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Day trip from Tokyo to see Mt Fuji in Mid April ( Hakone or Lake Kawaguchiko)

Day trip from Tokyo to see Mt Fuji in Mid April ( Hakone or Lake Kawaguchiko)

Old Mar 3, 19, 12:29 pm
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Day trip from Tokyo to see Mt Fuji in Mid April ( Hakone or Lake Kawaguchiko)

Hi,

I will be spending 10 days in Tokyo from 11th to 21st April ( 5 days at the New Otani and 5 days at hilton tokyo bay-for Disney and cheaper hotel rates) with my mother ( my brother and his partner are coming up from Australia for these days) My mother and I then spend 3 days in Osaka before flying home

They would like to do a day trip from Tokyo to see Mt Fuji so I reckon it wil be easier from New Otani rather than Tokyo bay

I also assume avoiding the weekends will be better and that viewing Mt Fuji is not guaranteed. I was thinking Monday 15th April as the Friday before we will have just arrived from Dublin via HK then for the rest of the week we would be at Tokyo

Using public transport , I was thinking of either Hakone or Lake Kawaguchiko ( then walk around a little bit) before heading back to Tokyo ( assuming the forecast is reasonable)

Are either of these places worthwhile to visit to get views of Mt Fuji or do you recommend any other places easily accessible from Tokyo please? Would a guided tour from Tokyo be more useful?

Many thanks

TBS

Last edited by The _Banking_Scot; Mar 3, 19 at 1:09 pm
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Old Mar 3, 19, 12:53 pm
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Maybe just a bit late for the cherry blossom in Kawaguchiko. Their forecast is not yet published but surrounding areas suggest that because of the much warmer weather of late it will be a few days earlier. But if you keep an eye out for the actual forecast dates you could just be in luck. If you are it will get crowded but the combined views of Fuji and the blossom are spectacular. Kawaguchiko itself is not much of a place to walk around but some short taxi rides will be rewarding..
To get good views of Fuji from the Hakone area you have to move around quite a bit but the loop that takes in the mountain railway to Gora, the ropeway and a boat trip on Lake Ashi will provide some good views. You have to get out of Hakone township which is more walkable than Kawaguchiko
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Old Mar 3, 19, 5:37 pm
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Wow another trip to Jpn/HKG for you?!

Mt.Fuji's visibility will be a crapshoot and I don't really think you can plan a date for your Mt.Fuji trip unless you're prepared to take the chance of not being able to see it.

Although Kawaguchiko has vantage points from which you get that iconic in-your-face view of Mt.Fuji with the lake in the background, I still would recommend Hakone instead. Reason being that Hakone just has so much more besides the view of Mt.Fuji, and plus the view of Mt.Fuji from Hakone's Owakudani is not too shabby either.
Once you get to Yumoto, it takes another 1.5hr or so to get up to Owakudani using the mountain train, cable car and the ropeway. The view from the ropeway is stunning.
Allowing for about 90min at Owakudani and assuming you take in another sight such as the Open Air Museum (highly recommend), all told it'll be ~6hr from the time you get to Yumoto until the time you leave Yumoto to head back to Tokyo. If you're leaving from Shinjuku, it ends up being a 9-10hr day (longer if you add on even more activities such as cafe-hopping, Fujiya Hotel, poirate ship, onsen, etc)... a long day but I've done this many times and it's very manageable.

Winter is the best time of the year to be able to see Mt.Fuji. Summer is the worst. April is sort of so-so. Keep an eye on weather forecast and Mt.Fuji webcam.
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Last edited by evergrn; Mar 3, 19 at 9:01 pm Reason: made a mistake again
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Old Mar 3, 19, 6:18 pm
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If the main thing you want is a view of the mountain, IMO Kawaguchiko has better views.

But Hakone is better in every other respect for the reasons said above.
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Old Mar 3, 19, 9:11 pm
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Originally Posted by angra View Post
If the main thing you want is a view of the mountain, IMO Kawaguchiko has better views.

But Hakone is better in every other respect for the reasons said above.
We were recently in Tokyo during the week of February 4. We had light snow on one day, but the weather forecast showed a sun on Sunday Feb. 10. So, we decided to visit Kawaguchiko by train starting from Shinjuku. Mountain views were exceptional, incliuding great photos from the train. We left Shinjuku at 730am. The JR railpass covered the first segment as far as Otsuki (we had Green car seat reservations) and there we transferred to the private Fuji Kyuko line (we had no tickets, but were waved aboard by the staff, who seemed more interested in us making our connection than whether we had a ticket). We paid upon exiting at the station at Kawaguchiko, where the Suica cards were accepted as payment. On the way back at 1530, we purchased train tickets at the window using a credit card; the machines appeared to only accept cash. We talked to other people who had visited on the prior day (Saturday 2/9) and had no views. About 2 hours travel time each way from Shinjuku. By the time we got to the ropeway (cable car) and waited our turn in line, the sun had moved and lighting at the top was not as good. Our photos from the train window turned out to be the best. We did do some walking around the lake.

