If you find yourself in Tokyo with a spare day, why not head to see Mount Fuji close by driving around the Fuji Five Lakes area. We managed to catch a bus from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchi and then hired a car for the day so we could visit the Five Lakes that are situated around Fuji.
Although you can get the train to visit the Fuji Five Lakes area, we found that the quickest option was to get the bus from Shinjuku Station as we were staying in Shinjuku anyway and it is quicker by bus than by train for some reason.
We booked our bus tickets in advance from the Highway Bus website and went for the 6:00 bus at that arrives in Kawaguchiko Station at around 8:00 giving us plenty of time to have breakfast and pick up the rental car.
Our rental car was booked through the Nippon Rent-a-car website at a cost of ¥5,500 for 9 hours. We also asked for an English speaking sat nav which we thought we had got but later found out that it only spoke in Japanese and Chinese but the roads and signage is that good in the area that this was never a problem, just added to the fun of the day.
Heading out of Kawaguchiko, we first stopped at Lake Kawaguchi for our first close up look of Mount Fuji, it was a little bit hazy that day, but it was still a wonderful view. There is also quite a lot of other things to see here like the Kawawguchiko Music Forest and a few museums plus if you have more than one day, you can head to Fuji-Q Highland, a theme park with rollercoasters and other cool attractions.
From there, we drove to Saiko Lake, this a good place to do some hiking or take a trip on the lake by boat. There are also a few caves to explore, the biggest being The Bat Cave which has many passageways and chambers and is close to Aokigahara Forest.
When we left Saiko Lake, it was just a short drive to Lake Shojiko. This is the smallest lake in the area and is not too developed which makes it a lovely place to relax with great views of Mount Fuji.
The last lake we had time for visiting was Lake Motosuko, this lake is famous for being on the 100 Yen bank note. It is quite hard to reach by public transport so it was good that we had hired a car for the day and is good for fishing or hiking if you have time.
That was about as much time that we had so we headed back to Kawaguchiko, we missed the other lake, Lake Yamanakako so if you are planning to come here, although it can be done in one day, you might want to stay overnight to see more of the area.
I hope this gives you some idea of what is possible in a day trip from Tokyo next time you are visiting Japan. Thanks for reading.
For more in depth information about the Fuji Five Lakes I recommend Japan Guide for the best travel advice.