We are pretty sure you have heard of the magnificent Mount Fuji in Japan and are also aware that you know of how pretty it is. Ascending up to a jaw-dropping 12,388 feet, which equals to 3,776 meters, Fuji sits atop the list of Japan’s tallest mountains.
Mount Fuji is also called Fujiyama or Fuji no Yama, and is also spelled as Fujisan. Another remarkable aspect about Mount Fuji is its exquisite, conical shape at the top, which is quite the treat for tourists and photographers, both up close and remotely.
Fuji is the country’s pride and one of its most sacred symbols. The shrines and temples lining its apex also add to its sacredness. Another interesting fact about Mt. Fuji is that it is still an active volcano, despite the fact that it last erupted in 1707 (the Hōei eruption). While it shows no signs of erupting today, travelers and tourists are often asked to take necessary precautions.
Bonus fact: The Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa painting that you might have come across social media or the back of someone’s iPhone, is actually one of the thirty-six views of Mount Fuji.
Such a beautiful attraction obviously should be on the itinerary of every tourist and hiker out there. That is why we have dedicated this blog to hiking on Mt. Fuji that can help you prepare for your hiking experience.
Read up more about Mount Fuji from the convenience of your phone or laptop—whatever device you are using right now—until you visit the real thing!
Mt. Fuji’s peak is open for business only in the months of July till August. This is when the snow is melted and it is easy to traverse through its various terrains. Given that you are one to climb expertly, you can skip the July-till-August rule and go climbing in early September. The plus side to this is the absence of crowds; people who play it safe and stick to the safer months.
However, if you choose to forgo the safe months, know that most huts are not operational after August. You will, then, have to camp outside, out in the open.
Also, let’s talk about the upper limit on the “safe months,” shall we?
We highly recommend that you do not go all riled up, Samurai Jack style, in early July. Make sure you are on break before you go there. Also, make sure you check the weather update of the peak before making any plans. Some people were caught in terrible winds once, during the super typhoon season in 2010, while hiking and obviously, it was a mistake.
So, be mindful of picking the best time.
Fuji has four routes leading up to it—the YSFG. This acronym is very important and will help you on your way if you pick Yoshida, Fujinomiya, Subashiri, or the Gotemba route. The acronym is made in descending order of route popularity. The Yoshida course is the most well-known for those coming from Tokyo, while the Fujinomiya permits the simplest access from Kyoto, so it is viewed as a top pick among Kansai guests. The portrayals underneath incorporate the shortest distance and present an ideal opportunity to arrive at the pit edge.
Remember that it requires an hour and a half to circumnavigate the pit edge, so consider that when you plan your climb and don't unintentionally plunge down an alternate course, particularly in the event that you've left any possessions back at the coin storage spaces where you began your climb!
Each course is isolated into 10 stations (the trailheads start at the fifth station), with a cabin situated at each station. Each course up the mountain has corners to pay a willful 1000 yen ascending charge at the fifth station.
Here are some characteristics of each trail.
• Most popular among tourists
• Directly accessible via Tokyo
• Scenic route, sunrise is visible from anywhere
• Descending and ascending paths separate, that means more beauty to discover!
Mt. Fuji Climbing - Yoshida Route
• Easily accessible from Shinkansen
• Singular ascending and descending path
• Unfortunately, no sunrise is visible through this path
• Plus side is: it’s the shortest route to the top
Mt. Fuji Climbing - Fujinomiya Route
• The most beautiful, very green
• Ascending and descending trails are separate
• It is the second longest route
Mt. Fuji Climbing - Subashiri Route
• Unpopular, hence least crowded
• A lot of room for parking at the trailhead
• Downside, it is the longest route, with the most challenging climb
Mt. Fuji Climbing - Gotemba Route
It is feasible to climb Mt Fuji in a day yet it isn't suggested in light of the fact that the culmination is over 3700m above ocean level and the elevation disorder can kick in at any second when you are at 3000m or above ocean level. We suggest you get moving in the early evening (the most recent) first day and rest at a mountain cabin for 5 - 7 hours, get up at 2 AM and begin going for the highest point from 2:30 AM to 3 AM. During this season, the sun is relied upon to ascend at around 4 - 5 AM (ask the staff and the mountain cottage and they will awaken you for the culmination).
There is a scope of mountain cottages accessible on the Yoshida trail. However, you need to book one online. You can ask the inn staff to hit the spot up or you can pay USD25 extra and book online. The path can get exceptionally clogged during this time so reserving preceding showing up is energetically suggested.
