Featured prominently in Hokusai's famous ukiyo-e prints, Mt. Fuji stands as Japan's highest and most iconic mountain. Together with nearby Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi), the area is rich with tourist attractions throughout the year.
Due to its proximity to Tokyo and easy access from the capital, Mt. Fuji is considered an ideal day trip destination. While there are several ways to get to Kawaguchiko, we recommend the Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION for its speed and convenience.
This guide will explain everything you need to know about the train and exploring some of the great attractions in the Kawaguchiko area.
Overview of Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji area
In 2013, Mt. Fuji and its surroundings were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their cultural significance. This included the Fuji Five Lakes, of which Kawaguchiko is the second-largest and the most easily accessible from central Tokyo.
Boasting spectacular views of Mt. Fuji, the Kawaguchiko area is worth visiting throughout the year. You can travel to Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku using the Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION.
How to book Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION tickets
The FUJI EXCURSION train runs with three cars and all seats are reserved. Due to the popularity of this route and the limited availability of train services, securing a ticket in advance is essential.
Ticket reservations become available at 10 am, exactly one month prior to the departure date. To book online, you can use the “ekinet” reservation website. Alternatively, you can buy tickets at ‘Midori no Madoguchi’ counters or Shinkansen ticket machines within major Japan Rail stations.
FUJI EXCURSION’s timetables and fares
Boarding at Shinjuku, the Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION transports passengers directly to Kawaguchiko in about two hours. The one-way fare between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko is around 4,100 yen, comprising a base fare of 2,500 yen and a limited express fare of 1,600 yen. This pricing structure is typical for limited express trains and bullet trains (Shinkansen).
If you choose not to reserve a specific seat, there is the option for a slightly cheaper fare. In this scenario, you may sit in any unoccupied seat when boarding the train. However, you must give it up if the seat is claimed by a passenger with a reservation.
Stations on FUJI EXCURSIONS
On weekdays, there are three FUJI EXCURSION trains from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko, departing at 7:30 am, 8:30 am, and 9:30 am. The return trains from Kawaguchiko leave at 3:03 pm, 4:51 pm, and 5:36 pm. On weekends, the schedule includes four roundtrips, with departures from Shinjuku at 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 9:02 am, and 9:30 am. The weekend return trains from Kawaguchiko depart at 3:03 pm, 4:25 pm, 4:51 pm, and 5:36 pm.
In either case, the train stops at the following stations: Shinjuku, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Otsuki, Tsurubunka-daigakumae, Shimoyoshida (Chureito Pagoda), Mt. Fuji, Fujikyu Highland, and Kawaguchiko. The last three stops serve as gateway stations for Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes.
FUJI EXCURSION’s amenities
The FUJI EXCURSION service is operated by E353 series trains, which are known for their comfortable seats with ample leg room. Moreover, each seat comes with a power outlet, allowing you to charge your device during the journey. Passengers traveling with large suitcases can take advantage of the luggage racks.
Above each seat is a lamp indicating its availability. A green light means that the seat has been reserved, yellow means that the seat is reserved later on in the journey, and red means that the seat is unreserved.
Places to visit in the Kawaguchiko area
Set against the backdrop of Japan's most iconic mountain, the Kawaguchiko area has several unique and captivating destinations to explore. Catering to hikers, flower lovers, and adventure-seekers alike, each offers its own blend of natural beauty and exhilarating experiences.
Arakurayama Sengen Park
Located halfway up the slopes of Mt. Arakura, this picturesque park is known for its superb views of Mt. Fuji. It is just a 10-minute walk from Shimoyoshida (Chureito Pagoda) station and includes a 398-step climb.
Once you arrive at the observation deck, you will be rewarded with a full view of Mt. Fuji and the cityscape of Fujiyoshida. Also within the park is a five-story pagoda built in memory of those who fell victim to global conflicts, including World Wars I and II. Year-round, the pagoda is illuminated from sunset to 10 pm, creating a stunning vista after dark.
The park’s scenery changes throughout the year, with the cherry blossom season from late March to early April particularly noteworthy. From the observation deck, you can continue along a hiking trail to the summit of Mt. Arakura. This is particularly recommended from mid to late June when you can admire the iris fields along the way, with Mt. Fuji providing a stunning backdrop.
Located on the north shore of Kawaguchiko, Oishi Park is a scenic spot where visitors can enjoy seasonal floral displays and (on a clear day) views of Mt. Fuji. As you walk the 350-meter-long “flower street”, you will be greeted by an array of seasonal blooms, including tulips in late April and kochia (summer cypress) in October. The 10,000 lavender flowers, which bloom from late June to early July, are particularly popular. During this period, the Kawaguchiko Herb Festival takes place, with local delicacies and crafts for sale.
Also within the park is the Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center, which serves as an information hub and a rest stop. It houses three cafes where visitors can savor afternoon tea or enjoy lunch with a view of Mt. Fuji. You will also find lavender-themed gifts and local souvenirs on offer.
Admission to the park is free and there is also a spacious car park. This makes it a convenient rest stop for travelers, whether they are on motorbikes, bicycles, or in other vehicles.
Nestled at the base of Mount Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland is one of the most popular amusement parks in Japan. It boasts several jaw-droppingly thrilling rides, including the four-dimensional roller coaster known as Eejanaika (meaning "Isn't it great?”). Its rotating seats flip passengers a full 360 degrees up to 14 times throughout the ride.
Standing 79 meters high, Fujiyama is the tallest roller coaster in the park. While it doesn’t feature Eejanaika’s overturns, its dramatic twists and turns are sure to get your heart pumping.
If you are planning to spend the whole day at Fuji-Q Highland, you can stay overnight at the Highland Resort Hotel & Spa. Some of its rooms offer fantastic views of Mt. Fuji and guests enjoy several perks. These include a 15-minute early admission to Fuji-Q Highland and complimentary entry to Fujiyama Onsen, the hot spring facility next to the hotel.
Naruto fans should consider staying in one of the hotel’s Naruto-themed suites. From the entrance to the bedroom and even the bathroom, the entire suite is adorned with motifs inspired by the anime. Guests staying here also enjoy exclusive amenities, such as yukatas, combs, and cosmetic bags.
In conclusion, the journey from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko via the Limited Express FUJI EXCURSION offers a fast and efficient travel experience, with the added bonus of scenic views and comfortable amenities. Thanks to its reserved seating and convenient timetable, the train is an excellent choice for travelers wanting to explore the cultural and natural attractions of the Mt. Fuji and Kawaguchiko area.
From the stunning views at Arakurayama Sengen Park to the colorful floral displays of Oishi Park and Fuji-Q Highland’s thrilling rides, this area offers a diverse range of attractions for all types of visitors. Whether you are visiting as a day trip or an extended stay, the combination of accessibility and breathtaking landscapes ensures a memorable visit to one of Japan's most iconic destinations.