I had a business appointment. But I was available in the morning. I picked the round trip to Lake Kawaguchi from several plans. I wanted to take Azusa and Fuji Kyuko Railway. And also I wanted to see Otsuki station and make sure how to transfer from JR to Fuji Kyuko Railway.
Shinjuku station to Otsuki station by Limited Express Azusa
I got on Super Azusa from Shinjuku at 7:00 am. I had to come back to Shinjuku by 12:30 pm. It was super busy trip to Mt. Fuji.
Actually it was the first time to get on Azusa in last almost 30 years. I took this train from Matsumoto to Kobuchizawa when I was a high school student. JR was still a crown cooperation, Japan National Railway at that time.
It was only 1 hour trip to Otsuki from Shinjuku. Trains ran Greater Tokyo area. But after Azusa departed from Hachioji station, the scenery was completely different. Train ran through mountain area. We can see Lake Sagami and Katsura river valley on left side. But I checked email and maintained my website on board. I forgot to take a picture. 🙁
I arrived at Otsuki station in the blink of an eye.
Otsuki station to Kawaguchiko station by Fujisan Tokkyu (Fujisan Limited Express)
Actually it is very easy to transfer from JR train to Fuji Kyuko train at Otsuki station. Especially when you arrive from Tokyo or Shinjuku, you don’t need to change the platform.
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.
I took one of Fuji Kyuko’s specialized train, Fujisan Tokkyu. Taking this train was one of the reason why I was there. This train has observation front row seats.
Of course I paid extra to get a front row.
But this observation seat was at the end when train departs from Otsuki station. The trains change the direction at Fujisan station. But Kawaguchiko station is only stations away from Fujisan station. I think opposite direction is better to take Fujisan Tokkyu.
This was a nice train. It was old but it was still in a good condition. But I was disappointed by dirty windows.
Especially this train has huge glass windows at observation seats and enjoy the panoramic view. So I think windows must be clean. Otherwise passengers cannot enjoy scenery.
It took 45 minutes to get Kawaguchiko station.
There are many bus stops just in front of station. Most of highway bus that connect to Tokyo and other areas depart/arrive here.
And also you can take a bus to most of places in Fuji here. There is a bus ticket window in the station.
But I could not go anywhere. Because I had only 45 minutes break at Kawaguchiko station. I stayed in the station and enjoyed a cup of coffee and shopping. In the station, there are cafe and souvenir store.
Kawaguchiko station to Otsuki station by Fuji Tozan Densha
I was ready to take another specialized train, Fuji Tozan Densha. This train is designed by most successful train designer, Eiji Mitooka. He is a chief designer of JR Kyushu and designed most of Kyushu train, such as “Umisachi Yamasachi”, Tsubame (Kyushu Shinkansen), and many more. This train is at the top of my wish list in this trip. I was so excited to have an this opportunity.
The exterior looks like local train. Because this train was one of those common trains. It was restored and fully renovated. So interior is very impressive.
It is Mitooka’s classic design. He used lots of woods for interior, making some extra space, and use a touch of Japanese tradition, like Noren.
In my opinion, Fuji Tozan Densha is much better than Fujisan Tokkyu. It’s clean, neat, cool and looks very new.
I could not see the summit but I could see most part of Mt. Fuji on the way back. This train ran slowly when we could see Mt. Fuji and offer us to take a picture. This train has clean windows to take a picture.
Attendant showed us viaduct above.
This is Yamanashi Linear Motor Car test truck. Linear Motor Car is a Maglev train and called Chuo Shinkansen. This test truck will be a part of Chuo Shinkansen.
It took 1 hour and 5 minutes. It was a bit slower than Fujisan Tokkyu. But I really loved this train trip.
From Otsuki to Shinjuku
I took Azusa on the way back to Shinjuku. At this time, train was operated by newer E257 series. Fortunately I could get on both Super Azusa by E351 series and Azusa by E257 series.
It was just 1 hour trip to Shinjuku. Again, I opened my laptop and download pictures from digital camera. It was very busy busy trip! 🙁