Fujikawaguchiko! This was by far the coolest experience that I had in Japan. It was quiet, peaceful, beautiful, and more descriptive adjectives that I can’t list. It was amazing. Even though I was only in Japan for a day before I came here, it was nice to escape the hustle and bustle of Japan. By the time I was in Osaka, I already wanted to go back to Fujikawaguchiko.
After living in good ol’ Kansas City, it’s rare to see something that can match up to the presence of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji encapsulates everything that represents Japan. Beauty, resiliance, strength, and something that should never be underestimated.
Even though it was the peak time for cherry blossoms to start blooming, a symbol for spring’s arrival in Japan. It decided to snow in Fujikawaguchiko the day that I decided to go. I didn’t prepare for that type of weather and immediately regretted the lack of warm clothes I brought. *brrrr*
Tokyo → Fujikawaguchiko:
I took a highway bus from Shinjuku Station to Mt. Fuji/Kawaguchiko . I reserved a seat the night before, however, I accidentally booked it to Shibuya Station, instead of Shinjuku Station. Fortunately, they do let you buy tickets at the last minute but it’s based on if there are seats available. It’s about a 2 hour bus ride to Fujikawaguchiko with no stops. It’s really comfortable and has a charging outlet, so you can charge your devices while trying to get there. Make sure to buy snacks at the convenient store before getting on the bus!
On the bus, they take you through a few stops before arriving to Kawaguchiko Station (pictured above), unless you made reservations at those hotels (Fuji-Q Highland or other places), just wait until you arrive at the station above, it’s the last one anyways.
This station is filled with tourists, both Japanese and foreign alike. I even found some classmates from Chung Hwa (the high school I went to in Malaysia) at Kawaguchiko Station. This was when I realized that the world has become so much smaller.
I would buy a one day pass from there to get around the area. If you are staying in not a very tourist filled area like me, I would visit the Visitor/Tourist Office on the far left side of the station (facing the station). There they have a employees that are able to help you get to where you want to be with maps, timetables, and more in English.
I can’t remember what bus number, but many of them kind of go in a circle around the area to drop tourists off to certain areas. Most of the time I just jumped on any of the busses without knowing where they were going. Which ended up working out cause I found some of the coolest spots and areas this way.
Views of Mount Fuji:
After going in the opposite direction from the capsule, I got off at an area that had a beautiful view of Lake Kawaguchiko and a hidden Mount Fuji. At this area, they had plenty of little huts that had the swan pedal boats. Initially, I thought about riding one of those and taking it out, but I thought that would have looked really pathetic to do it alone when it’s meant for couples. However, I found a ferry boat that would take you out to see a view of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji had other plans, it was hiding and didn’t decide to come out until the evening. I did manage to get a good picture out of it, so shout out to the random girl who knows how to take A-grade candids.
The ride lasted about 20-30 minutes and it was freezing cold due to the already winter-like weather and the lake’s breeze. But the view made it all worth it. After doing some dining and shopping, I went to an onsen. *cue soothing voices*
For those who don’t know what an onsen is, it’s a hot spring, but no swimsuits or clothes are allowed to be worn. For those who are timid about being fully naked in front of others, it’s fine, because literally everyone is naked. They completely separate the males and females and it’s for all ages, young or old. So it’s really only awkward at first, but you get used to it after a while.
I took a bus to a Yamanakoka Onsen Benifujinoyu (click here to read more about it). It’s farther out of the Kawaguchiko area, since it’s headed towards Gotemba Mall. From the directions that I received, it’s in between Hana-no Miyako Park and Mt. Fuji Yamanakako. It’s really vague and kind of a guessing game, but it was definitely worth the trip.
The Benifujinoyu Onsen is very famous since this is the one of the few public onsens with a view of Mount Fuji. Many of the other onsens with this type of view usually requires you to stay in the hotel or are very pricey. Since this was meant for mostly locals, it’s very affordable. From personal experience (and since no phones were allowed in), it is breathtakingly beautiful and definitley worth the hassle of trying to find it.
Inside, there was an indoor onsen with three baths at three different temperatures that are very warm, about 36 degrees Celsius and up. If you go outside there’s an onsen that has the most beautiful view of Mount Fuji.
If you plan on going to an onsen, click here to look up the basic rules and things needed to bring to an onsen.
Food is a little harder to find around the area that I was in since many of these places do require walking around or taking taxis. The busses in Kawaguchiko does stop working around 8 PM or 9 PM, so you will have to take a taxi to get to certain places after that.
For lunch, I ate at Fuji Tempura Idaten which was less than a 5 minute walk from Kawaguchiko Station. They make fresh tempura and serve it with rice and miso. It was pretty good and very filling.
Outside of my capsule, they have a little food truck that serves very basic Japanese snacks/street foods. They had okonomoyaki, takoyaki, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, etc.
For dinner, since no busses were running, all the restaurants were far out, and I was starving. I decided to go eat at Mt. Fuji Base, it was okay. Not great, but not awful either. I should have just ate at the Benifujinoyu onsen since they had a cafeteria, but I was too afraid of having to take a taxi all the way back and having to pay for it.
Anyways, it’s really basic food that’s designed for tourists. They had some strange renditions of American food like chili dogs and other things. But they do serve typical Japanese foods like gyoza (dumplings), yaki soba, zaru soba, miso, curry rice, etc. So, if I were you, just spend some time finding a restaurant and just take a taxi.
I stayed at FBC Fuji Backpackers Capsules Inn. It’s a dirt cheap capsule, I think I paid around $16 USD for one night. It’s very basic, they have a community area with couches, vending machines, and a computer. They also have lockers for your luggage, however make sure to take everything out before closing it. It will eat your money every time.
The capsules are separated between males and females. The showers are individual rooms, as well as the toilets. They also have washing and drying machines for your clothes in the hallway. If you don’t have any shampoo or soap, the front desk sells them as well as robes.
The nice thing is that you can essentially come back as late as you want since there’s always someone sitting at the front desk and the door isn’t locked. Don’t be scared about that though because Japan is literally so safe and that area is so isolated from the main tourists areas that nothing ever happens. Forewarning though, make sure to check the check-in and check-out time because they do require everybody to leave for cleaning and arrive after the check-in time.
Overall, the next time I go back to Fujikawaguchiko, I will 100% stay there again. It’s ridiculously cheap and it fills my basic necessities of cleanliness, showers, and ease of access. You will never find a place this cheap in Japan.
Fun fact, there’s a batting cage right next door. Japanese love baseball, dare I say, more than Americans? I believe so.