Japan community

Travelling from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchi

13 days ago

Do people have experience with traveling with toddlers in Japan using taxis? Are they safe? Our hotel near lake kawaguchi is not as easily accessible via train/bus and taxis are recommended.

56.2 miles
1 reply
12 days ago

Hello Robert

I have stayed twice at a Kawaguchiko hotel. The first, Tominoko Hotel, was on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi, 1.6 miles from Kawaguchiko railway station. It was not easily accessible from Fujikawaguchiko town but the stonking view of Mt Fuji from my 3rd floor room well and truly compensated for the less convenient location.

The second, Kawaguchiko Lakeside Hotel, was a small family-run hotel on the south side of Lake Kawaguchi and a mile from Kawaguchiko railway station.

Both hotels provided local transportation by minibus. I didn’t use the Tominoko Hotel minibus but after the husband-and-wife team running Kawaguchiko Lakeside Hotel saw me arrive by taxi they scolded me for wasting money by not using their service. Subsequently the husband drove me to and collected me from Fuji Tempura Idaten, an excellent tempura restaurant. The husband also drove me to Fujikawaguchiko railway station when I was leaving. No extra charge, the service was included in my room price.

Many locations of interest to visitors are accessible on the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus (Red Line) and the Saiko Sightseeing Bus. These are hop-on hop-off buses with regular services in daylight hours.

I visited a restored traditional thatched-roof village called Iyashi no Sato on the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus. This village looks like the popular and famous village at Shirakawago but the houses have been converted to shops/museums demonstrating traditional crafts and no-one stays overnight in the village. Mt Fuji looks huge from Iyashi no Sato and I got some good photos with thatched-roof houses in the foreground and Mt Fuji in the background. There’s a map of the bus routes at http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/pdf/heritagetour/routemap_retro_omni_201910.pdf.

When catching taxis in Japan it’s often helpful to have the phone number of your destination. Japanese GPS’s have a feature which looks up address by phone number. Taxi drivers enter the phone number to get the address to pop up. I also had taxi drivers call my destination to get directions. I don’t know about Kawaguchiko but in the old area of Kyoto there are two different address systems. On top of that street numbers were assigned as houses were built so numbers don’t run sequentially. Using the phone number to get the address bypasses these issues.

As to safety with toddlers, I see two dimensions, safety of the vehicle and character of the driver. My perception was that health and safety laws in Japan were as strict as any advanced Western nation. And the Japanese are extremely rule-abiding, so its unlikely the vehicle will be unsafe. As to character of the driver, as a solo traveller I never experienced a cause for concern in 8 weeks of Japan travel. Honour and duty are still very important concepts in Japan, so I’d be less concerned about a Japanese taxi driver than in most parts of the Western world.