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Tokyo to Kawaguchiko by rail reservation questions

Hi folks

My family of 4 will have JR passes and want to travel Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko early April 2023.
We want to travel 3 days after we arrive in Tokyo from overseas.

I can see there is a “Fuji Excursion” JR Limited Express twice a week day. Should we worry about getting tickets if we book 3 days earlier at the JR office? I am not sure if this will be enough time to get a ticket for this train.

Another option is to use JR pass Shinjuku to Otsuki, then Fujikyo private railway train from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko. Can we book tickets for Fujikyo private railway from JR office?

In general, how worried should we be about not being able to get on a train (at all?). We will try to reserve what we can, but for planning, is it a real fear we may not even be able to stand in unreserved section, or not be able to buy tickets?

thank you for any advice!

As long as it’s not a weekend or public holiday, you should be fine if you book a few days in advance.

Do you have plans to go anywhere else with your JR passes? If you’re just using it to go around Tokyo and from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko, then it would be much, much cheaper to just buy tickets. If you’re also planning a trip to Kyoto, then it makes sense. Total cost of a return ticket from Shinjuku is only about 7,000yen per person - about 1/3 the cost of a JR pass.

When you book your seat for the Fuji Excursion, they will charge you the extra amount for the portion between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko, since it isn’t covered by the JR pass.

I’ve done this trip. The scenery is mostly not very impressive until you get close to Kawaguchiko, and that’s only if it’s a clear day and you can see Mt. Fuji.

Oh, and don’t worry about being squished on like a sardine. That’s only commuter trains. Seated trains like this aren’t over sold. Worst case scenario is standing in the aisles in the non-reserved carriages, so don’t worry about having your face in someone’s armpit for two hours!

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Thank you for your insight! That’s reassuring to hear from someone who has done it before.

We will make good use of our JR passes after Kawaguchi, travelling on to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima.