Highway Buses in Japan are a cheaper alternative to taking trains and if the travelling time to get to your destination is almost similar for both rail and bus, I will choose the latter as you can save quite a fair bit of money.
In this instance, the highway bus ticket from Shinjuku to Fuji-Q Highland or Lake Kawaguchi costs ¥1750 as at the date of this post, but taking the train will cost between ¥2080 to ¥4650 depending on which trains you are taking (i.e. fast/slow, reserved/non-reserved seating) and the number of times you’ll need to change trains. Do note that the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these highway buses and you’ll need to buy a separate ticket. If you have already purchased a Japan Rail Pass, then it’s a no-brainer to take the JR trains to maximise your pass.
Both the Fujikyu and Keio Buses operate one to two direct buses per hour from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station (Keio Highway Bus Terminal) to Kawaguchiko Station in the Fuji Five Lakes region. The one-way journey takes close to two hours and most buses will stop at Fuji-Q Highland before arriving at Kawaguchiko Station.
Reservations are required for the Highway Buses and this can be done on-site at the bus terminal, by phone or online.
Inquiry and Reservation
Fujikyu Highway Bus Reservation Center: 0555-73-8181
Keio Highway Bus Reservation Center: 03-5376-2222
For online reservations, click here (in Japanese only).
If you need help to search for the route「新宿~富士五湖線」, click here where I have already entered the search criteria to board from the bus terminal in Shinjuku.
Locating the Keio Highway Bus Terminal「新宿高速バスターミナル」- it is opposite Yodobashi Camera on this map.
This is how the street looks by day…
…and by night:
Try and collect your tickets at least one day before your date of departure, so that you don’t have to rush on the actual day (in case there is a long queue) and also to familiarise yourself with how to get there. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get lost navigating the streets to locate the bus terminal on your departure day and miss the bus!
Collection of bus tickets for departures on the next day and beyond can be done at the 2nd floor of the bus terminal building. Look for this door:
When you get to the ticket office, please take a number and wait for your turn.
On the day of your departure, look out for the correct bus bay for your destination. The bus departure times and their destinations will be displayed on the digital signboards.
Lastly, to ensure that you have boarded the correct bus, the destination will also be displayed on the TV screen located at the front of the bus.
For those planning to visit Fuji-Q Highland, you will alight at the Highland Bus Station「富士急ハイランド」. This is located on the left of the parking area at the Highland Resort Hotel & Spa, which is near one of Fuji-Q Highland’s entrances.
Those who want to explore the Lake Kawaguchi area should alight at Kawaguchiko Station「河口湖駅」.
If the weather is clear, you should be able to see Mount Fuji behind the train station building. Unfortunately if it is a rainy day, the mountain will be totally hidden in the clouds. The picture above was taken in the early afternoon and on a somewhat rainy day. Usually the clouds will start to descend from mid-morning onwards, so the best time to take good pictures of Mount Fuji without much cloud cover would be in the early morning.