Many visitors to Japan mention viewing Mt. Fuji as one of the things they wish to do during the stay.
But before you book that tour to go see Japan's highest mountain, here are things you should keep in mind:
According to data released by Fuji City (Shizuoka Prefecture, about 30km south of the mountain), part of the mountain can be seen only about 20% of the time in June and July. The number only improves to around 30% for August.
Meanwhile, the number exceeds 70% from October to February when the entire eastern Japan region sees mostly dry weather.
During the peak tourism season of March and April, chances are about fifty-fifty.
Where is the best area to see Mt Fuji?
Viewing from the Yamanashi side where the Five Lakes are located provides better chances of seeing the summit. From the Shizuoka side, warm air coming from the bay often cause clouds to form and blocking a clear view.
Hakone is another popular area to view the mountain and also due to its proximity to Tokyo - however it is further away from Mt Fuji, which means your chances become smaller.
There are live cameras that allow you to get an idea from the various vantage points.
1) From Fuji City, Shizuoka side
2)From Lake Kawaguchi, Fuji Five Lakes Yamanashi side
3)From Lake Ashi, Hakone side
Is there a good time during the day to see Mt Fuji?
Your chances are higher in the early morning, from sunrise until about 9 am. Often times during the summer, clouds start to develop during the day which might burn off in the early evening, around 5 or 6 pm.
When you are visiting the Mt Fuji area on a day trip from Tokyo, it is highly likely that you will miss this best window, so if Mt. Fuji is really high on your priority list, you might want to consider staying overnight to boost your chances of getting a glimpse.
Keep in mind - Sunny weather at the bottom does not guarantee you can see the mountain!
Tour companies will not offer refunds in bad weather!
There are many operators that do a full day organized bus tour to visit the Mt Fuji area- Hato Bus, JTB Sunrise Tours and Japan Gray Line are some of the examples. However doing this on a bad weather day with zero probability of seeing the mountain may not be a wise way to spend your time. One advice is to check the weather forecast and book at the last minute when the weather seems to be favorable (This is obviously risky during peak seasons such as April or October when availability could be limited).
Unless the weather is so poor to the extent where the tour has to be cancelled altogether (like when a typhoon is approaching), the companies will not offer refunds once the booking has been made.