July and August is peak climbing season for Mt. Fuji, and while Tokyo swelters it’s nice and cool in the shadow of Fuji and on the shores of the nearby lakes. Whether you come to climb Japan’s most famous mountain or are looking for other fun activities in the area, PICA Wild Base Fujisan is the perfect place to start your adventures.
This activity center, located next door to Fujiyama Snow Resort Yeti, opened in early 2019. On a clear day, the peak of Mt. Fuji and the Hoei Crater can be seen from almost anywhere in the park.
At 1,450 meters, the activity center offers unique outdoor experiences such as the Tinger Track ATV tours. You’ll feel like you’re on the set of an action movie as you drive these multi-purpose all-terrain vehicles across fields and through the woods. If it’s your first time driving an ATV, the center’s friendly staff will soon have you feeling comfortable behind the wheel as you navigate the Tinger over uneven ground and steep slopes. Tours run three times a day (¥4,000 for adults, ¥3,000 for children).
The resort’s Yamaha Electric Powered MTBs are a fun way to spend the afternoon and great for families with “tweens” and teenagers. You can start on the Standard Course until you feel ready to move on to the Challenge Course—all without the straining uphill climb. There are two private guided tours throughout the day (¥6,000 per person).
Need more speed? Hold on tight and enjoy 700 meters of downhill on a luge cart. At the bottom of the course a resort golf cart will be waiting for you to take you and your cart back up for another thrilling rid (¥1,000 for one round, ¥2,200 for three rounds).
While most of the activities here are recommended for older kids and up, mountain boarding will keep the whole family occupied for hours. The mountain board is basically a skateboard with pneumatic tires but acts more like a snowboard over grass and dirt. The course is open from the end of April to October (¥1,000 for 30 minutes, ¥2,200 for one hour).
After all that excitement, enjoy a hearty BBQ on the terrace. At PICA, it’s all about convenience so they’ll prepare all the ingredients and cooking utensils for you (¥4,500 for two people, ¥6,300 for three). There’s a michi-no-eki (roadside facility) a 10-minute drive away where you can also stop for lunch and shop for Mt. Fuji souvenirs.
While PICA Wild Base Fujisan is an easy day trip from central Tokyo (around a two-hour drive), it’s recommended to stay overnight and split the activities up into two days. Just 10 minutes away by car is PICA Fuji Grinpa, where you can “glamp” in one of their trailer cottages or pitch a tent with a full view of Mt. Fuji right outside. The campsite offers a BBQ dinner including fancy Dutch oven-cooked dishes like beef stew, minestrone and paella. Guests who stay here or at PICA Fuji Yoshida, Fuji Saiko, Yamanakako and Fujiyama will receive a discounted rate at Wild Base upon showing your accommodation receipt.
The easiest way to get to PICA Wild Base Fujisan is by car as public transportation is limited. It’s just 30 minutes from Gotemba Interchange and 20 minutes from Susono Interchange. Alternatively, you can take a direct bus from Shinjuku or Yokohama to Gotemba Station and rent a car from there (takes around 30 minutes). During winter, a direct bus runs from JR Gotemba, Mishima, Susono, Fujinomiya, Fuji and Yoshiwara Chuo Stations to Fujiyama Snow Resort Yeti.