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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.


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 can access from Otsuki (=大月) on Japan Railway Chuo line 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. But you have to take Fuji Kyuko line from Otsuki to Lake Kawaguchi. I will explain you about the trains and rates to take Fuji Kyuko line.

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

Fuji Kyuko operates the railway from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko via Fuji-Yoshida 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. They have 4 round trips between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko on weekdays. They have 6 trips to Kawaguchiko on weekend and holidays, and 8 trips to Otsuki on weekend and holidays. Basic fare is 1,100yen and Limited Express surcharge is 300yen.
This train is operated by 2000 series. 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 100yen for securing your seat. This extra charge is not for the seat assignment. 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 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 1,100yen and Express surcharge is 200yen. This express charge is not for the seat assignment, but you are guaranteed to get the seat on this train.
This train is operated by specialized train 1200 series. This train is designed by Eiji Mitooka who designed many express trains of JR Kyushu. This train gives you very nostalgic atmosphere and traditional culture of Japan.

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

Reservations and Local trains

Unfortunately they take a reservation on the phone only. (Of course it’s in Japanese!) If you really want to take these trains, you have to use the travel agency. As long as they have a seat, you can get the ticket at the station. But if you cannot make it, 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 Tokyo via Shinjuku on weekend and holidays during summer season. When you take this train, you don’t need to transfer 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”.

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

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Takeshi

    We are planning for a 2 days 1 night trip to Hakone + Mt Fuji + Gotemba Outlet from Tokyo using JR Pass (as we will be travelling to Osaka, Kyoto and Kanazawa prior to this trip). However we are quite confused on the type of transport that would maximise the value of JR pass. Our initial itinerary:

    Day 1 (Hakone + Mt Fuji) – Depart Tokyo (Shinagawa) to Odawara via JR Tokaido Shinkansen Kodoma; plan to obtain Hakone Freepass at Hakone then visit Mt Fuji from Hakone
    Day 2 (Gotemba Outlet) – Gotemba Outlet shopping then back to Tokyo

    1. How can we go to Mt Fuji from Hakone utilising JR Pass?
    2. Will it be advisable to take JR Gotemba line from Gotemba station to Kouzu then take JR Tokaido Shinkansen back to Tokyo (to maximise JR pass)? Or just directly take a highway bus from Gotemba to Tokyo?
    3. Where should we stay for convenience sake in terms of transportation back to Tokyo – Gotemba or Gora Hakone?

    Thank you very much for your help.


  2. cristina says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    My family and I will be travelling to Japan, April 7 -20. Arrival at KIX. Sightseeing in Osaka,
    Kyoto, then Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Toyama, then Lake Lawaguchiko. After Kawaguchiko, Tokyo. Then depart via Tokyo Haneda. Can you please advise how we can travel from Kanazawa to Kawaguchiko , then Kawaguchiko to Tokyo by JRtrain?

    Thank you.


  3. Ellie says:

    Thanks so much for the valuable information! :)

  4. Ellie says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks for the very helpful information. It is my first time to visit Japan and have the following itinerary. I am debating whether to get a Japan Rail Pass or single tickets.

    Mar 26- arrive Osaka airport 730 pm. Our hotel is in Kyoto in Watazen Ryokan so thinking of a bullet train here after having dinner first in Osaka in Umeda district. Are there lockers available in the train station for our luggage? I understand last bullet train for Kyoto leaves at 11pm?
    Mar 27 – Higashiyama district and Gion in the evening. I understand I cannot use the pass on subway lines and buses?
    Mar 28- Northern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari, Gion
    Mar 29 – Kyoto to Tokyo via bullet train. Subway and buses in Tokyo also not included in rail pass?
    Mar 30- Tokyo to Mt fuji. Would like to know if I can use rail pass from Tokyo to Chureito pagoda in Arakura Sengen shrine?
    Mar 31 – Tokyo
    Apr 1- leave Tokyo via Haneda International Airport. I believe we can take Tokyo Monorail which is covered by rail pass? We are staying in Westin Tokyo.

    I understand too that children under 6 don’t need a pass as long as they are not getting an actual seat right? Thank you very much for taking the time to look at my itinerary. Any suggestions would be very much welcome and appreciated :)

  5. RH says:

    Hi..my fmly and i (4 adults + 1 infant) are planning to visit kawaguchiko on 12 – 13 April 2015.

    1) May I know either these dates are somewhere in peak season?
    2) is it necessary for us to reserve a seat for chuo line (kaiji/azusa) and fuji kyuko train? (we plan to use our JR Kanto pass during this visit)
    3) (and a bit out of topic)..Is it convenient for us to get around Kawaguchiko by retro bus (with infant)? we plan to stay at Kawaguchiko Country Cottage Ban which i figured quite a distance from Kawaguchiko station.

    Pls advice and thank you very much for ur time

    • Hi RH,

      1) No. It is slow.
      2) Recommended. Kanto Area Pass includes reserved seat fee. You can book when you purchase a ticket.
      3) It’s nice transportation around Lake Kawaguchi. But I’m not sure that is a good idea or not for your accommodation because I’m not familiar with your cottage.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. kristine says:


    I would like to ask how much is the bullet train from MT FUJI to TOKYO STATION – 1 way


  7. Pik says:

    Konnichiwa Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for writing so much detail about Japan transport. I will be going to Japen 28 Nov – 9 Dec. I am planning to purchase 4 day Kansai pass and 7 day JR Pass. My itinerary is like this:

    28 – 30 Nov: Osaka
    29 Nov: day trip to Nara
    30 Nov – 4 Dec: Kyoto
    4 – 6 Dec: Tokyo
    6 – 7 Dec: Kawaguchiko
    7 – 9 Dec: Hakone –> straight to KIX

    Can you advise me if I need to get any other pass apart from the Kansai pass or JR pass? I read that around Mt Fuji area, I can get the retro bus pass for Kawaguchiko/Oshino area and then the Hakone pass for that area.

    Thank you!
    I hope you can advise me. Thank you!

  8. Gee says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I’m traveling with my family (6 of us in total) to Japan on Nov 19th and our itinerary is as follows:

    Nov 19th – Arrive KIX and stay in a hotel in Osaka

    Nov 20th – Sightseeing in Kyoto

    Nov 21st – Sightseeing in Nara

    Nov 22nd – Head to Hakone

    Nov 23rd – Tokyo

    Nov 27th – Depart from Narita

    Please advise what is the best to go to all these places. We’re very confused. Since we’re going to be in Japan for approx 9 days and will be travelling from Osaka towards Tokyo (one way) I take it the 7 day JP Rail pass won’t suit us. Your help will be truly appreciated.

    Thank you so much


  9. Kirstie says:


    Please advise which train and station should I board from Odawara to Lake Yamanaka.

    Thank you.


  10. Mike Wong says:


    I have purchased just 3-days Kansai Area Pass as well as 7 days JR Pass. My travel route begins at Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo-Nagano (10 days). My plans is to spend 3 days in Osaka, 2 days in Kyoto, 1 day in Nagano and the rest of 4 days in Tokyo.

    In Osaka, I intend to make side days trips to Kobe, Himeji and Nara and I only intend to cover the important attractions. Please advise if I have enough time to cover Kobe and Himeji in one full day. If time does not permit, I will skip Nara.

    Please advise if it is better for me to visit Mt. Fuji and Hakone on the way to Tokyo by stopping at Odawara or should I travel to Tokyo first and then make full day trips to Mt. Fuji Hakone. I also want to spend a night at Nagano. I will be flying back to my home country from Narita Tokyo.

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