Hop on the 7am “Super Azusa” Limited Express train from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station to Otsuki station via the JR Chuo Line. Then, switch to the Fujikyu Line to get to Kawaguchiko station. The entire journey will take you a little over two hours, and will cost you from ¥3,910. (Note: if you have a JR Pass, you’ll only have to pay for the second leg of your journey on the Fujikyu Line). View the train schedule here.
Board the Fujikyu Bus (¥2,100 for a round-trip ticket) to the Fuji Subaru Fifth Station, undoubtedly the most popular sightseeing spot in the region. Located 2,300m above sea level (about halfway up the mountain), the station offers sweeping views of the Fuji Five Lakes area, as well as several shrines, torii gates, souvenir shops and restaurants. View the bus schedule here.
For another bird’s-eye view of Lake Kawaguchi, take a trip up the Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway (¥800 for a round-trip ticket), which has an observation deck rising 400m above the lake’s eastern shore. You can get there by boarding a sightseeing bus (¥1,200 for an unlimited ticket) from Kawaguchiko station, and alighting at stop 11 on the Red Line. View the bus schedule here.
If you’d rather enjoy the sights from a different vantage point, take a scenic 20-minute cruise around the lake on a pleasure boat (¥900) instead. The jetty is located at the foot of the ropeway, and the boat service runs every 30 minutes.
Have lunch at any of the hotels or restaurants along the eastern shore of the lake. Then, head to Kawaguchiko Cheese Cake Garden (1173-1 Asakawa, Minamitsuru-gun; +81 555 72 3654) for desserts. Located just beside the ropeway, this quaint little café specializes in delectable, light-as-air cheesecakes.
The best picture-perfect views of Mt Fuji can be found at the View Point of Sakasa-Fuji (stop 14 on the Red Line). On a clear, still day, you’ll get to see the mountain reflected on the lake’s surface. Perfect for those Instagram shots!
For a dose of history, check out the Kawaguchiko Music Forest (JPY1300 entrance fee; stop 17 on the Red Line), an enchanting little museum dedicated to noteworthy mechanical music instruments, such as the world’s largest dancing organ. The museum also houses a beautiful rose garden, with many unique varietals of the classic bloom.
Alternatively, spend your time at Oishi Park (stop 22 on the Red Line). Here, you’ll find colorful flowers blooming seasonally along the promenade — tulips in April, lavender in June, and bright pink bassia scoparia in October — against the majestic backdrop of Mt Fuji (you’ll never tire of the view!).
Make your way back to Kawaguchiko station to board the last train (6.26pm on weekdays, 5.27pm at weekends) to Tokyo’s Shinjuku station, transiting at Otsuki station.
Also read: How to navigate Tokyo like a pro