Of course, winter days tend to have better visibility than at other times of the year, so nothing is guaranteed.

If we return and have time, we may go to Hakone next time.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by Reindeerflame View Post
We were recently in Tokyo during the week of February 4. We had light snow on one day, but the weather forecast showed a sun on Sunday Feb. 10. So, we decided to visit Kawaguchiko by train starting from Shinjuku. Mountain views were exceptional, incliuding great photos from the train. We left Shinjuku at 730am. The JR railpass covered the first segment as far as Otsuki (we had Green car seat reservations) and there we transferred to the private Fuji Kyuko line (we had no tickets, but were waved aboard by the staff, who seemed more interested in us making our connection than whether we had a ticket). We paid upon exiting at the station at Kawaguchiko, where the Suica cards were accepted as payment. On the way back at 1530, we purchased train tickets at the window using a credit card; the machines appeared to only accept cash. We talked to other people who had visited on the prior day (Saturday 2/9) and had no views. About 2 hours travel time each way from Shinjuku. By the time we got to the ropeway (cable car) and waited our turn in line, the sun had moved and lighting at the top was not as good. Our photos from the train window turned out to be the best. We did do some walking around the lake.
Photos of Mt.Fuji or other mountains from the train? And which train... Chuo line (eg, Azusa/Kaiji) or Fujikyu line (Otsuki-Kawaguchiko)?
It's been a long time since I've ridden Fujikyu, so I can't remember what the views are like from that train. But the best view of mountains from Chuo line would be points west of Kofu... you get some fabulous looks at Southern Alps to the south, Yatsugatake to the north. You do also get views of Mt.Fuji from Chuo line as it travels through Kofu bonchi, although you only see the upper part of the mountain with other hills in the foreground. By far, the most dramatic view of Mt.Fuji from a train that I know is the one from the Tokaido bullet train as it travels through eastern Shizuoka.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 3:52 am
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I still haven’t been to Lake Kawaguchiko, but have been to Hakone several times. Usually in April.
All I will point out is that during the time of the year you want to go, I have found that the visibility changes drastically from hour to hour. So even if you are able to luck out by choosing a clear day, that clear day may not last.
Here are two photos taken on the 16th April 2016.
On the way to Hakone from Shinjuku, the view of Mt Fuji was fantastically clear and very impressive. We also got excellent views on the gondolas going up to Green Plaza Hotel (Ubako stop). Unfortunately, due to where the sun was at that time, I couldn’t take a decent photo from the gondola.
1st photo - 12:00 (noon) By the time we reached somewhere from where we could take a photo Mt Fuji was retreating into the mist.
2nd Photo - 2 or 3pm And there was no sign of Fuji San at all while we bathed (we went to the hotel just to bathe rather than stay a night).

In other words, if you are going to go, go very, very early! It’s not just enough to reach the area in good time, but to reach a viewing spot before it’s too late.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 6:04 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
By far, the most dramatic view of Mt.Fuji from a train that I know is the one from the Tokaido bullet train as it travels through eastern Shizuoka.
View from Minobu line in Shizuoka is also not bad. Train is slower.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 6:56 am
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Hi,

Thanks for all the advice. We will play it by ear once in Japan and choose a reasonable day to go knowing that even them Mt Fuji might well be unseen but the tips by themselves should be interesting ( Even in January I saw Mt Fuji in clear skies from the Bunkyu civc centre by Tokyo dome but by the time I got to the Mori tower it was covered in Clouds ( but this January I had a clear view of Mt Fuji from the Mori tower). This will be my first time outside Tokyo ( always found Tokyo fascinatinf with plenty to do) and then three days in Osaka ( with myabe 1 day for a quick visit to Nara or Kyoto)

Many thanks

TBS
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Old Mar 4, 19, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Photos of Mt.Fuji or other mountains from the train? And which train... Chuo line (eg, Azusa/Kaiji) or Fujikyu line (Otsuki-Kawaguchiko)?
It's been a long time since I've ridden Fujikyu, so I can't remember what the views are like from that train. But the best view of mountains from Chuo line would be points west of Kofu... you get some fabulous looks at Southern Alps to the south, Yatsugatake to the north. You do also get views of Mt.Fuji from Chuo line as it travels through Kofu bonchi, although you only see the upper part of the mountain with other hills in the foreground. By far, the most dramatic view of Mt.Fuji from a train that I know is the one from the Tokaido bullet train as it travels through eastern Shizuoka.
Great views from the Fuji Kiyuko train line upon approach to the Mt. Fuji area. Much closer than the views from the Shinkansen, and easier to take photos as train is slower moving. Japanese Alps were in view from the top of the ropeway in Kawaguchiko, with lighting better as they are toward the west, away from the sun.
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Last edited by Reindeerflame; Mar 5, 19 at 1:11 pm
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Old Mar 4, 19, 2:53 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
This will be my first time outside Tokyo ( always found Tokyo fascinatinf with plenty to do) and then three days in Osaka ( with myabe 1 day for a quick visit to Nara or Kyoto)
If this is your first time outside Tokyo, why would you go to Osaka? It's like a mini-Tokyo, without most of Tokyo's attractions. What are you planning on doing there? Far better to spend the three days in Kyoto. Nara is certainly worthwhile but with only three days, I would just stay in Kyoto.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 2:53 pm
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If you chose the Hakone alternative, go to Odawara and there purchase the Odakyu free pass which will cover all your Hakone transport back to Odawara.

