Japan Adventures: Five Things to Do in Mount Fuji

Hi, my name is Joo Fei, a close friend of Olivia! I’m excited to share my recent trip to Japan, and hopefully this will inspire you to step out and see more of the world 😀

Before we jump into my Fuji adventures, let me share a bit of background story. Last November, I flew over to Japan during the winter holidays. It all started because a friend of mine, Yan Rui, went on student exchange program to Sendai, Japan. I told her once that if I had the chance, maybe I’d go and visit her. So one day I randomly researched flight tickets and stumbled upon a promotion – SGD 262.97 for Singapore – Tokyo and Osaka – Singapore, both with AirAsia via Bangkok!! That was insanely cheap, and so with little (read: no) research, I bought the tickets.

Thus happened my impulsive Japan trip. I treated it as a preliminary trip before I bring my mother over. She has always wanted to visit Japan – probably from all the Japanese documentaries we used to always watch together. If you’re Singaporean, you’d know – the ones right before the 8pm news 😀

Anyway, this was a 14-day backpacking trip, starting in Tokyo and ending in Osaka. During the trip, I relied a lot on japan-guide.com – it’s super useful and informative!

Things to do in Mount Fuji

For this particular post, I will be sharing my adventures at Japan’s most iconic landmark, Mount Fuji. This town was my base for this trip. So here are the top five things to do when you visit Mount Fuji!

1. Mount Tenjo

Mount Tenjo is located beside Kawaguchi Lake, and its observation deck is one of the best spots to view Mount Fuji. One can opt to climb up the mountain but a round-trip by the cable car costs only JPY 720 (~SGD 8). Of course, you can also get a one-way ticket and afterwards make your own way down. Up on the mountain, you get panoramic views of Mount Fuji and I must say, it is really breathtaking.

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The cable car ride up to Mount Tenjo. The weather that day was perfect!
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Up on the observation deck. Isn’t this view amazing? I spent almost 1.5 hours here while tour groups just came for 5 minutes and left.

2. Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station

After some splendid views of Mount Fuji, I decided to take it a step further and experience being on the mountain itself. Therefore, I made my way to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. Probably the most accessible part of Mount Fuji, the station lies at the halfway point of the Yoshida Trail, which leads from Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine (see next point!) to the summit of Mount Fuji.

The crowded station-cum-souvenir shop, because people were camping inside and taking shelter from the cold!
The crowded station-cum-souvenir shop, because people were camping inside and taking shelter from the cold!
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Remember to apply sunscreen, because you are at high altitudes and thus nearer to the sun ;D

My bus ride from Kawaguchiko station to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station took 50 minutes and cost JPY 2,100 (~SGD 24). The experience of being on the mountain was unforgettable. The wind was so strong and cold and the visitors, including me, hardly left the souvenir shop-cum-station to get out to take photos. But that’s the kind of weather you will experience on the mountain, and do come prepared with appropriate clothing. This experience is definitely recommended!

3. Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine

Before the cold wind got into my bones, I took a bus down to my next destination – Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine. In Japan, there are a lot of Fuji Sengen Shrines (shrines dedicated to Princess Konohanasakuya, the Shinto deity associated with Mount Fuji), and Fujiyoshida is one of them. You will pass by this shrine if you climb the Yoshida Trail to get to Mount Fuji.

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Grand entrance to Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine
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The shrine itself!
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Sake barrels at the shrine.
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Names of the sponsors of the shrine are listed here!

There are one to two buses per hour to Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine from Kawaguchiko station. You can also go directly from Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, like I did. A bus ride from Kawaguchiko costs JPY300 (SGD3.43).

4. Chureito Pagoda

Chureito Pagoda is located one train station away from Kawaguchiko, at Shimo-Yoshido. The five-storied pagoda overlooks Fujiyoshida City and Mount Fuji, and from there you get great views all around. It is especially beautiful at sunset, so I’d advise you to visit the other places I mentioned during the day and drop by Chureito Pagoda at sunset. You will get a totally different feel!

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It was almost night-time but Mount Fuji was still visible.
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The view was awesome when Chureito Pagoda got all lit up!

One JR (Japan Rail) train ride from Kawaguchiko to Shimo-Yoshido costs JPY 300 (~SGD 3.5). From the station, you will have to walk for 15 minutes (including a 5-minute climb up the mountain) to visit the pagoda.

