Coming from a tropical country, spending some time in the snow is one of the priorities for the winter trip that some members of my family had this year.
We just wanted to see some snow, go to an Onsen, maybe ski – Fuji-Q Highland honestly was not in the plan. We ended up going there out of sheer coincidence – and thank God we did! Not only did we end up having a great time and taking home a lot of memorable winter shots but I also get to tell my readers about how to reach one of the most popular destinations in Japan!
Access From Tokyo
From Tokyo, the easiest way (not to mention the one that makes the most sense if you have already purchased the JR Pass) to get to Fuji-Q Highland is from Shinjuku Station.
The train you will be taking will be at Platform 9 or Platform 10. These are the Chuo Line’s Limited Express Train towards Kofu or the Chuo Line’s Limited Express Fuji Excursion 3 towards Kawaguchiko. Both options will get you to your destination in about 2 hours.
For JR Pass Users
Depending on your schedule and timing, you could be be paying an extra ¥1500 to get to your final destination.
The Limited Express Fuji Excursion offers fewer trips (only 2 morning trips during weekdays or 3 during weekends and holidays, to be exact) but will get you straight to Fuji-Q Highland Station on a single JR train which is of course covered by your JR Pass.
Offering more frequent trips, however, is the Chuo Limited Express Line for Kofu. Technically, you just stay on your seat and also don’t have to change trains throughout the entire trip. But courtesy of the route the train will be taking, your JR Pass only covers the portion from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki Station. The travel from Otsuki Station to Fuji-Q Highland Station is what will be costing you the additional ¥1500.
If heading out early is not an issue for you, I suggest planning your trip around the timeline of the Fuji Excursion trips which you can find here in JR’s official site. You get to save more not only on the train ride to Fuji Q Highland but on the one heading back to Tokyo as well.
Since you will be boarding Limited Express Trains, you will technically need a Reserved Seat ticket in addition to your pass. In order to do this, before even entering the station, make your way to the JR Ticket Office (accessible from the station’s East exits), fall in line, tell the staff where you are heading and wait for your ticket to be issued.
Understand that for the option above, the line could be long and you won’t really have control over how much time you will be spending just getting the ticket so this is another thing that needs to be factored into your travel timeline. That said, if you are willing to take the risk, the rebel in you could actually just ride the train, find a vacant seat and hope to God that no one else has reserved and will come to claim it in the coming stops. For this case, some time during the trip, one of the conductors will simply approach you, ask you for fare (when needed) and maybe ask you to move to another seat if you are sitting on one that happens to be reserved.
On the day we were traveling (a Monday), at least, there weren’t a lot of people on the train at all so I thought we could have just gone the rebel route and not spend 15 minutes securing a reserved seat ticket.
Without JR Pass
Since I am a resident in Japan, I can not take advantage of the JR Pass (which is only applicable for tourists, in case you didn’t know).
If you are on the same boat, the trip would cost you ¥4060 one way. One advantage though, is that you won’t have to go to JR’s ticket office to secure your reserved seat ticket. You can get it simply by using the machines which are conveniently placed on the platforms. You may pay by cash or by using your PASMO/SUICA cards.
Exiting Fuji-Q Highland Station takes you face-to-face with the entrance of Fuji-Q Highland – it’s that easy!
What happened with us is that we actually realized our reserved accommodation was closer to Fuji-Q Highland Station instead of Kawaguchiko Station. When we saw the theme park, we stood in awe of the rides that were in sight but still not convinced if it’s worth spending some bucks on since thrill rides aren’t really the group’s thing.
Prowling for food after depositing our luggage at the hotel, we found our way near the station and learned that admission to the park is actually free!
This was a game-changer and we immediately decided to go inside and just grab some quick lunch while there.
So here’s the arrangement, you may enter the park for absolutely no cost at all BUT, you will have to pay for each attraction you ride. Prices range from ¥400-¥2000 with the exception of the Haunted House attraction which costs a whopping ¥8000 for 2-4 people.
As I said, we weren’t really into the rides so the arrangement was perfect for us. For paying nothing, we got to see the awesome attractions, take pictures and just take in the sights – not to mention we were quickly able to tick off our “have some fun in the snow” goal. Out of sheer curiosity, we only rode one ride – the Rock’n Roll Duncan which was a children’s ride that you can find in the Thomas Land Area of the park to boot!
If you are the type that wants to go there for the thrill of the attractions, check out the full list of prices here. They also offer more affordable passes for unlimited rides which you can check out here.
Without even planning on it, we ended up spending an entire afternoon at Fuji-Q Highland and it was well worth it. Happy but exhausted, I was very thankful that our hotel was only a five-minute walk away. If you are planning on staying in area overnight, I highly recommend HOTEL MYSTAYS Fuji Onsen Resort. Aside from being accessible, it has its own onsen (indoor and outdoor), offers a great view of the surrounding area from every room and a breakfast buffet that you can enjoy while gazing at the majestic Mt. Fuji.