Mount Fuji and Hakone: day trip itinerary

Monte Fuji al amanecer desde el lago Kawaguchi

A day-trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and the lesser known Hakone five lakes area is among Japan’s traveler’s favorites, so here is our guide on how to visit make this famous landmark with the Japan Rail Pass. Whereas you prefer climbing or a more relaxed pace, we have the perfect guide for you make the most out of this trip!

Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji at sunset

Interesting facts about Mount Fuji

Mt Fuji is not only the highest mountain (3.776 meters), Japan’s most climbed and depicted one, but it is also the pure representation of good luck and good fortune for all Japanese citizens. This is a curious fact, considering the mountain is actually a giant volcano (with low risk of eruption).

Nevertheless, what is even more fascinating is that it is not a single volcano. It is part of three volcanoes, one on top of the other. The bottom one is Komitake volcano, the second layer is Kofuji, while Fuji is the youngest of all three. Although officially classified as active, it has very low eruption risk, since it was last active in 1708.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Mount Fuji is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, located less than 100 kilometers away from Japan’s capital?

Climbing Mount Fuji

All travelers eager to climb the top of Mount Fuji must bear in mind that the climbing season lasts from July until September. During summer all hiking trails are open.

In any other period, trails and mountain huts will be closed, so it can be very dangerous for anyone to attempt climbing on their own.

To climb Mount Fuji, there are four Fuji trails, which will take you to the mountaintop:

  • Yoshida trail – 2,300m (altitude of head trail)
  • Subashiri trail – 2,000m
  • Gotemba trail  – 1,450m
  • Fujinomiya trail – 2,400m

All trails can be accessed via a mountain bus, taking passengers from one of the five 5th stations (although all are named 5th station, these are different stations), with the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, at Yoshida trail, being the most popular one.

Climbing Mt Fuji
Climbing Mt Fuji by @Azlan DuPree (Flickr)

Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen trains

Summer is also the time when Mount Fuji can be clearly seen from a Shinkansen train leaving Tokyo towards Nagoya – Osaka – Kyoto. The window view is impressive – make sure to reserve your D or E seat (C or D in Green Cars), which is the right side from Tokyo, left side from Kyoto.

Fuji bullet train
On a clear day, Mount Fuji can be seen from inside a bullet train

Tokyo to Mount Fuji via Gotemba

Apart from the Yoshida trail, the Gotemba one one of the most popular routes among visitors, here is how to get to it (travel time by train should be a little over 2 hours from Tokyo):

  • Take JR Tokaido line for Kozu from Tokyo Station, using your JR Pass
  • Once at Kozu (Kanagawa), take the JR Gotemba Line for Numazu
  • Get off at Gotemba Station | final destination
Tokyo to Gotemba
Tokyo to Mt Fuji via Gotemba – Hyperdia screenshot

Note: The Hyperdia screenshot shows you a detailed description of a journey example with pre-selected departure time and date. Note that the train trip will be free of charge for all Japan Rail Pass holders. The displayed price is only valid for passengers with no JR pass.

Once at Gotemba station, take a bus to Subashiri 5th station, the gateway to climbing Mount Fuji. The bus operated by Fujikyu to reach the Gotemba climbing route. One-way bus journey is about an hour long, at the cost of 1.540 yen (round trips are 2.060 yen).

Please note that Fujikyu is not part of the Japan Rail Group, which means the Japan Rail Pass does not cover buses ran by this company, and no seat reservations are available.

Note: During the climbing season, buses operate differently in comparison to the off-season. For more detailed information and timetables, please check with the local operator.

What to see in the Mount Fuji area

As we have already mentioned, Mount Fuji forms part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among tourists, located less than 100 km. from the capital city of Japan. Famous for its scenic area, Ashi lake, hot springs and breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, Hakone is more than worth the visit.

LakeAshi and Mt Fuji Hakone
Lake Ashi – Hakone by @木更津乃風 (Wikipedia)

Best time to visit Mount Fuji and its area

Also, please remember that the best time to visit any of those places is the hiking (summer) season, from July to mid-September. These are the months that promise sunshine, good weather, and fantastic views. Unfortunately, travelers who decide to make this trip in October or March may not be able to enjoy the area scenery fully due to heavy rains or clouded mountain peaks.

Tokyo to Hakone with the JR Pass

Here’s how to get from Tokyo to Hakone with the bullet train:

  • Take the Tokaido Shinkansen (Kodama and some Hikari trains, please check) from Tokyo Station (covered by the Japan Rail Pass)
  • Get off at Odawara station
  • Take the Hakone Tozan train for Hakone-Yumoto (not covered by JR)
  • Get off at Hakone-Itabashi. This is your final destination.

Also very popular among the locals are Fujigoko or Fuji’s Five Lakes, which are located in the northern area of Mount Fuji.

Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchi

Kawaguchiko (or lake Kawaguchi), Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, and Motosuko are the five lakes, each of them offering unforgettable views and outdoor activities. Some of them include fishing, hiking, camping and anything that can come to your mind – nature has no limits. Most hotels in the area are located close to the lakes too.

Mount Fuji as seen at sunrise across Lake Kawaguchi
Mount Fuji as seen at sunrise across Lake Kawaguchi by @Mstyslav Chernov (Wikimedia)
  • Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Otsuki Station (Azusa trains, covered by the JR Pass).
  • Once at Otsuki, take Fujikyu Railway to Kawaguchiko Station (not covered by the JR Pass).

