Side trips from Tokyo: Fuji Kawaguchiko

Lake Kawaguchiko is located right at the base of Mt. Fuji, and of all the five lakes around Mt. Fuji it seems to be the most accessible. Mt. Fuji seems to be most visible around the morning so if you are planning to climb the mountain or climb from the 5th base you should go take the earliest bus up the mountain and start your ascent early before noon hits. Just as seen in our picture, we got a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from inside the forest path, of which I will talk about some more in a while.

How to get to Kawaguchiko:

You have the option of taking the train or the bus. We opted to take the bus because, taking the train would take 1 hour and 30 mins with 1 exchange in between. But riding the bus would only take 1 hour and 45 mins with no stops. Which was not inconvenient at all, also much cheaper than taking the train. One way by bus from Shinjuku station, the new bus station located across the SOUTH EXIT of Shinjuku JR line only costs 1786 Yen, one way price.

Going back you just take the same route back to Shinjuku.

Should you stay overnight: 

There are many small inns, hotels and guest houses around the lake and I would suggest you take one day before to go sightseeing around the lake and go check out early in the morning to go up Mt. Fuji before 9am after breakfast or before going into the Onsen. I would suggest getting a place with an Onsen, going to Japan if you are a foreigner I think would be nice if you would try an Onsen for once in your life, my boyfriend tried it for the first time and loved it.

Kawaguchiko Station is surprisingly right next to FUJI Q Highlands, if you are a fan of amusement parks you could try heading over to Fuji Q, or add in an extra day just to do that too.

What do you see around Kawaguchiko: 

Kawaguchiko offers a lot of sightseeing, and they have a free tour bus that goes around the lake every 15 mins from every bus station. The bus stations are very close to each other so you can enjoy the different places and views from around the lake. I would personally recommend going to the music forest museum which was also recommended for us to go to by the hotel staff. They also recommended the ropeway and they gave us a discount coupon, if maybe you want to see the view of Kawaguchiko but do not plan to go up Mt. Fuji you should try the ropeway.

How to get up to 5th station of Mt. Fuji, and what you can do there. 

From Kawaguchiko station, take the earliest bus up to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji which is around 8:50am (The bus leaves every hour after that), To get a nice view go up the 3rd floor where there are no tourists and wait for a nice view of Mt. Fuji. You can also send postcards from Mt. Fuji, its one of the only places with a post office on top of a mountain other than everest.

There is also an option to climb or hike up to the 6th station if the weather is good, but there is a secret path that not many know on the 5th station, it is the hike around the middle of the 5th section, you will see a forest path right next to the bus station which is right beside the secluded souvenir shop on the other side of the tourist trap side where all the tourists are taking pictures. On the right side of the bus station, go up the steps and you can walk around the mountain where you will see scenic views of the mountain far more beautiful than from the actual 5th station.

If you continue walking that path you will reach the 4th station, if you are unsure of the route go to the information before going to the path and let them give you a small map to guide you.

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Coming early definitely had its advantages, we were able to see a clear view of Mt. Fuji and we really were so lucky. 

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From the path we were able to climb through this beautiful forest path of which i will never forget, the beautiful autumn leaves were perfect and the volcanic rock path. 

Things you have to eat:

Hoto is a famous delicacy there, flat noodles is what they call it and the Yoshida udon, which is made from the water from Mt. Fuji so they say. There are plenty of different stops around Kawaguchiko where you could give them a try.

If I was able to stay longer around Kawaguchiko, i would have liked to also try going to their vineyards and other farms where you can pick strawberries, persimmons, grapes and other fruits depending on the season. If you have time to look through the places around the area with the Information station at Kawaguchiko I would suggest that you spend a good one hour with the information planning your trip for the next few days, they are very accommodating and speak very good english. Hope that this will help you plan your next trip out of Tokyo! Enjoy Japan. ❤

Side trips from Tokyo: Hakone Park (富士箱根伊豆国立公園)

Early this year we went to 富士箱根伊豆国立公園 (Fuji Hakone Izu Kokuritsu Koen) Fuji Hakone Izu National park. It is absolutely beautiful here and If you are looking for a very short but good side trip from Tokyo, Hakone is the place to go to!

58995_10202794795021877_71131521_n.jpgWe left at 9am and we took the Romance car from Shibuya which cost us about 22000 Yen together with the Hakone Free Pass. I would suggest that you buy the free pass at Shibuya as I heard that it is cheaper to buy it here. It is only a 2 hour train ride away from Tokyo and on the way to Hakone we saw Mt. Fuji from the train. Hakone is very cold. So if you are weak to the cold I suggest that you bring your gloves and mufflers for extra protection.

1525021_10202794798141955_1577550600_n When we got there we followed the route going around Hakone. We took the trail going to the Jinja shrine, The Kaizokuban River cruise and then we took the ropeway up the mountain where the famous Onsen Tamago is made in Owakudani. Take long stops on top of the mountain because there are many things to do such as eat the Onsen Tamago and you could see Mt. Fuji too from the mountain. Although we only stayed for a day, we hope to come back again so that we could tour some more. Since we lacked so much time in going around Hakone.

On the way down the mountain we were already rushing since our train was at 545pm. If you are to go to Hakone I noticed what people do here is stay at a hotel 1555387_10202794797021927_110126407_nnear the mountain so that they stop there and then on the next day they go back down the mountain and tour the sites on the way down. A day is enough to go around Hakone, however if we did have 2 days I would think that we would have seen more things. We were really in a rush and most of the time i was looking at my watch for the time, Its a good thing that everything in Japan is on time so we had no problem even if we were running late. But if you would like to enjoy the whole of Hakone then I would suggest that you stay here overnight to better appreciate this beautiful small town.