Mount Fuji (known as Fuji-san) makes one of Japan’s classic and most famous images. It can however be notoriously difficult to view as clouds and mists often obscure it (see the film Cherry Blossoms for an example).
Winter can be a good time to view it as the air tends to be clearer. I went at the end of December. Your best bet for seeing it is to go on a clear, dry day. There are webcams positioned at various places looking towards Mount Fuji. They can give you a good indication in advance of what the view will look like.
To get to Kawaguchiko station (near Mount Fuji) from Shinjuku station in Tokyo you have two main options.
1. Get the Chuo Line and then the Fujikyuko Line trains which will cost between ¥2390 and ¥3800 depending on whether you get the Chuo line rapid service (1hr 40mins + 50mins) or the Chuo line limited express (1hr + 50mins).
2. Or you can go for the Chuo Highway Bus which will get you there direct from Shinjuku in 1hr 50mins for ¥1700.
If you want to climb Mount Fuji (which you can only do in Summer) you’ll have either get a shuttle bus/taxi from Kawaguchiko station or the Chuo Highway Bus can take you all the way from Shinjuku to the Kawaguchiko 5th station.
The information we got from the tourist office estimates that it would take you about 5 hours on the way up, and 3 hours on the way down. You can also get a piece of paper from the Tokyo Tourist Information Centers which shows you all the transport options between Tokyo and Mount Fuji.
We got the bus from Shinjuju. We were able to see Mount Fuji after we had travelled about 20 minutes from Shinjuku. Once got to Kawaguchiko station we got the Retro Bus to the Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway. We bought a discounted ticket from here which let us go on the cable car, and on the Ensoleille sightseeing boat.
The cable car takes only a few minutes to get you to the top of the (small) mountain. On the way up Mount Fuji is not visible at all as it is obscured by Mount Kachi Kachi.
However once at the top Mount Fuji is clear to see from the various viewing areas.
Even today which was a bright sunny day, there was still a ring of mist around Fuji.
There is a bell you can ring and some kind of mascot at the top (not sure who he is).
Then we got the cable car back down the mountain and made the short walk to the lake.
To finish off our Mount Fuji viewing we got on the Ensoleille sightseeing boat for a 20 minute sail on Kawaguchiko lake.
The view from the lake is considered to be one of the classic Mount Fuji views.