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shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

We thought about buying tickets for highway bus from Tokyo and local retro bus for travelling around in the beginning of April. Now, I read that when there are more tourists, one may not be able to get on the retro bus. We will be there on 3rd and 4th of April. Sakura may not be opening yet, but it is Easter school holiday so there may be more tourists. How bad will the situation be ?

Is it advisable to rent a car for travelling around ? We are 5 adults and 1 child (not so competent in riding a bike) and the car rental (for 6 person capacity) will be 4 times more than the retro bus. Will the higher costs pay off for saving our nerves and frustration of not being able to get on a full bus ?

Will be grateful to hear your experience. Thank you.

14 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
4,179 posts
9 reviews
1. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

Due to the rise of tourists from Asia (which mostly does not celebrate Easter, but anyway), buses can be fully occupied sometimes at certain hours on certain routes (lining up a bit often solves the issue at Kawaguchiko Station; I remember waiting for another bus on my last visit); people might walk to Lake Kawaguchiko from the station, take taxi, or rent a car. If you are used to driving, yes it's possible. In summertime I prefer rent-a-cycling, but early April is probably still cold to enjoy it.

Rent-a-car should allow you to explore some other lakes (which are in my opinion better than Lake a Kawaguchiko).

Edited: 27 February 2018, 01:10
Level Contributor
4,179 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

Having said that, considering the time needed for renting out the car from office, probably that is not really recommended for time-reducing purposes. When I go to the area, I make up my mind along the way; it's usually the bus to go to the northern shores of Kawaguchiko that gets a bit crowded and occasionally not everyone waiting can get on and need to wait in line for another bus (which runs not infrequently to the northern shore). Not the buses for Saiko or Yamanakako.

Edited: 27 February 2018, 01:15
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,142 posts
171 reviews
3. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

I would pay the slight premium to rent a car. Your total cost should come to about 8,000 Yen give-or-take, including insurance for the day. Nissan and Times usually offer cheaper cars vs Toyota and Nippon.

If you take the bus, the 2-day bus pass costs 1,300 Yen per adult so it might not be cost effective. A single ride costs just over 200 Yen. If you take 4 rides for the day, your cost comes close to 5,000 Yen already. Even though it's not sakura season yet at Kawaguchiko, the influx of tourists for sakura in Tokyo can add to crowds who visit Kawaguchiko as well.

Tokyo and California
Destination Expert
for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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28,374 posts
69 reviews
4. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

If you're going to visit a lot of places, renting a car is easiest. The bus can be infrequent, slow and packed (with my experience, they don't come on time most of the time.)

When I go to Kawaguchiko, I mainly go for Mt. Fuji views, so I usually just visit Kachizachiyama and ride a boat on the lake. I walk to/from Kawaguchiko Station--only takes 15 minutes.

Whether to rent a car or not depends on your activities.

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

Thank you so much for your hints.

I think we will rent a car. It is however not too evident about which agent offers what.

We are 6 people and therefore need a bigger car. Do you recommend booking a car in advance or go to the nearest shop and rent one ?

Thank you very much.

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
Level Contributor
25,691 posts
30 reviews
6. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

>> Do you recommend booking a car in advance or go to the nearest shop and rent one ?

If they run out (since it's not just any ordinary car) when you show up without reservation, what are you going to do?

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

Thanks for the warning :-))

Can someone recommend a car rental agency near the Kawaguchiko train station ?

Thanks a lot.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,409 posts
8. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

In Kawaguchi-ko we rent from Toyota which is about 5 min walk from the rail/bus station.

https://rent.toyota.co.jp/shop/detail.aspx…

https://goo.gl/maps/Nzc4hpNstyA2

Blackpool, United...
Level Contributor
3,013 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

I too have rented from Toyota Rent-a-Car and a mini van (people carrier) for 7 people. Just book in advance. As you are from Germany, you need to get official translation of your driving licence. See http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/translation/with.htm

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
10. Re: shall we rent a car to travel around Lake Kawauchiko ?

Hi LancashireOldHand,

thank you for the special tip. I could not figure out how to get the translation from abroad. All the JAF branches are within Japan. I don't see the possiblity of getting it in Germany before we fly to Japan. Just to give you my feedback after surfing on internet :-))

Perhaps we apply for the international driving licence.

Thank you William512 for the Toyota link.

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