Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24m (12,389ft). It lies in the west of Tokyo in Shizuoka Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture. The mountain was designated as a World Heritage Sight on June 22nd 2013. Since ancient times, Mt. Fuji has been worshiped and loved by the Japanese. There are countless poems and drawings of Mt. Fuji, and there is no doubt that it is the place that best represents Japan. This article will tell you everything you need to know for climbing Mt. Fuji.
3 Coolest Things about Climbing Mt. Fuji
You may be able to enjoy the beautiful view of Mt. Fuji by looking at it from a far distance, but it is necessary to climb the mountain to fully appreciate the mountain and the beauty it presents. Though the climb may not be an easy one, and will require much guts, I assure you that climbing Mt. Fuji is definitely worth all the trouble. Here’s why.
#1. The Nighttime View
Many people may not know, but the nighttime view from Mt. Fuji is absolutely marvelous! Above you, you will see stars glimmering with light with nothing to block your view or any lights to dim the stars. Beneath you, you will see the lights of the city in far distance, gently glowing with life. This view cannot be seen when staying at the 5th station or anywhere else, but only when you are climbing the mountain.
#2. The Sea of Clouds
One of the best parts about climbing Mt. Fuji is that you can see the clouds that seem so far away when you are on ground, are below your feet. Unlike watching the clouds from an airplane, watching the clouds from the paths of Mt. Fuji will allow you to feel the breeze gently push away the clouds.
#3. The Sunrise
Above all, watching the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! No pictures can quite show how beautiful it is or can express how moving it is to see the sun slowly rise from beneath the clouds. The sunrise from Mt. Fuji is considered to be very special even among the Japanese, and is called “Goraiko (Japanese: ご来光)” which means “light is cominng.” If you climb the mountain to the top and see the sunrise, I assure you that you will truely understand why people worshiped the mountain and the view it presents.
4 Routes to Climb Mt. Fuji
Climbing Mt. Fuji may sound tough for beginners, but don’t worry. There are 4 different routes you could take to the top, so you could choose which one to go depending on how confident you are with your climbing skills, stamina, etc.
#1. The Yoshida Route
– Total distance: 14km
– Time it takes going up: 6.5 hours
– Time it takes going down: 3.5 hours
The Yoshida Route, starting from the 5th station of Mt. Fuji, is the most popular route taken. It is known to have many huts on the way to the top, therefore, even if you have trouble, you will be able to ask for help. It is the most recommended route to take for beginner climbers.
#2. The Fujimiya Route
– Total distance: 8.5km
– Time it takes going up: 5.3 hours
– Time it takes going down: 3-4 hours
The Fujimiya Route is the second popular route among the 4 routes, mainly because the road is not too tough and the distance to the top of the mountain is the shortest.
#3. The Subashiri Route
– Total distance: 13km
– Time it takes going up: 6.5 hours
– Time it takes going down: 3-3.5 hours
The Subashiri Route, with the second shortest distance to the top of the moutain, is known to have not too many climbers, so there will be no need to be caught in the crowd. The route is also known for having a lot of alpine plants on its way.
#4. The Gotenba Route
– Total distance: 17.5km
– Time it takes going up: 8 hours
– Time it takes going down: 4-4.5 hours
The Gotenba Route is known to be the toughest among all four, taking nearly 8 hours to the top and 4 hours back. It would be wise to take a rest at a hut on the way if you were to take this route. The route may not be good for beginners, but will be nice and quite for those who are experienced in moutain climbing.
The List What You Need to Bring
Climbing Mt. Fuji does not seem as easy as it may look. The highest temperature at the top of Mt. Fuji during the climbing season is around 10 degrees celcius, the lowest being 3 degrees celcius. The temperature itself may not be that low, but with no sunlight, it feels much colder than it actually is. Therefore, there is a necessity to be fully prepared. Here is a list of things that you will need or may come in handy if you bring with you.
– Mountain Climbing Shoes
-Rain Coat (it could start raining all of a sudden so it is important to take a rain coat with you)
-Pants (Jeans will not be a good idea. Something that is easy to move around will be great.)
-Thick pair of sock
-Water (you could buy some on the way but it is very expensive)
-Plastic bag (there is no place to throw your trash away)
Be Careful for Altitude Sickness
Since the altitude of Mt. Fuji is quite high, it is very important for all climbers to be aware of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be fatal, therefore, there is a necessity to be aware of signs of altitude sickness. Primary symptoms of altitude sickness may include headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, or dizziness. Altitude sickness can be prevented by ascending slowly. When climbing the mountain, please follow your own pace and do not push if you start feeling sick.
Mt. Fuji Information
Seoson for climbing:
The climbing tracks of Mt. Fuji are open from the beginning of July to mid September. However, since the rain season in Japan tends to last till the beginning of July, it would be better to wait till the end of July, when the weather gets quite steady.
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・The Chuo Highway Bus from Shinjuku Station to Fujisan-Kawaguchiko-Gogoume Station (2 hours 40 minutes)
・The Tomei Highway Bus from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station (2 hours 10 minutes)
・The Shinjuku Chuo Line / Fuji Express Line from Shinjuku Station – Kawaguchiko Station (3 hours)
・The Tokaido Express from Tokyo Station to Shinfuji Station (1 hour 10 minutes)