Despite the fact that July is the beginning of a blustery season and the climate in Japan can be very warm and moist, the temperature close to the top in the first part of the day can be just about as low as 5 - 10 degrees Celsius, so plan your attire accordingly. The following is a rundown of things most people have with them.
Packing for the day, which we’d like to term daypacking
We recommend you bolt on all things that are generally not required in storage at the fifth Station (which will come during your hike) before you go for the highest point. Ascending a mountain is quite serious so don't bring pointless things up there.
Bucket-loads of water
If you are going on the Yoshida trail as we did, there might be a couple of stops before you arrive at your mountain cabin. Yet, the cost of everything up there is through the roof. Plan sufficient amounts of water and food before you start the trip. We recommend you carry a 2-liter hydration which will help you stay hydrated.
An undercoat along with fleece outers or jacket
As stated before, it can get cold up there and if you are going in the dawn, you should wake up really early. Remember to wear good quality coats so you can keep yourself warm.
Waterproof overcoat and covered backpack
July and August bring with them a blustery season and trust us, it will rain up there so set up an overcoat and a knapsack cover. You don't need all your garments to be totally doused when you show up at the mountain hovel. Here are the coats we suggest you get for the outing: a downy coat and a lovely orange Columbia external shell coat.
Hiking boots and others for the journey
The path comprises some precarious trips so make sure to take comfortable, with sturdy traveling shoes that will ensure your lower leg’s protection. Hikers say, by popular opinion, that Timberland shoes are their go-to climbing boots, by-and-large.
Headlamps and other lighting
You should also take a headlamp with you. We suggest you get the Cree LED headlamp along with additional torches and batteries.
(Discretionary) Trekking shafts that come in hand
You need not bother with a fancy walking stick or those that cost a lot. A regular stick would do fine and dandy. You can purchase a conventional ascending stick at the fifth Station and get it stamped at every mountain hovel (200 - 300 Yens for each stamp) as you passed along the path as a souvenir.
This mountain on the shores of Kawaguchiko offers perhaps the most amazing Fuji views in the whole region. It's a tough climb that requires the whole day on the off chance that you pick to go down to Mitsutoge station, so start promptly in the day and bring a lot of water/lunch/snacks.
You can save a little time by taking the Mt. Tenjō Ropeway (open daily 9 am to 5 pm, 500 Yen single direction, 900yen full circle). At the highest point of the ropeway, the course enters the wonderful timberland fixed with bamboo grass and infrequent views between holes in the foliage. It requires a few hours to arrive at the highest point of Mitsutōge (which is really three unique tops one after another, which are all in all known as Mitsutōge). The first of the three pinnacles is Kenashiyama, so in the wake of leaving the ropeway navigate through the timberland, go across a cleared backwoods street and above the wandering edge to Shimo-san. From that point, it a direct trip that steepens just beneath Kenashiyama prior to meeting up with a track rolling in from the left. Turn here for Mitsutōge Sanso and an unimaginable glimpse of Mt. Fuji. The hovel offers for the time being convenience (8500yen with 2 dinners, progressed booking required, tel: 090-5339-6238) and makes for a stunning spot to appreciate the dawn. You can backtrack to Kawaguchiko or proceed past the cottage to an intersection and turn around for a long and steep hike to Mitsutoge station (a 24-min train ride back to Kawaguchiko station).
View of Mt. Fuji from Mitsutoge
This mountain, situated on the shores of Lake Motosu northwest of Mt Fuji, offers unhampered Fuji views from its wide, verdant inclines. You'll have to take a Fujikyu transport from Kawaguchiko to Motosuko to get there. The transport circles between Shin-fuji and Kawaguchiko stations, halting at Motosukoen route. Board the transport at Kawaguchiko station and get off at Motosuko transport stop (45 minutes, 900 Yen single direction, hourly transports somewhere in the range of 9:05 and 11:05 am).
From the bus station, stroll down to the shores of the lake and go left to enter the camping area. The path goes straight through the campsite prior to moving up steeply to the edge. Head straight to an open verdant field set apart with a gazebo. This is the beginning of the precarious route to the summit, which is made more lovely by the unhampered sight of Fuji straightforwardly behind you. There is an outdoor table at the top, so pause for a minute or two and appreciate the view. If you are in a hurry, remember your way back to the bus station. But if you have extra time, take a left-hand turn at the summit and circle the edge for 30 minutes prior to going down a lofty path through the woodland to the shores of a lake. Then turn right and walk one more hour along the shores back to the bus station. Permit 4 to 5 more hours to finish the circle.
View of Mt. Fuji from Ryugatake
That is it on our instruction manual for hiking on good old Fuji. We really hope you have a good time.
Good luck and happy hiking!