From March 16, travelers looking for a faster route to Mount Fuji can hop on the Fuji Excursion, a new Japan Railways (JR) limited express service. The new route connects Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station and the Fujikyu Railway’s Kawaguchiko Station in Yamanashi Prefecture, near the famous mountain.
The Fuji Excursion train shortens travel time (currently about two to three hours on existing buses and trains) to one and a half hours and makes the journey more affordable at ¥1,600 (about P760) compared to current fares of around ¥2,000 to ¥3,000. The new service is part of several other improvements — including the instatement of more efficient timetables for certain bullet train routes — implemented by JR.
Fuji fast facts
At 3,776m, Mount Fuji is the tallest peak in Japan. More than 200,000 people reach its summit each year — it gets especially busy in the period between July and September. The mountain, which is in fact a dormant volcano, last erupted back in the early 18th century. Between 2000 and 2001, slight seismic activity raised concerns about a possible reawakening of the volcano, but no cause for panic has been reported since.
Things to do at and around Mount Fuji
If you’re fit, hiking up part of the mountain, then dipping in the Fujiyama onsen and then hopping on a train back to Tokyo may be accomplished in 24 hours. But visitors may also opt to take things slow — stay a night in a mountain cabin or any of the surrounding hotels, where you can wake up to a picturesque view of the stunning peak. Have time to spare? Then consider checking out Oshino Hakkai, which is a group of eight clear spring water ponds situated at the foot of the mountain; Fuji-Q Highland, a theme park near the base as well; Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha, a Shinto shrine; and Gotemba Premium Outlets, one of Japan’s largest outlet malls.
For more information, visit fujikyu.co.jp
This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Smile magazine.