Mt. Fuji from Mt. Kachi trail (Photo: Rey Waters)

Fuji-San in the Fall

Exploring the Five Lakes area at Mt Fuji

Mt. Fuji from Mt. Kachi trail (Photo: Rey Waters)
Rey Waters   - 4 min read

Mt Fuji hiking is closed for the season. However, there are many things you can do near the base of the mountain. With a two-day bus pass starting at Kawaguchiko Station, head over to the Mt Kachi Ropeway. We arrived early in the morning and the waiting line was over one hour and forty minutes. We asked the security person if there was a trail leading to the top. In fact, the trail up would only take forty minutes and we discovered several very nice viewing areas that you miss by using the ropeway. The forest was full of brilliant red and orange foliage and the temperature was a cool 8 degrees Celsius (46 Fahrenheit). Perfect for a hike to the top for views of Mt Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko. Once the picture taking is complete then I recommend you hike back down for some additional views, plus very few people were hiking and almost all were waiting at the top to board the ropeway back down.

From the bottom of the trailhead walk back towards the train station, only 600 meters, and try the local favorite Houtou dish at one of many restaurants along the way. Houtou consist of flat udon noodles with locally grown vegetables in a miso soup. My first time to experience this and it moved up to second place of favorite noodle dishes, with spicy Tan Tan flat cut noodles still in first place.

For an afternoon excursion take the green line bus to Fugaku Fuketsu (Wind Cave). Make sure to sit in the back of bus if space is available so you can take pictures along the forty-minute ride around Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Saiko. Once you arrive take the trail through the outskirts of Aokigara Forest (Sea of Trees). The 2016 movie “The Forest”, (known as the Suicide Forest) was about this area and we actually observed signs telling people who were making crucial life decisions about the family and friends they would be leaving behind. You will hike for about fifty minutes and come to the Ice Caves. Not only was the cave interesting, in some areas you have to duck walk in order to get through to the next passage. A helmet is required and you should leave your backpack at the ticket counter. Take the same trail back to the Wind Caves where certain times of the year you will observe tall pillars of ice. For us, they were already melted, but the walk though the cave was fun and interesting. They keep all types of plant seeds in storage beneath the ground, as well as insect larvae.

We took the green line bus back to Kawaguchio Station using a different route for some additional beautiful lake scenes.

Boarded a train to Fuji-san and spent the night at Fuji-san Station Hotel. Walked to a restaurant that served another local favorite, soba.

In the morning we took the municipal bus for an hour and a half ride to Gotemba Premium Outlets, the largest outlet mall in Japan. This is a place where you can shop until you drop, with over 210 stores and many interesting places to eat, all with Mt Fuji in the background.

There are many more things to see in the Fuji area including a large amusement park, additional caves to explore, unlimited hiking trails, a wild bird forest, Fuji-san World Heritage Center, onsen (hot Springs), floral gardens a multitude of museums, and every type of lake activity, all within easy reach by bus.

We plan on returning in the spring for the Sakura (cherry tree) Festival. Check out the web page to download a brochure of the area and other useful information. also has a lot of great Mt. Fuji info, so give our own site a search, too!

There are several non-stop buses from Tokyo, which makes this a great day trip.

Getting there

Non-stop bus from Narita Airport, Haneta Airport, Shinshijuku Station, Toyko Station etc. to Kawaguchiko Station. At Kawaguchiko Station go to the information center and obtain maps, bus schedules, activities and several discount coupons. Right out site the main entrance to the station is the two day ticket booth. If the lines are long you can board one of the buses and purchase your pass from the driver. Make sure you have cash. A two day red and green line pass is 1300 yen for adults. To add the the blue line just pay an additional 200 yen.

Rey Waters

Rey Waters @rey.waters

Born in the U.S.A. - Worked 30 years in executive management high tech Industry, owned a management consulting firm and a wildlife art publishing company.  In 2012 completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s course and published my first article Tower Hopping in Japan with Travel Post Monthly.  Since ...