Contrary to evergrn above, I was disappointed by the state of conservation and display of much of the art at the Hakone open air museum. Their sole Monet is badly in need of conservation and is mounted where a glass door swings in front of it. There is not a single real Picasso in the entire large-ish building they have built and labeled "Picasso" in huge letters. Their sole Rodin is a lonely looking Burgher of Calais, who are normally presented as a group.

There was a good Niki de Saint Phalle humanoid and a few other nice pieces in the same general area as that, but overall I felt it was not worth the time and admission price.

No matter, doing the day tour of Hakone with the free pass can easily fill a longish day. Just skip the many schlocky museums aimed at local tourists.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by tt7 View Post
If this is your first time outside Tokyo, why would you go to Osaka? It's like a mini-Tokyo, without most of Tokyo's attractions. What are you planning on doing there? Far better to spend the three days in Kyoto. Nara is certainly worthwhile but with only three days, I would just stay in Kyoto.
Hi,

I have booked a Cathay Pacifc flight DUB-HKG-NRT but coming back I fly from KIX -HKG-DUB as the cheaper fares from TYO were resulting in a overnight stay in Taipei so Osaka is handy for the last few days.

Planning on visiting Osaka Castle , the gardens, shirnes, observation decks and the main sights in Osaka. As I have HH Diamond status I was planning on staying at the Conrad or Hilton in Osaka. If we were coming back next year we would probably spend time in Kyoto.

Regards

TBS
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Old Mar 4, 19, 6:03 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
....coming back I fly from KIX ...... so Osaka is handy for the last few days.
OK but..... everybody who flies in/out of Kyoto internationally flies in/out of KIX (there is no airport in Kyoto). The Limited Express Haruka to/from KIX runs every half hour most of the day. From Kyoto, first stop is Shin-Osaka. It takes about 75 minutes from Kyoto, about 50 minutes from Shin-Osaka. Flying out of KIX is no reason to stay in Osaka ... unless of course youíre really keen on Osaka in and for itself. Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan whereas Osaka....

Osaka Castle is largely a 1930s concrete replica of the original - yes, worth going to if youíre in Osaka but Himeji Castle (could be done as a half-day trip) is far superior. Dotonbori is the main nightlife/restaurant area in Osaka - worth going to, particularly at night when itís all lit up. Whatever you do, enjoy....
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Old Mar 4, 19, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
View from Minobu line in Shizuoka is also not bad. Train is slower.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifnlfbG4tnU
Very nice. In all the times I've hung out in Yamanashi, I've never actually ridden Minobu line.

Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Contrary to evergrn above, I was disappointed by the state of conservation and display of much of the art at the Hakone open air museum. Their sole Monet is badly in need of conservation and is mounted where a glass door swings in front of it. There is not a single real Picasso in the entire large-ish building they have built and labeled "Picasso" in huge letters. Their sole Rodin is a lonely looking Burgher of Calais, who are normally presented as a group.
Ah man. Well, I'm not a museum/art guy, so I defer to your opinion! Reasons Hakone Open air museum is one of the few museums I actually enjoy are the pleasant walks, moving sculptures, art you can walk through, foot onsen, the general atmosphere of the place. I don't really care for paintings and other indoor exhibits, but I did not know that none of the items in the Picasso pavilion were real.

Originally Posted by tt7 View Post
Flying out of KIX is no reason to stay in Osaka ... unless of course you’re really keen on Osaka in and for itself. Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan whereas Osaka....

I can totally understand why TBS wants to stay in Osaka, though, regardless of where Kyoto lies in his priority list. Hotels in Osaka provide better cost performance than those in Kyoto (generally speaking), he wants to take advantage of his Diamond status at Hilton, and Hilton Osaka is convenient for catching Hankyu train that takes you straight to the heart of Kyoto's touristic area (rather than Kyoto Station). I also think that, while Osaka may feel similar to Tokyo to a first-time Jpn visitor, TBS has been to Jpn multiple times now so he may actually end up appreciating Osaka's distinct vibe.
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