The Gotemba 5th Station (御殿場五合目, Gotemba Gogōme) is the least developed of the four 5th stations on Mount Fuji, and consists of little more than a small shop, a bus stop, toilets and parking lots.
At only 1400 meters above sea level the Gotemba 5th Station is by far the lowest of the fifth stations, and as a consequence, the Gotemba Trail is the longest trail. The ascent to the summit of Mount Fuji takes about seven to ten hours, and travels along an exposed trail through nearly featureless terrain made up of fields of lava rock with only a few mountain huts found around the 7th and 8th stations.
On the other hand, the terrain becomes an advantage during the descent from the summit. A thrilling section of the trail, known as the Osunabashiri ("great sand run"), is a wide, straight path covered in loose lava gravel where you can literally run down a third of the mountain. By taking great leaping strides you can cover in minutes distances that took hours to hike up, making the 3-6 hour descent on par with the other trails on the mountain.
Buses operate between Gotemba Station and the Gotemba 5th Station daily during the climbing season and on weekends and public holidays from mid May through October. The one way journey takes about 40 minutes and costs 1110 yen. A round trip ticket is available for 1540 yen.
Bus Timetable (climbing season)
Bus Timetable (off-season)
How to get from Tokyo to Gotemba
Take the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo to Kozu (75 minutes, frequent departures) and change to the JR Gotemba Line to Gotemba (50 minutes, 1-2 trains per hour). The entire journey costs 1980 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Alternatively, take the Odakyu Odawara Line from Shinjuku to Shin-Matsuda Station (80 minutes, 790 yen by express train, frequent departures), walk to JR Matsuda Station and take the JR Gotemba Line to Gotemba (30 minutes, 510 yen, 1-2 trains per hour). The Japan Rail Pass is valid on trains between Matsuda and Gotemba, but not between Shinjuku and Shin-Matsuda.
Additionally, there are a few Mount Fuji limited express trains, which operate directly between Shinjuku and Gotemba Station. The one way trip takes about 100 minutes and costs around 3000 yen. Japan Rail Pass holders will have to pay a supplement for this train as it partially runs on non-JR tracks.
How to get from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya to Gotemba
Take a Hikari train along the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Mishima Station and backtrack one stop to Numazu Station along the JR Tokaido Main Line. There change to the JR Gotemba Line to Gotemba Station. The trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Note that only one out of four Hikari trains stops at Mishima Station.