Visiting Mount Fuji from Tokyo: tickets, fares, timetables

Visiting Japan? Here’s a must-do activity in Japan: our mini-guide to Mount Fuji from Tokyo!

Located between Shizuoka and Yamanashi, southwest of Tokyo, Mount Fuji – Fuji-san – is an iconic volcano in the Japanese archipelago, on the island of Honshu.

The highest point in Japan, it rises to an altitude of 3,776 metres and is a major activity for tourists and Japanese alike. A Mecca of Shinto spirituality and hiking, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2013, a visit to Mount Fuji offers a unique landscape of lakes – including the famous Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Ashi – hot springs and mountains. Climbing Mount Fuji is very popular with the Japanese in summer, as you can enjoy the sunset or sunrise from the summit.

Would you like to visit Mount Fuji from Tokyo? We warn you: our sources tell us that you need to be in good physical condition and determined! We reassure you in this article, however: visiting Mount Fuji and hiking its slopes remains feasible. Here’s our mini-guide to visiting Mount Fuji from Tokyo!

Introduction and history of Mount Fuji

Mont Fuji

Imagine climbing up a chimney almost 4 kilometers high… Visible from almost everywhere in Japan in photos, postcards, travel blogs and from the surrounding cities – Tokyo, Yokohama, Fuji, Shizuoka and Yamanashi – Mount Fuji is virtually dormant, but still considered an active volcano.

It last erupted in 1707. It is thought to have emerged from the earth more than 600,000 years ago, and to have erupted ten times in its thousand-year history, from 781 to 1707, an average of one per century. Its eruptions can be particularly violent, as was the case in 864, when lava is said to have split Lake Senoumi, creating the two lakes known today as Saiko and Shoji.

In the Shinto and Buddhist religions, the volcano, symbol of Fire, Heaven and Earth, is seen as a divinity in its own right by the Japanese. According to dogma, the volcano is the bearer of a soul that guarantees peace and prosperity. The volcano is also deeply rooted in popular culture: it is the preferred place of inspiration for many Japanese poets and painters. Here’s a slightly less laudatory record: the Aokigahara forest, at the foot of the sacred volcano, is the most suicidal place in Japan.

What to see and do on Mount Fuji

Mont Fuji

Visiting Mount Fuji from Tokyo isn’t just a matter of climbing to the top of a rock and coming back down. The region is full of lakes, waterfalls, lava-covered forests, caves and towns where time seems to stand still. Due to the harsh climatic conditions on its slopes – the average annual temperature is -6.5°C and even in August ranges from -18°C to +8°C – it is difficult and inadvisable to climb Mount Fuji outside the months of July and August.

Wind, cold, snow and ice may prevent you from reaching the summit outside the summer months. The ascent is marked by 10 stations and various relay points, with the 5th station at the halfway point at an altitude of 2,300 metres. The ecosystem, biodiversity and slopes of Mount Fuji are threatened by the impact of mass tourism. As a result, the authorities have made Mount Fuji fee-paying in order to finance its preservation, and daily hiker quotas have been set.

There are several trails that wind up to the head of this sleeping monster, but they promise to be very busy. The hike is reputed to be rather strenuous; four trails are possible:

  • Yoshida Trail
  • Gotemba Trail
  • Fujinomiya Trail
  • Subashiri Trail

At the top of Mount Fuji, walk around the crater, with a bird’s-eye view of the highest peak. The last part of the ascent, sometimes tortuous and rocky, can be steep at times. Make sure you’re well equipped, because while it can be 40°C in Tokyo in summer, the temperature at 3,776 meters above sea level can be negative.

At the foot of the volcano, be sure to visit the small village of Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nemba, with its thatched-roof houses and ancient medieval wooden mills.

Lakes Kawaguchi, Saiko, Shoji, Motosu and Yamanaka are a must: they offer superb views of the volcano from the water. Not sure what to do? Take the funicular up to Mount Kachikachi, for the beautiful viewing platform at 1,075 meters above sea level. Or enjoy the waterfalls around Mount Fuji: the Shiraito and Otodome waterfalls, for example, to the south-west of the volcano, are designated « natural monuments » by the authorities.

How do I get to Mount Fuji?

There are several ways to visit Mount Fuji from Tokyo. Access is relatively easy, as the volcano is so popular with locals and tourists alike.

From Tokyo, it takes 2h25 by bus to get to the 5th station where the hikes start.

To Gotemba: by train from Tokyo station, take the JR Tokaido line to Kozu, change to the JR Gotemba line. A bus runs from the station to the trailhead.

Kawaguchiko can also be reached from Tokyo (Shinjuku), at the Keio bus terminal. The journey takes between 2h and 2h30. A final bus from Kawaguchiko station takes you to the 5th station on Mount Fuji.

Mount Fuji timetable and fares from Tokyo

Mont Fuji

There are no specific times, but there are two slots for visiting Mount Fuji: sunset (daytime climb, nighttime descent) or sunrise (nighttime climb, morning descent).

A round-trip bus ticket to visit Mount Fuji from Tokyo, via the Yoshida trail, costs 5,400 yen (€40).

A guided tour is available. A fee of 1,000 yen (€8), set by the municipal authorities to preserve the volcano, is welcome but not compulsory.

A night at the refuge (to see the sunset or sunrise from the summit) costs between 5,000 and 9,000 yen, or €40-70.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Bring good clothing, hiking boots, pants and underpants to protect against the cold.
  • Don’t forget: headlamp, gloves, energy bars, plenty of water
  • Avoid visiting Mount Fuji outside the summer season
  • Avoid climbing between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon in summer.
  • Avoid climbing Mount Fuji around the Obon vacation period (mid-August).