Getting Around the Fuji Five Lakes
To enjoy this popular getaway surrounding the base of Mount Fuji, the main destination point (besides the obvious Mount Fuji) is Lake Kawaguchiko. This is the usual starting point for those who wish to climb the volcanic mountain and also for those who want to take in nature while enjoying the onsens and outdoor activities of the different lakes. Once at Kawaguchiko, there are a few alternatives to move around the five lakes and the towns to which they belong to. But before you start traveling between lakes, you need to get to the area.
To reach Kawaguchiko Station from Tokyo, a convenient choice if you hold a valid driver’s license is to make your way by car. Via the Chuo Expressway, the drive from Tokyo Station takes on average two hours depending on the traffic with approximately a 2,500 yen toll. The great thing about driving is that you’ll have a car while at the Fuji Five Lakes which makes getting around the area quite easy. If not driving, then the two next best options are to ride the trains or to take one of the charter buses.
Via train, you’ll want to take the Chuo Line Limited Express train to Kofu, switch to the Fujikyuko Line at Otsuki Station, and then hop on the local commuter train arriving at Kawaguchiko Station which will take you 17 stops and set you back 4,280 yen. Alternatively you can ride in more style and at a slightly higher price on the Fujisan View Express which also connects Otsuki Station with Kawaguchiko Station but only making five stops. For those who prefer riding the bus, the Fujikyuko Bus is an express bus that travels from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station for an economical 1,800 yen one-way fare.
Once at Fujikawaguchiko Town, Fujikyuko Co. also operates the Sightseeing Bus which covers most of the Fuji Five Lakes region with four different lines. The colorful buses are a common sight around the lakes and riding these retro buses are the best alternative for non-drivers.
The Red Line travels along the eastern and northeastern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko as far as the Natural Living Centre and Oishi Park. This is the line to take to visit spots like the Funatsu-hama Onsen Town and the Music Forest Museum, and the Fujisan World Heritage Centre. The Green Line covers the southern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko stopping by Koumi Park and going around the entirety of Lake Saiko. For a visit to Iyashi-no-Sato Nenba, the Wind Cave, and the Lava Cave of Aokigahara this is the bus to take. To visit the Ice Cave, explore Lake Shojiko, and reach the entrance of Lake Motosuko, the Blue Line travels along Road 139 and through the Aokigahara Forest over to the Lake Motosuko Tourist Information Centre. The Unlimited ride ticket (2 days) costs 1,500 yen for adults and half the price for children and includes all the lines. While Lake Yamanakako and the Oshino Village are also covered by the same bus company, the bus to ride is the Fujikko-go bus which departs from Mt. Fuji Station, stops at spots like the Oshino Hakkai, the Mt. Fuji Radar System, and travels all around Lake Yamanakako. The 2-day ride on the Fujikko-go costs 1,340 yen for adults.
If you want to add a workout to your transportation plans around the Fuji Five Lakes then the best way to do so is by renting a bicycle. A decent portion of the lakes, especially in Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Yamanakako, can be accessed safely on two wheels along walking and cycling trails. You’ll just need to be extra careful when the path merges with the roads as the space for all vehicles can get tight. To rent both “casual” and electric bikes, Sora No Shita next to Kawaguchiko Station is a reliable shop.