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

Hakone

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”.

323 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 am going to mt. fuji on 17/5/17 can direct me which is the most convient route to go by express bus or train as I’m staying at shibuya
    I also like to check in mt. fuji the retro buses and transport to komagatake ropeway how much it cost?

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    Does the Holiday Rapid Kawaguchiko require a seat reservation? Is it covered by Tokyo Wide Pass?

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Bua,

      Reservation is not required. Most of seats are non reserved seat and it’s covered by Tokyo wide pass fully. But if you have a time, you can try to book a seat. It’s covered also and your seat is secured. The train may be crowded and may be hard to find the seat.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi!
        I will be visiting japan on 16 may.
        I need ur advice on my itinerary.
        Narita aiport–>fujikyu highland–>shin osaka–>narita airport.
        What is the best route using JR pass?
        Thanks.
        Kanny

        1. Hi Kanny,

          You can use JR pass for the following segments/trains.

          Narita airport (Narita Express) Shinjuku (Limited Express Azusa or Kaiji) Otsuki
          Mishima (Shinkansen) Shin-Osaka (Shinkansen) Shinagawa (Narita Express) Narita airport.
          http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/narita-express.html
          http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-departure-arrival-stations/stations-in-tokai/nagoya-toyohashi/what-is-shinkansen-bullet-train.html

          You have to add the fare for the following segments:
          Otsuki (Fujikyu railway) Fuji-Q highland
          Fuji-Q highland (bus) Mishima
          http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/highway/detail/id/29

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,
    Is it possible to do a day trip from Atami station (Shizuoka prefecture) to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival on May 6 via JR train? We have a JR pass, but I cannot find connections to get there and back by about 1900. Also, will we possibly be impacted with the Golden Week train traffic?

    Any information you can provide is appreciated!

    Thank you,
    Stephanie

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      JR Pass does not help much for this trip. You can get Mishima from Atami by JR pass. You can take either local train or Shinkansen but it’s close and local train runs more frequently. It take 13 minutes ride by even local train. JR Pass covers only this trip. After Mishima, you have to take an express bus to Lake Kawaguchi and then take another bus to get Shibazakura place. All bus trips are not covered.
      http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/highway/detail/id/29

      You can purchase bus to Shibazakura venue from Lake Kawaguchi and admission at 2000 yen at Kawaguchiko station. It’s 30 minutes ride to get there and bus runs very frequently.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,
    I’ll travel from kyoto to Mt.fuji. And from Mt. fuji to tokyo. What transportation should I take? I’ll be staying at Highland resort hotel & spa in Mt.Fuji & my nearest station in Tokyo is Edogawabashi .

    Thanks

    1. Hi Yuliana,

      You can take Shinkansen to Mishima from Kyoto and then take express bus to Fuji. You can also take express bus from Fuji to Shinjuku, Tokyo. You can get Edogawabashi from Shinjuku by subway. Please see the links below:
      http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html
      http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello Takeshi.

    I will be traveling to Japan on 11 April. I’m traveling with my 60 YO parents. I want to ask I’m from Shin-Osaka wanted to go to Fujikyu Highland. What is the best option to go there? And I already purchase the JR Pass for 7 days, so I want to use JR Pass as much as I can. I’ve been searching, there are 3 options (thru Shinjuku, Mishima, and Gotemba), which one is the best? Or is there any other option? We also want to see the beautiful Mount Fuji when using Shinkansen.

    Thank you,

    Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Mishima route is the best. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

      Otsuki is the nearest but it’s very very far to access from Osaka. You have to go to Tokyo first and it’s a big detour. And also you need to pay to take Fuji Kyuko railway from Otsuki. It doesn’t make any senses from Osaka.

      Gotemba is very inconvenient too. Even if you get Gotemba to take a bus, you can save only 800 yen. It does not make any senses either. Mishima route is the right one.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hello again Takeshi

        Do you know how to go from Shin-Osaka to Fujikyu Highland directly trhu Mishima? Because I follow your direction to go from Shin-Osaka thru Fujikyu Highland thru Mishima. I will be going to Fujikyu Highland on 17 April in the morning.

        Thanks Again

        Kevin

          1. Is the bus also free using JR pass? Or need additional payment? Thanks for the information about the bus schedule.

            Thank You.

            Kevin

  6. Hello Takeshi,
    What is the best way for us to go to Churieto Pagoda from Tsurumi, Yokohama? We can skip Lake Kawaguchi. We have the JRPass. Should we go to Tokyo station then proceed to Otsuki? Or is there train to Otsuki from Tsurumi? Or should we just take bus instead? How much will it cost? Thank you.

  7. Hello Takeshi!

    I will be travelling to Japan from Shanghai from April 7-9th. I know… not enough time! I was wondering what my best options are in regards to travelling by train to Fuji mountain. I am trying to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms and the mountain! I am arriving at Haneda airport and am staying in Asakusa in a hostel. Do you have any suggestions for a traveller on a budget? If so, let me know!

    Yours truly,

    Raquel

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