hi Carla,

      Shinkansen (not Khinkansen) is one of JR lines and it’s covered by JR pass. But Nozomi is not covered at all and you have to take either Hikari or Kodama.
      I have no idea why you cannot find Shikansen trains between Odawara and Kyoto. I could find many trains of Shinkansen by only clicking JR trains.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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