Tokyo One-Day Bus Tour: Mt. Fuji Views, Gotemba Shopping, and a Hakone Pirate Ship Cruise From Shinjuku!

Besides climbing, a popular way to enjoy Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji is by viewing it from nearby sightseeing hotspots. For this edition of our “Area of Japan” series, we set out on a one-day bus tour departing from Shinjuku, Tokyo, to see Mt. Fuji from as many angles as possible at destinations like Oshino Hakkai, Gotemba, Hakone Owakudani, and Lake Ashi. This tour is ideal for those who want to experience Mt. Fuji up close without having to arrange their own transportation or embark on tiresome hikes. Read on to learn about what you’ll see, eat, and how to book this Tokyo one-day Mt. Fuji tour!

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy through them, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

An Early Start at Shinjuku, Tokyo

After researching the best tour of the Mt. Fuji area, we settled on the Mt. Fuji & Hakone One Day Trip from Tokyo, which we booked through Klook Travel. It departed from Shinjuku at 7:30 am from Shinjuku Center Building, a 10-minute walk from the West Exit of JR Shinjuku Station. Many other tours also start here, so be sure to show your ticket to a tour guide before hopping on a bus (or you may end up in the middle of nowhere!)

The tour was run by an English-speaking Japanese guide, who told us what time to return to the bus at each stop, and even taught us simple Japanese phrases to use while traveling. He also played English and Chinese audio introductions at each attraction, priming us with the info we needed to fully enjoy the Mt. Fuji surroundings.

After about an hour of driving, Mt. Fuji finally came into view from the highway. Snow-capped and under a clear blue sky, we gasped at the magnificent view, whipping out our phones and cameras to snap as many shots as time would allow.

Spot #1: Oshino Hakkai

Arrival Time: 9:20 am
Sightseeing Time: Around 1 Hour

Originally, we were supposed to hike to Fuji 5th Station, but heavy snowfall the previous day blocked the roads and made the ascent impossible. Instead, we were taken to Oshino Hakkai for panoramic views from the base of the mountain.

Oshino Hakkai is the collective name for eight spring-fed ponds formed from decades of meltwater flowing through Mt. Fuji’s volcanic rock. It is a part of the Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site, and is also considered one of the 100 Best Waters of Japan, famed for its dreamlike scenes of carp swimming in crystal-clear waters. Each pond has its own unique shape and hue, making it worth exploring the area to find all eight while praying to the dragon gods enshrined at each. Adorned by Mt. Fuji in the background, photo opportunities are limitless.

Oshino Hakkai is also packed with shops selling products from Yamanashi Prefecture. You can snap up cookies, soaps, and other souvenirs shaped like Mt. Fuji, as well as local specialties like “hoto” noodle hotpot and Shingen mochi rice cakes. We bought freshly-baked “kusamochi” rice cakes and ate them on the spot, relishing the sticky, warm mugwort dough filled with mild azuki red bean paste. The cool autumn breeze and crystal-clear Mt. Fuji panoramas had us pinching ourselves to see if this was actually real life.

Intermission: Bento Boxes on the Bus

Upon returning to the bus, we were greeted by bento boxes and Fuji mineral water placed on our seats. These classic Japanese-style lunches featured an assortment of cold dishes, including rice, which remained springy and tasty despite not being warm, along with fried shrimp, grilled salmon, “tamagoyaki” rolled omelet, and fried chicken. Taking a closer look, we noticed that the bento itself was also shaped like Mt. Fuji!

However, since it was still early, we postponed our lunch until our next destination. The bento stayed well and truly fresh even as late as 1:00 pm, so don’t feel you have to rush to eat it.

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Spot #2: Gotemba Premium Outlets

Arrival Time: 10:50 am
Sightseeing Time: Around 2 Hours

About 30 minutes after leaving Oshino Hakkai, we arrived at Gotemba Premium Outlets, one of Japan's largest outlet shopping malls. It contains over 160 stores, including affordable Japanese and foreign brands, luxury brands, household goods, and restaurants. Divided into three blocks (East Zone, West Zone, and Hillside), the site is huge, and since you’ll only have two hours, we recommend looking up a map online and planning your route beforehand.

