Guide to Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan standing 3,776 meters tall. It is also an active volcano that had its last eruption on December 16th, 1707. Many people make the pilgrimage to the top each year, and it is a hot spot for all travelers visiting Japan year round even when you are not able to hike to the top. In my opinion you cant visit Japan without seeing Mount Fuji! It is also very easy to get to from Tokyo as long as you know what trains or buses to take. To help with that, I created this short guide to help you get there. The guide also includes directions to the best locations for viewing  and photographing the mountain.

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Getting to Kawaguchico from Tokyo by Train

  • Take the Chou line from Shinjuku to Otsuki (a JR rail pass will work for this train) I recommend getting a reserved ticket. You can do this by visiting any ticketing office at any of the stations. The office will be labeled with a sign that says “Tickets”. You can show them your JR Rail pass and they will issue you a reserved seat.

  • From Otsuki you will take the Fujikawaguchiko line from Otsuki to Kawaguchico station. There are two trains. An express and regular. The express will cost an additional 400 yen on top of the 1140 yen for the regular line. The express only has two stops where the regular line stops at 10 stations along the way and is a much slower train. 

Finding the two best locations for photos of Mt Fuji

There are many locations to get great photos of Mt Fuji, but two in particular that I find to be the most beautiful and iconic.

The first is from Lake Kawaguchi. On a clear day, you can get a full view of the mountain as well as the beautiful lake. And in the spring you can also get some of the cherry blossoms in your shot as well. Take a look at the map below to see a great spot for a photo.

 

The second, is from the Shimoyoshida Shrine. I think this is one of the most popular locations. When I was there it was packed with other travelers all trying to get their iconic shot of the Mountain. But if you have a keen eye you can still get your own unique capture. There are a few ways to get to this location. From Kawaguchico you can rent a bike and make your way to the shrine entrance. I find this to be the most enjoyable method because you can get a nice look at the town while you make your way there. You can also take the local train and stop at Shimoyoshida station. You will see a torii (gate in Japanese) for the entrance. You will need to climb roughly 300 stairs to get to the observation deck that is right in front of the shrine with the Mountain standing tall in the background. The shrine is located right by the Shimoyoshida station, you can’t miss it.

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For a bonus you can also take a cable car up to another view point. The cable car is located on the east side of lake Kawaguchi (map). I believe it was 800 yen for a round trip up and back down from the cable car view point. They offer single rides because you can also hike from the top to another peak and make your way down by Shimoyoshida Shrine. I did find the view from the cable car to be a bit distant and not quite as amazing as the other two, but if you have time I recommend making the trip.

 

Let me know if you found this guide helpful or if you have any questions. And if you know of any other great view points for the mountain, let me know in the comments. Happy Travels! 

Best overhead view of Shibuya Crossing

You have probably seen or heard of the famous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. If not check out the image below. It is famous for being one of the most busy and crazy street crossing in the world. People can cross the street from every direction. It is a must see when visiting Tokyo!

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The view you see above is the highest, and I think best overhead view you can get of the crossing. It can be difficult to find and you have to know exactly what you are doing or you will be denied access. The view is located on the 25th floor of the Excel Hotel in the Shibuya Market City. You can watch this video I made with a detailed guide to find your way there and all the tips to get to the top without getting denied by the hotel staff. If you prefer to read, the written guide is below the video.

Here are the written directions:
1. Go to the Shibuya station
2. Walk or exit the station from Shibuya Market City
3. Walk to the right until you see the entrance to the Excel Hotel
4. Enter the elevator and go to the 5th floor (you will be stoped if you take the first elevator to the 25th floor without a reservation to the restaurant or hotel room key)
5. Exit on the 5th floor and walk straight to the next set of elevators
6. Get on the elevator with someone who is staying at the hotel (the elevator requires a key card to work)
 7. Take the elevator to the 25th floor
  8. When you exit you will see the best view of Shibuya Crossing

There you have it, your guide to the best view of one of the best and most popular sights in Tokyo. I recommend keeping your camera out of sight until you get to the top. If not you are just asking to stick out and get stopped by the hotel.  

Let me know if you you use this guide and how it works out for you in the comments below. Don’t forget to tag me (@travelmanjames) in your shots so I can see what you are able to capture!