Lake Kawaguchi is one of the lakes that make up the Fuji Five Lakes region.
It’s also a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu national park.
If you’ll be in Japan outside of Mt Fuji climbing season, Kawaguchiko can be a good place to go to see the best Mount Fuji views as an alternative to hiking up Mount Fuji!
I basically made a visit to Kawaguchiko as a side trip from my main event of climbing Mount Fuji. (Here’s how much it can cost you to climb Mt Fuji.)
So if you’re short on time and are looking to go somewhere that will offer you scenic views of Mount Fuji, you can totally make it a day trip to Kawaguchiko from Tokyo.
Having one full day means that you can take your time more and you can make time to stop by some of the restaurants and shops too.
Of course, having more days in the Fuji Fives Lakes region would be even better!
If you have extra time, you may also consider a trip to Fujiyoshida to see famous views of the Chureito Pagoda with Mt Fuji in the background.
Kawaguchiko to Fujiyoshida (Shimoyoshida station) is about a 15 minute train ride.
First, the quick list of the best things to do in Kawaguchiko.
Then, a more detailed look into how you can fit these things into your one day Kawaguchiko itinerary.
Kawaguchiko as part of a trip to climb Mt Fuji
This is what my Mt Fuji climb + Kawaguchiko trip looked like:
- Bus from Tokyo to Mt Fuji 5th station
- Climb to Mt Fuji summit with overnight mountain hut stay!
- Bus from 5th station to Kawaguchiko
- Overnight stay at Kawaguchiko hostel
- Time in Kawaguchiko!
5 best things to do in Kawaguchiko
Spoiler alert: It’s all about seeing Mt Fuji!
1. Train on the railway that gets closest to Mt Fuji
3. Eat with views of Mt Fuji
4. Mt Fuji panoramic ropeway to Mount Kachi Kachi
5. Lake Kawaguchiko boat ride with Mt Fuji views
How to put these into a one day Kawaguchiko itinerary?
Now, here are some details about this itinerary to see if it’s something you want to follow!
Train ride on the railway that gets closest to Mount Fuji
Cost: 1,540 yen (US$14)
Well, this would be something you start to do before you get to Kawaguchiko. But you can also do it as you leave Kawaguchiko too.
Doing it on your way there might get you excited for your day ahead in Kawaguchiko when you see Mount Fuji for the first time on the train! 🙂
There are a few different special trains that you can take, although only one is advertised as the railway that gets closest to Mount Fuji.
These are called the Fujikyu railway trains, and the Fuji View Express train is the one to get the closest Mount Fuji views from a train.
These trains run between Kawaguchiko and Otsuki.
So if you want to start your day off by arriving to Kawaguchiko on this train, you’ll first take a train from Tokyo to Otsuki. Then once you get to Otsuki, you’ll take the Fujikyu train to Kawaguchiko.
I rode this train as I was leaving Kawaguchiko.
But I would say consider riding it as you arrive, because when I did it in 2018, the last train timing in the direction of Tokyo was early afternoon.
I think you’ll be giving yourself more time in Kawaguchiko by doing it first.
Mount Tenjo hike
Most people who do the Mount Tenjo hike seem to do a shortened 10 minute version.
If you’re only interested in a 10-minute walk, you can take the Mount Kachi Kachi ropeway up, and then hike the Mount Tenjo trail for more views of Mount Fuji.
If you’re interested in a 30-40 minute nature walk, consider walking from Lake Kawaguchiko to reach the high points. You’ll come across a few different “Mount Fuji viewing areas.”
You’ll also come across views of the lake too.
And, the bonus is that there’s a good chance you will be able to enjoy these views to yourself with no one else around!
Before you head off to start the Mount Tenjo hiking trail, stop by a convenience store to pick up some snacks or a to-go meal.
Then, when you’re on the trail, you can stop and enjoy the views while you eat!
If you’re making it a day trip from Tokyo, you can walk from the bus station or train station direct to the Mount Tenjo trailhead. It’ll be about a 15 minute walk.
The buses and trains are both at the same Kawaguchiko station.
Mount Fuji panoramic ropeway to Mount Kachi Kachi
Cost: 450 yen (US$4) one way
This is the ropeway you can take for the shortened version of the Mount Tenjo hike.
Even just taking the ropeway up, without going for the extra 10 minute walk, will afford you with some of the best views of Mount Fuji.
On the ropeway ride itself, which is a short ride up or down the mountain, you’ll get the best views of Lake Kawaguchiko.
Then once you reach the top ropeway station, you can simply head on over to the overlook area… and there’s Mount Fuji!
There’s another overlook area right around the ropeway station. Just look for the stairs.
It’s possible to buy one-way tickets for the ropeway, so you can choose to hike the longer Mount Tenjo trail one way, and take the ropeway the other way.
I did the Mount Tenjo hike from near the lake, and then took the ropeway down.
When doing the hike to go up, the trail will lead straight to the ropeway station.
Lake Kawaguchiko Ensoleille boat ride
Cost: 930 yen (US$9)
The lake is located right at the base of the ropeway station.
There are a number of different types of boat rides you can take.
I took the Ensoleille pleasure boat ride which was a 20 minute cruise around the lake.
You’ll get Mount Fuji views while out on the lake too!
HAPPY KAWAGUCHIKO ITINERARY PLANNING!
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Shoes for JapanFor summer travel, hiking sandals can be perfect for walking around cities and for many of the short day hikes! See travel sandals like these for women and these for men.
Japan is a mountain country so be sure to get in some hikes!
See trail running shoes too (for women - for men) for other solid hikes including climbing Mt Fuji.
Speaking of hiking, I love this daypack.
The super fast train in JapanIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure.
See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
Best travel guides for JapanIf you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.
For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Cheap(er) flights to JapanI used this website to find the cheapest flight and to book my recent flight to Japan.
Sometimes it makes sense to book direct - my preferred way!
But this booking site will search a combination of airlines, including those who aren't partner airlines, which means that they can help you find cheaper flights by booking individual flights for you as part of one flight itinerary. This can be especially helpful if you're not flying out of a major hub with direct flights to Japan.
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See more tips for finding cheap flights to Japan.