Gotemba in Shizuoka Prefecture is a popular weekend getaway among Tokyoites for its many activities, and especially for the unparalleled views of the iconic Mt Fuji up close. The city gets even more popular during the cherry blossom season in spring and best of all, it’s just a 90-minute train ride from central Tokyo.
The Gotemba Premium Outlet, recently remodeled for the first time in 12 years, boasts a total of 290 shops, making it the country’s biggest outlet mall. But you may not notice all the shops at first with Mt Fuji towering behind the mall. Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery – one of Japan’s top whisky distilleries – and Fuji Safari Park are also popular year-round attractions. However, don’t miss the beautiful cherry blossoms at Chichibu Memorial Park while you’re here in spring.
To get to Gotemba, hop on Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station heading towards Odawara. The journey takes about 90 minutes to Gotemba Station, making stops at Shin-yurigaoka, Sagami-ono, Hon-atsugi, Hadano and Matsuda stations in between. All Romancecars have extra wide windows to help you take in the scenery as you go. Make sure you look out the left side windows just before getting to Hadano station – you can catch a scenic view of Mt Fuji, plus pink cherry blossom trees if you’re lucky.
There are usually three trains on weekdays and four on weekends, starting from Shinjuku as early as 6.40am. But during spring between March 20 and May 5, there’s an additional service on selected weekends. A one-way trip costs ¥1,300 (children ¥650), plus a separate express ticket for ¥1,560 (¥780), and you can book up to a month prior to the departure date.
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