Kawaguchiko is one of the great five Fuji lakes that offer a great view of Mt Fuji (when the weather is right) and also have great hot springs. I was there and stayed at a great hotel (Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen, Hotel Konansou) and will share more photos of that hot spring hotel. But for now, let’s get you from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko.
You can book buses online at this web site. It was an easy way and you can pay online with your credit card and get an online confirmation to your email address. You should then print out that bus confirmation email (I suggest two copies each of the confirmation email. So two for the trip from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko and two for the trip back. Reason is the bus driver will keep the email and hence it is better to have another copy as a backup).
On the day itself, get yourself to the relatively new Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal at Shinjuku station. You can get there via South Exit or New South Gate exit of the Shinjuku station.
If you exit Shinjuku Station via South Exit, you can see the terminal at the opposite side of the road easily once you exit the station (you cannot miss it…).
I am not too sure about New South Gate but I think if you exit from there, you are at the Bus Terminal building itself. So you just need to go up to the bus terminal on the 4th floor.
You can see that on this photo:
If you exit the South Exit and cross the road to the building, you can then go to this escalator on the right hand side of the building to bring you up to the terminal.
From the next floor, follow the signs:
The map of the bus terminal (on a fourth floor of a building !! I still find it so amazing)
You will also noticed a lot of lockers.. might be useful for you ?
Use the many signboard displays to find your bus bay:
For example, my bus is at bus bay B5:
Nice waiting area and the toilets are SO SO CLEAN !!
I noticed these ticket machines that sell the bus tickets to different places… include the airport too
And at the exact time, the bus arrived at the bus bay:
The route to Kawaguchiko which will take you to the Fujikyu Highland and Mt Fuji station before reaching Kawaguchiko.
And there are women’s reserved seats (you can reserve those during your online booking). For ladies only ! 🙂
The ride is nice and un-eventful. Good for a sleep…… but don’t miss the view of Mt Fuji as you get closer to the destination.
And along the way, if the weather is good, you can say hi to Mt Fuji !
And hello, the station of Kawaguchiko. Hello !!
From here, you can buy tickets to the Kawaguchiko Retro Bus/Omni Bus loop (which will usually take you to your hotel). More details here. While there are quite a few bus loops, for me, I only use the RED loop as I have only one day there. I took the RED loop to my hotel (the Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen, Hotel Konansou). I bought a combined discount package of tickets for the unlimited bus rides, a trip up to the Kawaguchiko Ropeway which is a cable car taking you up to the Mt Kachi Kachi Ropeway for a great view of Mt Fuji and finally a boat ride in the Lake Kawaguchiko (for again, views of Mt Fuji. Useful if your hotel room does not offer you a view of Mt Fuji).
By the way this is very important. Any children below 5 DOES NOT NEED any tickets !! Dun forget.. Don’t waste money buying tickets (in fact in Japan, always check.. many places don’t charge anything for children below 5.. including the trains !) 🙂
The red loop bus is at bus stop 1 (just outside the station main door):
And when it is time to go back to Shijuku, you can take the bus at the bus stop here (just outside the Kawaguchiko station.. to the left side if your back is towards the Kawaguchiko station).
One advice. You can get a great view of Mt Fuji just behind this station. Walk out of the station. Keep left (towards bus stop 3 where you take a bus to Shinjuku) and walk a little more to the left (where the lockers are). You can then see Mt Fuji !!
Lake Kawaguchiko is very nice and is especially nice during the autumn period. Some photos to share: