Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji or Fuji-san is a snow-capped winter wonder which, on a clear day, can be viewed 100km away in Tokyo. This dormant volcano, resplendent at 3776m, is usually shrouded in haze or cloud so visitors will need to venture closer to view the sacred site which has inspired pilgrimages by countless artists and tourists.
To see Fuji-san, you can either check out the view from the summit or gaze at the peak from a scenic spot in the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) area below. The official climbing season for Fuji-san is July and August annually which provides optimal conditions for all hikers. While you can climb the mountain in the off-season, the transportation is less frequent and the weather is colder with snow and ice and should only attempted by experienced hikers. The most popular base to climb Fuji-san is from Kawaguchiko 5th Station, which is the most accessible area from central Tokyo and halfway up the Yoshida Trail. The ascent takes about five hours and the separate descent trail is roughly three hours.
If you’d prefer a more leisurely look at Fuji-san, consider a visit to the Fuji Five Lake area at the northern base of the mountain, or the nearby hot spring resort of Hakone. The lake resort area of Fujigoko offers a range of hiking, camping, fishing and snow sports options as well as providing close views up to Fuji-san. There’s also Fuji Q Highland – an amusement park with tall and thrilling rollercoasters. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is renowned for its natural environment, hot springs and views of the mountain.
To visit Fuji-san and Fuji Five Lakes, highway buses travel between Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station and Kawaguchiko 5th Station daily during July to September and on weekends only from late April to early November during the off-season. The one-way trip is around 140 minutes and costs ¥2,600 for a reserved seat. To visit Hakone, a one-way journey on the ‘Romance Car’ limited express train costs ¥2,020 and takes 85 minutes from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Hakone-Yumoto Station.