From Washington Hotel, you can catch an express bus to Kawaguchiko from Akihabara bus station in-front of Yodobashi, a minute walk away. Likewise, it takes less time to walk from JR Central Gate exit. The express bus leaves in the morning with a return trip arriving in the evening. This saves you the hassle of having to take a bus from Shinjuku, an added convenience staying at Akihabara. This service provided by japanbusonline can be booked here. The bus arrives 10-15 minutes early to check your tickets, load your luggage and leaves on the dot at departure time.
The bus journey takes less than 2 hours with a stop to drop-off passengers at Fuji-Q Highland before arriving at Kawaguchiko station that caters for buses as well as trains. The bus is clean, comfortable and has a toilet. The fare of ¥1,800 one way, is ¥50 more than the bus fare if you had taken a bus from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko.
Once reached Kawaguchiko, we stored our backpack in the coin locker located besides the station’s toilet. More lockers are available at shops across the street. We will be staying for a night here but before checking-in to our hotel at 3:00 pm, we will visit Oshino Hakkai, a small village of picturesque setting with ponds and views of Mt. Fuji. We boarded a local bus at bus stand #6 and the journey took about ½ hour.
The bus we boarded was a mini bus. Ticket payment can be made by cash or pre-paid (Icoca) card. If using a pre-paid card, you’ll need to tab the card at the card reader as you enter the bus from the back. Then tap again as you exit the bus at the front. Cash payment is made to the bus driver. If I recalled correctly, the fare is ¥550 one-way.
Please be reminded that Oshino Hakkai is a working village. Vehicle will use the same street you walk on but they will not honk you if you are blocking their way. Be considerate and look around when you walk to give way to the vehicles. This is their village they live in and we should respect them and refrain from making noise, load jokes or throwing rubbish. This village is a World Heritage site. There is no entrance fee and one can visit anytime of the day or night. Unfortunately at the time of our visit, the weather was cloudy and Mt Fuji was shrouded with clouds through out the morning.
The ponds at Oshino Hakkai are fed by waters from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji flowing down the mountain. The clear water of the ponds have plenty of fishes and freshwater plants growing in it. ‘Hakkai’ when translated means ‘eight seas’ referring to the eight ponds around the village. The ponds are the attraction of the village. Pathways will lead you to the ponds and bridges over it.
What Oshino Hakkai looks like with Mount Fuji in the background on a perfect day. It is pictures like this that inspired us to travel all the way to visit the actual site.