5. Benifuji Onsen

The best way to end a tiring day is to take a dip in an onsen bath! I Googled and found Benifuji Onsen, the only onsen around Kawaguchiko with a view of Mount Fuji. Admission is JPY 700 (~ SGD 8) and you are allowed to spend as much time in the onsen as you like. Bring your own modesty towel, but everything else like toiletries are all provided. No photography is allowed in an onsen but I can assure you, the experience of soaking in a hot spring bath, which has a perfect view of Mount Fuji, is indescribable! You have to experience it for yourself!

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Benifuji Onsen from the outside.

So there you have it – the 5 things that you can do when you are visiting the area to see Mount Fuji. Of course, there are many other towns you can use as a base, like Hakone. Another possibility is to visit the Fuji-Q Highland theme park. I didn’t do it but I’ve heard good reviews!

So I hope you have enjoyed reading my post. Stay tuned for my next one on exploring Kyoto! Sayonara~

P.S. Unfortunately, in the end I did not get to meet Yan Rui because she was busy with school work and Sendai was kind of out of the way. I kind of felt guilty, but we managed to meet up in Singapore when she came back last week 🙂

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16 comments

  1. I will be traveling from the US to Japan in Mid March 2016. It will our first trip for all 3 of us. Do you have a recomendation for a hotel?

    1. Hi Joyce! Unfortunately, I am a budget traveller so I was staying in hostels for most of my trips. For Sapporo, International Khaosan Hostel is very family-oriented and very cost. If you don’t mind a hostel-setting where you get to meet new people, do give it a chance 🙂 !

  2. Hi Joo Fei! I love your article! Thank you for sharing! I’m going to Japan next week. Did you went to Mt. Fuji through tour agent?

    1. Hi Fatheen 🙂 Great to hear that you are going Japan next week! Awesome time to go now to see the sakura blossom! I did not go to Mt Fuji through a tour agency. I took the train to the Lake Kawaguchiko area. From there, I took public transport to get to the Fuji 5th Station 🙂 Quite easy! Your hostel/hotel staff should know how to get there! Do ask them!

      Have a wonderful holiday there!

      1. hi joo fei.. thanks for the post! i was wondering what a budget traveller like me can do at kawaguchiko..i’ll be travelling to tokyo in Nov. Need some advice as the more i read the more i get confused.
        1) you are travelling by train from which station? isit Tokyo Station?
        2) isit wise to plan a day trip to Mt. Fuji or should i stay overnight?

        1. Hi Lyna! Thanks for your queries! Will be glad to help 🙂 First of all, Tokyo is not that near to Kawaguchiko. You do have to take the train from Tokyo. I am pretty sure there are a few stations which link Tokyo to Kawaguchiko (since Tokyo has so many JR Stations anyway!). The thing is, I did not travel to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo. I went from Nagano. Therefore, my suggestion will be to check out http://www.hyperdia.com to check on the date/time of your departure from Tokyo. Different dates/times will mean departure from different station, but most will end you up at Kawaguchiko. I gave hyperdia a rough check and found that Tokyo to Kawaguchiko takes usually 2.0 to 2.5hrs of journey, depending on the route.

          2) No, a day-trip is not recommended from Tokyo because you might waste more time on the train, unless you do not have a choice. Otherwise, consider taking a late train from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko, eg. 5.30pm and reach Kawaguchiko at around 8.00pm and check into your hostel. Rest well and walk around Kawaguchiko at night, make some friends at the hostel etc. Next morning then, wake up early and tour around Kawaguchiko to see the Mount Fuji! Do remember to get to the 5th station because it’s really part of the experience! Hope the day will be awesome for you when you are touring to see Mount Fuji. Have fun 😀 !

  3. Good one. Thanks! My only concern is the tattoo on my calf, which may be forbid me from going to onsen, I think?

    1. Hi there! Unfortunately, individuals with tattoos on any part of the body are often rejected for an admission to an onsen. I’m not the best person to explain the reasons behind this but I gathered that it was all part of Japan’s culture etc. What I can suggest is to consider paying more for a private onsen. There are a fair number of hotels/ryokans which offer private onsen baths around Tokyo or Kyoto. Do give it a check 🙂 Hope this helps and does not disappoint you too much!

  4. hello, i would like to know if we can actually look around Mt. Fuji by feet? or do we have to travel from place to place by bus or any other public transport?

    1. Hi Teresa! It will be difficult actually because it’s actually quite windy and chilly up there especially during the winter. Usually people travel by public transport! Thanks 🙂

    1. Chureito Pagoda is beautiful 🙂 how lucky of you to have visited during the Cherry Blossom period!

    1. Hi there! Yes, there’s a bus ride from Kawaguchiko station to Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station. It took 50 minutes and cost JPY 2,100 (~SGD 24)! Thanks and have fun in Japan!