Day Trip From Tokyo Review: Mount Fuji Lake Kawaguchi Bus Tour

On my trip to Japan, I just knew I wanted to do something around Mount Fuji, but wasn’t quite sure what. I had initially planned to catch the Mt. Fuji Panorama Ropeway, but in the end, I booked the Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Scenic Bus Tour via GetYourGuide which promised to show me some lovely little nooks of the area all set against the stunning backdrop of the mountain itself.

If you’re looking for an efficient and fun way to see some of Japan’s top scenic spots in a day, you can just read on for what this tour is like.

Day Trip From Tokyo

In one day, I saw the stunning Mt. Fuji from various angles, relaxed in scenic parks, and explored a traditional village – all without worrying about transportation between sites. Which was essential for my time in Japan. With an informative guide and a comfortable bus, I’d highly recommend this hassle-free day trip to experience the Lake Kawaguchi area’s highlights when you’re short on time. 

I arrived at the pick-up point right before 8 am and quickly found my tour bus as there were several leaving around the right time. Once the last passengers sat down, it was off to the first stop.

It was a comfortable 2-hour ride to our first stop at Arakurayama Sengen Park. On the way, the tour guide shared information about the area, about the day ahead, and the sights. He also said that during this tour the view of Fujisan was not guaranteed, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind. Though the places you visit are all worth it on their own as well. 

Our guide said we had picked a good day and I swear people kept looking around anticipating to spot it and everyone literally gasped once we saw the peak the first time (something I’ve never seen before!).

Stop 1: Arakurayama Sengen Park

After arriving at Arakurayama Park, you get the choice to walk up the 398 stone steps by yourself or take a winding concrete path with the guide. I chose to take the stairs up to the top of the hill rather than the winding path. The views of Mt. Fuji slowly revealed themselves during the walk up and were absolutely breathtaking from the top with the famous pagoda. Even if you’ve never heard of  Arakurayama Sengen Park, you’ll know because 5/10 of Google image results of Japan are taken from here.

I spent half an hour snapping photos from the best vantage points and imagining how gorgeous it must be during cherry blossom season and autumn. But right before I knew it, it was time to go down and this time I took the winding path to the village to reboard the bus. 

I actually recommend doing the walk the other way round so you don’t tire your legs out too much, so go with the guide up the less steep winding path and then walk down the stairs to see the other temples. 

Stop 2: Oishi Park

Next was a short bus transfer to Oishi Park. The park’s blooming seasonal blue emerald flowers and gorgeous landscaping provided another perfect backdrop. I made sure to walk around the park, follow the flower path and wait for the clouds to move to see Fuji-san. I also got a commemorative stamp from the stationary souvenir shop. Definitely don’t miss this, as the stamp is adorable!

Stop 3: Iyashi no Sato Village

Our last stop was the quaint Iyashi no Sato, an open-air wooden museum showcasing a range of traditional Japanese culture and architecture. The original village was destroyed in a 1966 typhoon, but 40 years later, over 20 thatched-roof farmhouses were reconstructed to form the museum. The houses are dedicated to different traditions like pottery, incense-making, and weaving. Visitors can watch demonstrations, try workshops or just snoop around the houses. One hour was too short to do these things, but just walking around and going inside the house was enough for me. It was like walking into old world Japan and a nice contrast to the bustling city and was probably my favourite stop of the day…and maybe my trip!

The Return to Tokyo

After that, it was time to board the bus again for the return to Tokyo. It took a bit longer than expected because of heavy traffic due to everyone returning from their weekend trips back to the city. If you’re doing the tour on a Sunday, I don’t recommend booking an evening activity because you don’t know when you’re going to be back.

Overall, I’d highly recommend this excursion, it’s perfect for a day-trip from Tokyo and lets you take in a wide variety of Japanese sites, plus of course, seeing Mount Fuji in all its glory (weather permitting).

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