Mt. Fuji is perhaps the most well-known symbol of Japan. At 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft.) Fuji’s summit is the nation’s highest. I had gotten a glimpse of the mountain from the fitness center on the 46th floor of the Ritz Carlton Tokyo. But as on my other trips to Japan, a good view eluded me. To get a close up view of this iconic mountain, in April 2019 I booked a tour and hoped for good weather.
Other posts about this trip:
United Airlines Polaris Lounge, Chicago, Il – Lounge Review
Flight Review – ANA First Class 777-300ER, Chicago, IL to Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Tokyo Hotel Review – The b Akasaka-Mitsuke Hotel
Hotel Review – The Ritz Carlton Tokyo
Photo Review – My First Experience With Sakura Season
Shinjuku Walking Tour
Mt. Fuji Tour Review
Japan Airlines Domestic Diamond Premier Lounge Tokyo Haneda
Flight Review – Japan Airlines 777-300 Economy Class, Tokyo, Japan (HND) to Naha (Okinawa), Japan (OKA)
Hacksaw Ridge World War II Site Visit
Japanese World War II Underground Naval Headquarters Tour
Flight Review – Japan Airlines 777-300 Economy Class, Naha to Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Hotel Review – Park Royal Hotel, Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Lounge Review – ANA First Class Lounge Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Flight Review – ANA First Class 777-300 Tokyo, Japan (HND) to Chicago, IL (ORD)
Mt. Fuji Tour
I booked this tour through Viatour. It was a full-day tour that included pick up from my hotel and transportation to the Shinjuku District where tourists were shuffled onto the actual buses for their tours.
Mt. Fuji’s volcanic cone rises majestically from terrain near the Pacific coast about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo. It last erupted in 1707-1708. It took almost two hours to drive there from central Tokyo via the Tokyo Metropolitan and Chuo Expressways.
The first good view of Fuji-san was from Lake Kawaguchi-ko. Weather was perfect.
Tourists can also stock up on snacks and souvenirs in the shops and take advantage of the restrooms.
Oshino Ninja Village
After 20 minutes at Lake Kawaguchi-ko, the tour headed to Oshino Ninja Village for lunch and ninja entertainment.
Outside there are gardens and several ninja skills challenges.
After lunch the tour drove to Oshino Hakkai. This village is famous for Mt. Fuji views and eight spring-fed pools of crystal clear water.
We had 30 minutes to wander the streets of this village. There are many shops selling all kinds of souvenirs, snacks, and artwork. Side streets are less crowded. Pay attention to your route because it can be easy to lose your bearings in the maze of small streets.
I purchased a bottle of Mt. Fuji water from the Waku pool. A government ministry declared this spring water to be some of the nation’s best. It takes 80 years for melting snow on Mt. Fuji to filter through the ground and lava rock, enter the Mt. Fuji aquifer, and ultimately appear in a pond at Oshino Hakkai.
Mt. Fuji Fourth Station
Ironically, the least enjoyable part of the Mt. Fuji tour was being on the mountain. There are about 10 stations on one of the hiking trails to the summit. The tour was scheduled to stop at the Fifth Station at 2,300 meters. Most hikers begin their climbs at the Fifth Station after arriving on buses. There are many restaurants and shops. Our tour stopped at the Fourth Station at 2,000 meters because the Fifth Station was closed due to snow conditions.
The Fourth Station has some food and a small gift shop. Other than that its just a big parking lot. There wasn’t much to do during the 30 minutes we had there.
Mt. Fuji Chubo
Our last stop was Fuji Airways 4D simulator at an amusement Park at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The simulator made it seem like you were sitting on the wing of a plane soaring through the skies around Mt. Fuji. No cameras, purses, backpacks or other items are permitted on the ride so no pictures.
This is a great tour for seeing Mt. Fuji up close and in good weather. Those interested in an in-depth understanding of the role Mt. Fuji has played in Japanese art, history, and culture would be better served taking a different tour.