Trip to Tohoku and Nagano in 2013 winter – Part 6, round trip to Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku by Azusa and Fuji Kyuko

Fuji Tozan Densha (left) is one of the biggest reason to visit Lake Kawaguchi for me. (C) JP Rail
Fuji Tozan Densha (left) is one of the biggest reason to visit Lake Kawaguchi for me. (C) JP Rail

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku and Nagano in 2013 winter – Part 5, from Hirosaki to Kakunodate by Tsugaru and Akita Nairiku Jukan Railway

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

E351 series has tilting system. (C) JP Rail
E351 series has tilting system. (C) JP Rail
Ordinary class has very common seat and not bad. (C) JP Rail
Ordinary class has very common seat and not bad. (C) JP Rail

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.

Fuji Kyuko train's ticket gate is located at the end of JR platform. (C) JP Rail
Fuji Kyuko train’s ticket gate is located at the end of JR platform. (C) JP Rail

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.

This train used to be one of specialized train of JR East. (C) JP Rail
This train used to be one of specialized train of JR East. (C) JP Rail

Of course I paid extra to get a front row.

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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.

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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.

Kawaguchiko station

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There are many bus stops just in front of station. Most of highway bus that connect to Tokyo and other areas depart/arrive here.

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And also you can take a bus to most of places in Fuji here. There is a bus ticket window in the station.

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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.

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Kawaguchiko station to Otsuki station by Fuji Tozan Densha

Kawaguchiko station is not a big statin and has only one ticket gate. (C) JP Rail
Kawaguchiko station is not a big statin and has only one ticket gate. (C) JP Rail

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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.

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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.

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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.

Noren is a sort of curtain. It is usually hang at the entrance of shop. (C) JP Rail
Noren is a sort of curtain. It is usually hang at the entrance of shop. (C) JP Rail

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.

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Attendant showed us viaduct above.

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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.

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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! 🙁

Continue to Trip to Tohoku and Nagano in 2013 winter – Part 7, from Tokyo to Bessho Onsen by Ueda Railway.

12 thoughts on “Trip to Tohoku and Nagano in 2013 winter – Part 6, round trip to Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku by Azusa and Fuji Kyuko”

  1. Hello, I will be staying in Shinagawa and I’m planning to buy the JR East (Niigata & Nagano) Pass. I checked on Hyperdia and they asked me to take the LTD. EXP KAIJI 107 from Shinjuku to Otsuki before changing for the Fujikyu Rail. Is LTD. EXP KAIJI 107 covered in JR East pass? Thank you.

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be traveling this coming December 2015 and planning to get JR Kanto Area Pass, as what I’ve read in your previous just want to ask if:

    1. Do I need to pay surcharges on all the train rides i need?
    2. Or are there any certain trains for that?

    Michelle

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I’m planning to take a day trip from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko, but after that heading to Yokohama. What is the best time to depart from Tokyo so I can spend enough time in Kawaguchiko, and also what time should I leave Kawaguchiko so I can get to Yokohama probably by sunset time? Thanks.

    1. Hi Dwi san,

      I recommend you to leave Tokyo early, like my trip. It takes 2 to 2,5 hours to get Lake Kawaguchi. You will spend 2.5 to 3 hours to get back to Yokohama. So if sunset is around 18:00, leave around 15:00 from Lake Kawaguchi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        I made this same comment/question on another post, but let me follow through here.

        Which station is better for transfer on my trip back from Kawaguchiko to Yokohama? Otsuki or Gotemba?
        I’m planning to use my JR Pass if possible for the rest of the way.

        And another thing, I just found out that my day trip (Tokyo-Kawaguchiko-Yokohama) will be on national holiday (3 Nov). Will it be usually more crowded? Should I just move a day ahead/later?

        Thank you so much.
        Dwi.

        1. Hi Dwi san,

          Otsuki is better. Gotemba is away from Lake Kawaguchi and JR Gotemba line does not run very frequently. Please find more info at the link below:
          https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

          There are many ways to get Yokohama from Lake Kawaguchi. But the fastest and easiest way is Otsuki-Hachioji-Yokohama. Hachioji is located between Shinjuku and Otsuki. It’s one of the biggest satellite cities of Tokyo. You can transfer to Yokohama line. This is short cut route and run outside Tokyo. It connects Hachioji and Yokohama directly. It’s faster than Otsuki-Shinjuku-Yokohama route.

          It’s a bit complicated but you can find the route at the link below:
          https://yamanoterider.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/jr-tyo.png

          November 3 will be busier than weekday. Laka Kawaguchi will hold fall foliage festival in this period (late Oct to mid Nov). I think everyday will be busy in this period. In my opinion, you don’t need to change. But actually it’s hard to say.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. I’m so sorry for commenting on a post that’s written last year but if you read this, can you give me some advice?

    I am thinking of taking Fuji Tozan Densha but their website stated that one would need to make a reservation to get on board. I’m wondering if you did go through that as well?

    1. Hi Ashe,

      When I took this train, I booked in advance through website. But it was shoulder season. There were only a few passengers on board.
      If you intend to take this train in peak season, reservation is recommended. Otherwise you will be okay to book on the spot.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Takeshi-San

    our trip is getting closer. just another week away.
    Just wondering regarding FujiKyu railway.

    if we’re using Kanto Area Pass, do we have to pay any extra to get on Fujisan Limited Express or the Fujikyu Tozen Densha?

    Hyperdia show result with “Order Ticket”, so I’m not sure on this.

    regards.

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