The Gotemba Premium Outlets are Japan's most popular outlet mall, located in Gotemba City at the base of Mount Fuji, not far from Hakone. The mall features over 200 stores along with a number of restaurants, a food court and a 50 meter high ferris wheel.
The stores found at the Premium Outlets are the outlets of internationally known brands of fashion, sports, food, household goods and electronics, and range from everyday items to luxury goods. The prices are not ridiculously cheap, but they are better on average than what you will find at regular retail shops in Japan.
Overall it is a nice place for a day of shopping, with a lot of variety and reasonable prices. Most of the stores accept credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners. Coin lockers are available in two locations.
The Gotemba Premium Outlets are located on the outskirts of Gotemba City not far from Hakone. A free shuttle bus operates every 15 minutes between the mall and JR Gotemba Station, stopping at the Tomei-Gotemba IC (interchange or expressway exit) along the way.
Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus operates two buses per hour from Hakone to Gotemba Station (bus lines V and W), from where you can catch the free shuttle bus to the outlets. Major stops in Hakone include Togendai at the shores of Lake Ashinoko (30 minutes, 1020 yen to Gotemba) and Sengoku (20 minutes 710 yen to Gotemba). Buses are bound for Shinjuku and covered by the Hakone Free Pass between Hakone and Gotemba.
When coming from Hakone-Yumoto, take a Togendai bound Hakone Tozan Bus on line T to Sengoku (20 minutes, 750 yen, covered by the Hakone Free Pass), where you can transfer to the Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus (see above).
Alternatively, Hakone Tozan Bus operates almost hourly, direct buses between Yunessun, Gora Station and the Gotemba Premium Outlets (bus lines S, L and M, 45 minutes, 990 yen, covered by the Hakone Free Pass).
From Tokyo by bus
There are one or two direct buses per day each from Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station and Shinagawa Station to the outlets. The one way trip takes about 90 minutes and costs 1650 yen. A round trip ticket is available for 2880 yen and includes a coupon book and special gift. Note that these buses require advance reservations.
Alternatively, frequent buses from Tokyo and Shinjuku Stations in direction of Hakone and Shizuoka stop at the Tomei-Gotemba IC along the way, from where it is a short, free shuttle bus ride to the outlets. The one way trip to Gotemba takes about 100 minutes and costs around 1600 yen. Less frequent buses to Gotemba also depart from Haneda Airport and Narita Airport.
For more detailed bus information, check out the official website.
From Tokyo by train
The fastest method is to take the Mount Fuji Limited Express from Odakyu Shinjuku Station to Gotemba Station and transfer to the free shuttle bus to the outlets. The trip takes around 100 minutes and costs about 2800 yen. Since this train partly travels over non-JR railway tracks, Japan Rail Pass holders must pay a supplement fee when using this train.
Alternatively, from Tokyo or Shinjuku Station take a train on the JR Tokaido Line or JR Shonan Shinjuku Line respectively to Kozu Station and transfer to the JR Gotenba Line to Gotemba Station (about 150 minutes, 1940 yen, fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass). From there take the free shuttle bus to the outlets.
The cheapest method is to take the Odakyu Main Line from Shinjuku Station to Shin-Matsuda Station, walk to nearby JR Matsuda Station, and take the JR Gotemba Line to Gotemba Station (1280 yen, about 2 hours one way). From Gotemba Station use the free shuttle bus to the outlets.