We were dropped off on the 3rd floor of Hillside, which was also where we’d meet up two hours later. Inside, there were discounts galore, with many items reduced by around 20-30%, making it worth the trip if you’re after something expensive. Women’s fashion is in particularly high demand, although I was personally after products from the aroma brand SABON, which I found soon after entering.

While stock tends to be out-of-season or even slightly damaged, everything is still perfectly usable and stylish, and the discounts are irresistible!

Gotemba Premium Outlets also boasts incredible scenes of Mt. Fuji. When walking between the East Zone and West Zone, you’ll cross either the Bridge of Hope or Bridge of Dreams, both of which promise perfect pictures of the mountain. On the way back, I also grabbed a butter and sugar crepe from Gelato Pique Cafe under the Bridge of Hope, whose lavish creaminess and subtle sweetness went down a treat, gearing me up for the next destination!

Spot #3: Taking the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani

Arrival Time: 1:40 pm
Sightseeing Time: Around 1 Hour

The third stop on the tour was Hakone, a hot spring resort town in Kanagawa Prefecture. We took the ropeway from Togendai Station on the shore of Lake Ashi to Owakudani, an otherworldly valley formed by a volcanic eruption about 3,000 years ago. Smoke spewed out of sulfur vents marking the ground, giving off a distinctive smell and forming surreal scenery, made even grander by Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Owakudani is also famous for its unique black eggs, which are boiled in local hot springs. The shells turn black from the sulfur and iron in the water, but the eggs inside remain white, and are very tasty with a pinch of salt. It’s said that eating one of these eggs will extend your life by seven years, so be sure to save room!

Spot #4: The Hakone Pirate Ship

Arrival Time: 2:20 pm

After Owakudani, we took the bus back down to Togendai Station for our next adventure: a scenic pirate ship cruise on the tranquil Lake Ashi. Three pirate ships run on the lakeーthe Royal II, Victory, and Queen Ashinokoーeach with its own distinctive colors and design. We boarded the Queen Ashinoko, which flaunted lavish cabins decorated with traditional Japanese “kumiko” wooden latticework blended into a European design.

Since the indoor seats were full, we took to the top deck to enjoy the Lake Ashi scenery. We could see the iconic red torii gate of Hakone Shrine standing in the lake, as well as the two other pirate ships floating on the waters. During autumn in Japan, the sun starts setting as early as 3:00 pm, granting us a stunning display of the evening sky in the mid afternoon. When we arrived at Moto-Hakone Port, the faint sunset, decorative pirate ships, and magnificent Mt. Fuji truly drove home just how beautiful this slice of Japan truly is.

After the Hakone pirate ship sailed away, all that was left was for us to get on the bus and return to Shinjuku. Being able to visit such a diverse range of spots around Mt. Fuji without the trouble of renting a car, planning itineraries, or checking train and bus timetables was a blessing. Although we didn’t spend much time at each location, we felt that this tour has more than enough to satisfy tourists who want to see as many sights around Mt. Fuji as possible on a day trip from Tokyo.

How to Book Mt. Fuji Day Trip Tours

Booking this Mt. Fuji day trip tour is simple! Just visit the Klook Travel website, enter the dates you want to attend along with a phone number and other basic information, and then pay online with a credit card. If you’re worried about motion sickness and want to sit at the front of the bus, or have any other needs, just make a note of it when booking and the company will try their best to accommodate you.

Things to Keep In Mind Before Booking the Tour

- Tour contents change depending on the season.
- Be sure to pay attention to the latest information on the website, as inclement weather may result in schedule changes.
- Arrival times may also change on weekends and holidays when roads are congested.

Chubu Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

tsunagu Japan Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and we'll show you the best Japan has to offer!

Subscribe Now!
Get your Japan discounts here!

About the author

Ying Lu
From Taiwan, but now living in Tokyo. Deep into various subcultures, including all things 2D and live gigs. Often frequents Ikebukuro.
  • Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Restaurant Search

Sign up to our free newsletter to discover the best Japan has to offer.