Tokyo to Fuji

Tl;dr – metro, got lost in the world’s biggest train station, delayed bus, silent taxi driver

No 3am start today, we only had to get up at 9am to check out on time. We were heading to a town at the foot of Mt Fuji called Kawaguchiko. I had been looking online for when the busses left and ended up accidentally reserving a bus for 13:15. It was free to reserve but it guaranteed us a seat each on that specific bus.

We got a metro at 10:20 with the intention of having a couple of hours to wander round looking for lunch. We knew our bus was from Shinjuku so we aimed for there. Once there we followed the signs for the bus station and were there in no time. We couldn’t see any English signs nor any coaches of any sort, just local buses. I got some sweet free wifi and discovered that Shinjuku has more than one bus station and we were at the wrong one. Shinjuku station is the busiest station in the world. In the world! A fact we didn’t discover until later on, but it’s unbelievably huge! We needed the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Station so we headed back down into the melee and thankfully found signs for it very quickly. 10 minutes later we were out of the subway again, but there were no buses. Another quick wifi break and we discovered that in April 2016 it moved to a new location, the other side of Shinjuku station. It took us over half an hour to navigate our way through this vast underground dungeon of transport, including a short break to restore our backs and our spirits (bearing in mind we had been on our feet with all our stuff for a long time) and get one more burst of sweet free wifi to ensure we were on track. One hour later we made it out of the station and across the street to our giant bus stop.

Shinjuku Expressway Bus Station is a brand new facility with intercity buses leaving from the 4th floor. We sorted our tickets easily and had an hour or so to stuff our bags in a locker and grab lunch. Being next to the world’s biggest train station means you have plenty of choice across the road, but with it being Tokyo, of course the trip across the street is too much so the bus station is full of cafés and restaurants too. We found a deli and a coffee shop and recharged our life bars and felt brand new once more.

13:15 turned up and we got on our bus, a fairly disappointing bus by Tokyo standards, with no wifi and no plug sockets. But it was a seat to our next stop and that was good enough. We were supposed to get to Kawaguchiko Station at 15:00 but on the way we got caught up in traffic. A lorry had overturned and spread its cargo across the road so it added about 40 minutes to our journey.

But we got there and we had a mile or so to go to the hostel. Having already walked many miles through Shinjuku station we opted for the taxi option. We walked up to the rank and I gave him my address and he said nothing. Our bags in the boot we set off, in silence. We got there and no word was said but a receipt was placed on the armrest and I gave him my money. He opened the boot and gave us our bags and maybe muttered something but I’m not entirely sure.

Anyway, we had arrived at out hostel. We got in and put our feet up!

The stats

10:20 (GMT +9) metro to Shinjuku: 30 minutes, ¥400 (£3.01)

10:50 walk to Shinjuku Expressway Bus Station: 1 hour 5 minutes

13:15 bus to Kawaguchiko Station: 2 hours 25 minutes (40 minute delay), ¥3,500 (£26.30)

15:45 taxi to K’s Hostel Fuji View: 5 minutes,  ¥780 (£5.86)

Arrived 15:50

Total time in transit: 4 hours 5 minutes

Total travel time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Total cost: £35.17 (£17.09 each)

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