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How to Plan a Trip to Mount Fuji: Hiking or Viewing from a Distance

By Vicky LengUpdated Oct. 19, 2023

Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak and an active volcano, is also an iconic symbol of Japan and one of the top attractions you shouldn't miss when you travel there.

The best place to see Mount Fuji is at Lake Kawaguchi where you could appreciate this magnificent mountain by hiking, biking, or taking a cable car ride to experience the charming scenery.

In this article, we'll help you to plan a trip to Mount Fuji, including the best ways to view it and suggested itinerary ideas.

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The 2 Best Ways to Visit Mount Fuji

Hiking the spectacular Mount Fuji or viewing it from a distance the best ways to experience the charm of Mount Fuji. Each offers a unique experiences and creates lasting memories.

1) Hiking Mount Fuji to experience its spectacular and breathtaking scenery up close

Hiking Mount FujiHiking Mount Fuji

Hiking is a popular and challenging way to explore Mount Fuji. The only season you're allowed to climb Mount Fuji is from July to early September. Enjoying charming scenery and fresh air along the way, once you reach the top, you would likely see the amazing sight of a sea of clouds.

If you are traveling with your kids or have some other reason not to climb to the summit, you could climb to one of the rest points at various heights according to your situation. That way, without over-exertion, you could still experience the fun of climbing Mount Fuji.

2) Viewing Mount Fuji from a distance by walking, biking, or cable car

Mount Fuji and the sight of the five red pagodas Mount Fuji and the sight of the five red pagodas

Viewing the full vista of Mount Fuji is one of the top things for travelers to do when traveling in Japan. Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone are two popular destinations for travelers to visit to admire Mount Fuji. Among them, Lake Kawaguchi in Fuji Five Lakes is the best place to view Mount Fuji due to its wide views and good visibility.

Lake Kawaguchi is perfect for viewing Mount Fuji year-round. In spring (March to May), you could enjoy the cherry blossoms that dot Mount Fuji, in autumn (September to November) you could experience the cool breeze and witness the vibrant autumn foliage, and in winter (December to February) you could admire the snow-covered peak of Mount Fuji and enjoy clear views of the majestic mountain.

Here are three attractive activities for viewing Mount Fuji from a distance at Lake Kawaguchi:

Walking: Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine is one of the most popular places to appreciate Mount Fuji from. By taking a leisurely walk to the shrine, you could enjoy the charming scenery while breathing the fresh air along the way. Upon reaching the shrine, you would be amazed by the panoramic views of Mount Fuji and the striking sight of the five red pagodas.

Biking: This is an easy way to enjoy various views of Mount Fuji and is suitable for most people. Lake Kawaguchi offers flat bike courses, allowing you to explore a range of views of Mount Fuji reflected in the lake, while enjoying picturesque countryside scenery and having close contact with nature.

Taking a cable car: A cable car ride is one of the most effortless ways to see charming Mount Fuji. While enjoying views from the cable car, a traditional local fable regarding rabbits and tanuki is often told on the way up. After reaching the top, you could savor the spectacular view of Mount Fuji, discover the rabbit shrine, and visit the tanuki tea house.

Hakone is another frequently mentioned destination for seeing Mount Fuji. However, we do not recommend it as an option compared to Lake Kawaguchi for two reasons:

  • Hakone is a mountainous area with a lot of clouds so visibility is much lower, making it hard to get a chance to see Mount Fuji.
  • On very clear days, mostly from November to February, it is possible to see part of Mount Fuji from Hakone but not the whole view.

How Long to Spend Visiting Mount Fuji

It's ideal to take a day trip to Lake Kawaguchi for viewing Mount Fuji. Tokyo is the best choice as a base for traveling to Lake Kawaguchi. It is about 1½ hours away by car or about 2½ hours away by JR (Japan Rail).

A Day Trip to Mount Fuji

Japanese hot spring with a view of Mount FujiJapanese hot spring with a view of Mount Fuji

Taking a day trip to Mount Fuji is the most popular choice for travelers. You could pick one or two of your favorite ways to appreciate Mount Fuji for a relaxed pace, and also a walk through Oshino Hakkai to see its stunning countryside scenery and traditional thatched houses.

If you have an extra day, you could stay overnight at a traditional Japanese-style ryokan with an onsen.

5 Days in Tokyo Including Mount Fuji

Spending 5 days in Tokyo would allow you to fully explore the highlights of this city and see Mt. Fuji. You could take 3 days to experience the highlights in Tokyo and an additional 2 days to discover popular cities near it, such as Lake Kawaguchi or Hakone.

Here is a handpicked itinerary, for inspiration:

  • Days 1–3: Tokyo (Meiji Shrine, Senso-ji, a ninja experience, sushi-making, and anime)
  • Days 4–5: Lake Kawaguchi (Mount Fuji and a ryokan with onsen)

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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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