How to get from Kyoto and Osaka to Hakone

Some travellers prefer to visit the area coming from the Kansai region (Osaka and Kyoto). Here’s how to get from the west, with the bullet train:

  • Take the Tokaido Shinkansen (Kodama and some Hikari trains, please check) from Kyoto Station or Shin-Osaka station (covered by the Japan Rail Pass)
  • Get off at Odawara station
  • Take the Hakone Tozan train for Hakone-Yumoto Station (not covered by JR)
  • Get off at Hakone-Itabashi Station. This is your final destination.


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89 thoughts on “Mount Fuji and Hakone: day trip itinerary”

  1. Hi! Planning to travel this coming April. I have 4 kids in tow so this trip will be quite challenging. My first concern is we want to see Cherry Blossom and first stop is Tokyo or Osaka. We also plan to visit Disneyland. Any suggestion if we are planning to stay for 7 days or better if we book 14 days? You have any suggestion re itinerary? And what route should we do first if we want to see cherry blossom. Thank you!

    1. Hi Eileen!

      Sure, our blog is full of itineraries and travel tips.

      If you want to enjoy cherry blossom you cannot miss our 2018 cherry blossom forecast for Japan article. There you will be able to find which areas are expected to be in full bloom at the date of your trip and then you can just adapt to it. For example, the best times to visit (full bloom) are expected to be around March 24 in Tokyo, and March 28-29 in Hiroshima, Kyoto and Osaka.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  2. Hi,

    I’m travelling to Japan on 28/04/2018. Touch down in Osaka then will be going to Kyoto for temples visit on 01/05/2018. Next will be Mount Fuji and Tokyo city. Could you please recommend on how can I travel from Kyoto to Mount Fuji? Or can you please suggest some planning to me? As I check online, I find out that all they way from Kyoto to Mount Fuji takes more than 5 hours by train. But I’m not sure with all the trains. Appreciate for your help.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Elaine!

      Reaching the Mount Fuji is easiest from Tokyo since it’s the closer than Kyoto. Should you still want to go to Mount Fuji from Kyoto, you may take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Mishima (included in th JR Pass), then Fujikyu Bus to Kawaguchiko (not included in the JR Pass). This is the fastest method.

      We hope you enjoy your visit!

  3. Hi,
    I will visit Japan from Osaka (arriving May 01, 2018 – 8AM @Kansai) and then back from Haneda (May 14 – 11.45AM). I will stay in Osaka, and going back and forth the Kansai Prefecture – Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, then go to Tokyo, then Fuji, then back to Tokyo for shopping. I also would like to visit Gotemba Premium Outlet for my last shopping.

    Any idea on how I maximized by 7 day JR Pass during this visit and any good place that I might be missing. I’m more of a cultural person, but also like to mix with modern entertainment such as Universal Studio, Osaka Aquarium, Museum of Art etc.

    I’m still mixed on having to take JR Pass (fast but expensive) and JR-West rail which is cheaper but spent more time on the road. I’m not looking for a tight schedule. 🙂 Some ppl recommend me to go to Nagoya, or even in the between Osaka – Tokyo cities. Would like to visit a good onsen if any. 🙂

    Appreciate your help. 🙂

  4. hello
    I plan to be in japan from May 13th to May 29th – 17 full days. I’d like to see Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, Kanazawa, Osaka, Hokkaido, Hiroshima. There is so much information online and I’m not sure how to plan the route of the trip so as to save travelling time. Off course, I’ll be buying the JRP however what route should we take? What is the order of the cities we should take?
    Im most concerned about Hokkaido. How do I get there and which place is the most convenient to stay between Matsumae and Sopporo? Would this trip be covered by the JRP?
    I’m aware that JRP can be used for commuting outside of Tokyo however what can I use to travel within Tokyo? Do i need to purcvhase an additional pass for within Tokyo?

    1. Hi Sasha!

      We recommend you to check our Japan in 21 days: The ultimate travel itinerary article. It features our best recommendations to enjoy to the fullest a stay of 3 weeks in Japan and includes almost all of your desired visits. From our point of view, the best itinerary in your case should be as follows: Tokyo, Nikko, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima.

      You can reach Hokkaido from any of the main cities, being Tokyo the closest one. However the trip from Tokyo to Sapporo would take you 8 hours (and 11 from Kyoto) so we recommend to plan this part carefully. The trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass as specified in our redicated article.

      The JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines. Should you need to take any other line you would need to chose any of the prepaid ic cards available.

      Happy travels!

  5. Hi there!
    We are planning a day trip (27 March 218) from Tokyo (Shinjuku) to Lake Kawaguchiko to Gotemba and back to tokyo.
    Could you advise me on how I can get to gotemba from kawaguchiko, then back to tokyo? We have already purchased the 14 days JR pass 🙂
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Yun Jie!

      To travel from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to Kawaguchiko you need to take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station (covered by your Japan Rail Pass). Once at Otsuki, take Fujikyu Railway to Kawaguchiko Station (not covered by your Japan Rail Pass). To get to Gotemba, take the JR Tokaido line for Kozu. Once at Kozu (Kanagawa), take the JR Gotemba Line for Numazu, and get off at Gotemba.

      Have an amazing trip!

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