“City needs art to be beautiful, Nature needs nothing”, I have read it somewhere on the internet long time back. Every time we sneak out from a busy city to explore the countryside, it reminds me of this quote. Kawaguchiko, a nice scenic hideout from the busy streets of Tokyo which can be reached in just 2 hours makes it a perfect candidate for a day trip from Tokyo. It is one of the five amazing lakes at the base of Mt. Fuji and offers a stunning view with very less number of tourists around.
How to reach
There are no direct trains from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko and your journey will not be completely covered in JR pass.
Train: Chuo line express train from Shinjuku to Otsuki station (covered by JR pass). And then Fujikyuko line from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko. This stretch will not be covered by JR pass and you need to buy a separate ticket at the station. Please make sure you buy a ticket for an express train to save some time. Cost ~1300 yen (buy a round-trip ticket to save 100 yens).
Bus: If you don’t want the hassle to change trains, there is a direct bus from Shinjuku (Shinjuku Express Bus Terminal) to Kawaguchiko. Cost ~2000 yen.
Local Transport in Kawaguchiko
There is amazing sightseeing bus service (ticket office is inside the station) in Kawaguchiko for tourists which offer unlimited hop on and hop off with buses in every 10-15 min. You need to buy a pass according to the routes you are planning to cover and your pass will be valid for two days.
Tip: If you are here for just one day then it’s better to buy a pass only for redline which is the most famous route.
We took a red line bus from the station to the last stop (Stop 22) which offers the most unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji. We also noted the bus stops which looked interesting on the way to revisit later.
After 2-2.5 hours of a train journey from Tokyo and then a bus ride, we finally reached our spot to admire the amazing work of nature, Mt. Fuji. I will leave the rest for the pictures to describe the beauty of this place.
Best thing to do, Do Nothing
There are a couple of restaurants and souvenir shops for the tourists. It was the only lazy day for us in our otherwise super hectic 8 days long trip to Japan. It was a nice sunny day, we spent a good amount of time here with multiple rounds of hot chocolate appreciating the work of nature.
After spending hours in that location, we hopped the bus again to cover the spots we marked on the way. The stretch between bus stops 11 to 15 is also a beauty and so we got down to stop 11. You can take a ropeway here to go on the top. This area has multiple restaurants as well for lunch. We tried Hotou noodles (a specialty of Fiyujima region). Please check out our post, “Food Experiments in Japan“, for a list of other amazing food options in Japan.
You can roam around in this area or go to any other spot on this route which you found interesting. I found the area around bus stop no. 14 to be one of the best places for sunset pictures. We spent our entire evening here, setting up the tripod for some long shutter shots, chit-chatting while watching a nice sunset with Mt. Fuji in the frame.
Call it a day
I would recommend staying a bit late even after the sunset to get a view with reflection of town lights. Unfortunately, my DSLR battery was gone by that time and iPhone was the only savior.
Tip: Please make sure about the timings for the last bus back to the station. Also, you will not be able to get an express train back to Otsuki station after the sunset (check at the station for the timings in your season).
That’s how we concluded our one amazing day in 8 days long Japan trip. There is lot more to share from the trip which will be coming soon on TravelAnubhav. Please let us know in comments, if this post inspires you to take a trip to Kawaguchiko.