Mt. Fuji continues to be at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. However, given its remote location from the city (more than 100 kilometers), reaching it by public transport can be difficult. The best thing to do would be to rent a car, especially if you’re going as a group since it would be more economical. In this article, we recommend five things you should do to have a perfect one-day road trip to Mt. Fuji and its surrounding areas from Tokyo!
There are several options for renting a car in Tokyo, the famous one being NIPPON Rent-A-Car which has many 24-hour locations. However, it also proves to be the costliest. 100 Yen Rent a Car (Japanese only) is the cheapest rental car provider, but you need Japanese speaking and reading abilities to be able to use their services.
For tourists with no Japanese ability, TOYOTA Rent a Car is highly recommended as their prices are competitive and they have a considerable number of outlets. You can also explore other options like NISSAN Rent a Car and ORIX Rent-A-Car.
Once you choose a provider, rent a car (sedan or compact as the road to Mt. Fuji is an easy one) for 12 hours. This should be enough time for a road trip to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo and back if you follow this itinerary.
The cars rented out are pretty new so it should not be difficult to drive them. Remember to set your exact destination on the GPS and double-check it with Google Maps, too, as the navigation systems are partially in Japanese even if it is described as an “English-speaking navigation system.”
Another important thing to consider is the selection of routes. Search all the possible routes and go for the optimum one – the shortest with the least toll. Avoid toll roads and expressways as the travel time on normal roads and toll roads are not much different. You can do this in the car’s navigation system.
Note, however, that most car rentals do not provide an ETC (electronic toll collection) card and you will have to rent it as well. Tolls can go as high as 5,000 yen and as low as 0 yen for Tokyo to Mt. Fuji, so choose wisely!
It takes about two hours to reach Lake Kawaguchi from Tokyo via the normal toll-free road, and Mt. Fuji will be visible on the way. There is a free parking space at the entrance of the lake.
Lake Kawaguchi is beautiful, with deep blue water surrounded by lush green mountains. It would make anyone fall in love with its charisma.
You can get a full view of Mt. Fuji from a hill near the lake. There is a ropeway to climb the hill and it takes about five minutes to reach the top. The view of Mt. Fuji from here is majestic and one can have a complete panoramic view.
It is suggested to walk downhill instead of using the ropeway as the view of Lake Kawaguchi is admirable as you go down. And since it is not a very steep hill, the walk downhill can be refreshing, too. Just at the point where you reach the road, there is a souvenir shop selling various items with a picture of Mt. Fuji on them.
About five kilometers from Lake Kawaguchi is the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park. It is famous for its large and fast roller coasters, some of which are world record holders. To see Mt. Fuji from the roller coaster rides at Fuji-Q would be a unique experience. This is a must-visit for travelers who would like a little bit of adrenaline rush.
Lake Yamanaka is situated about 12 kilometers from Fuji-Q Highland and is the largest among the Fuji Five Lakes. It also offers a closer view of Mt. Fuji compared to Lake Kawaguchi.
There are options for water sports here. Boating in this lake is also recommended compared to Lake Kawaguchi for the fact that it is larger.
After an adventurous day trip to and around Mt. Fuji, you can take the shortest normal road back to Tokyo without paying any toll and enjoy the night drive. Return your car to the store, and you would be delighted to have done this wonderful time-saving and economical trip to the majestic mountains of Fuji in just a day.