Mount Fuji, Japan
Mt Fuji Mount Fuji Reviews
Touch the clouds! Oct 25, 2013
For anyone traveling through Tokyo, this is a must do. The trip takes an entire day to accomplish. We rented a car in the morning and drove out to the 5th station on the Kawaguchiko Trail which is about 2400M from the summit. From there it took our group of 5 about 4.5hrs to reach the summit. We stopped along to the various huts on our ascent to speak with other travelers and ger our walking sticks stamped. We found out that it is possible to rent out bunks on the climbing route for those that want to spend the entire night on the mountain. By the time we reached the summit of this "active" volcano it was mid afternoon and the cloud deck had fallen just below the summit. It was one of the coolest experiences to walk through the clouds and see the last few steps and archway to the summit of the largest mountain in Japan!! We walked around the cone and then began our descent back to our vehicle. We sped down the mountain with the adrenaline from what we had just done... Unfortunately we took the wrong trail back down and found ourselves on the wrong side of the mountain. After an expensive cab ride around the base of the mountain back to our vehicle the day was done. One for the ages.
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Mount Fuji Feb 10, 2012
On the way up to Mount Fuji, we stopped at Oshino Hakkai Village. It was a small village with a few shops selling Japanese foodstuff and souvenirs. The area was so serene and the lakes filled with crystal clear waters. I mean super crystal clear. It was totally amazing. I suppose with the absence of pollution, the waters can maintain its pristine condition. And they were homes to multi colored koi fish. I found myself not wanting to leave the area.
If you are travelling for the first time I would recommend going with a tour group. The village is accessible by tour buses or locals with cars. They will organize local meals in nice restaurants that would be expensive otherwise. The portions are good enough for a big eater like me.
Mount Fuji is a very special mountain. It is the only mountain in the world that stands alone. There are no others like it for miles around. Going up Mount Fuji ( 3776 metres ) was like going up any other mountain ( Whistler in Vancouver and Mount Buller in Melbourne ) but once we arrived at the 5th station, it was a different feeling altogether. It wasn't full of tourists and only a few shops selling local souvenirs. Clean, fresh and cool air with panoramic views. Since it was in December, the average temperature on Mount Fuji was about 4 degrees Celcius. My body was protected by the thin jacket I had on but my fingers felt like they were going numb anytime. So a pair of gloves would be wise the next time.
A story that has been repeated many times by the locals was that hikers who ventured too deep into Mount Fuji never made it out. That's how it keeps its secrets.
Average prices - chocolates from SGD$5.00 onwards
Fridge magnets SGD$5.00 onwards
Japanese products are so nicely wrapped and it was easy to buy more than necessary. But I really didn't mind because they are of good value and genuine. Prices are almost the same in every shop. Unlike many other countries that tend to mark up prices just to earn the tourists' dollars. Not Japan..
I like that.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Not an easy mountain, but worth a try Sep 17, 2011
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, and its altitude at the highest point (Kengamine peak) is 3776meters high.
It has been the sacred mountain for Japanese people and so many pilgrims tried to climb up to the summit for their prayers from the ancient time.
The main attraction is hiking from 5th station to the top. It's open for tourists from 1/Jul till 31/Aug, but you can do that in early September if you are well prepared and weather is OK.
You can do the hike within a day if you start in the early morning. But "Goraiko" (watching sunrise from the top) is one of the best attraction for tourists. In order to see the sunrise, booking a hut-stay for the security is highly recommended, and if you are trying the hike from the end of August,it is mandatory. It can get really cold and you wouldn't be able to continue hiking for all night long if the weather turns bad. It is too dangerous. And most huts are always fully booked and you wouldn't be able to stay at any of them without prior booking.
It's often misunderstood that many people are trying to hike on New Years Eve to see the sunrise from the peak. But it's totally not recommended for beginners. The climate of Mt. Fuji in the winter is around -30 degrees Celsius, and strong wind is blowing there. The path is totally frozen and crampon and ice axes often doesn't work. If you fall over onto the ground and cannot use ice axes promptly, you might slide down to death.
If you are a professional hiker who has done so much of hike under such climate conditions (I don't think such hikers would need to read my review though), please be fully prepared and declare your hiking plan at the local police station.
2. How to get there? & Level
There are 4 trails to the summit.
A. Yoshida trail:
You can take a bus from Shinjuku station to Kawaguchiko or Fujisan station. And from there, you can take the local bus to "Fujisan Gogome" (Mt. Fuji 5th station).
It's the most popular trail and it can get really busy, but there are lots of huts so in terms of the safety, it can be recommended for anyone, especially for those who are trying during the off season (after late August). And the elevation gain and distance is quite moderate so it could be the easiest trail among the 4 as well.
* This is the trail where you can see sunrise from any altitude. I enjoyed hiking up so much more compared to Fujinomiya trail.
B. Fujinomiya trail:
The nearest train station is Shinfuji station on Shinkansen. It's quite accessible from Kansai area as well. You can take local bus to Shin Gogome (5th station.)
This trail is the shortest trail among these 4, but it is more steep than other 3. It can be doable for beginners like Yoshida trail.
* It was less busy compared to Yoshida trail. You can't see any sunrise if you don't get to the top before then. It was easy but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did on Yoshida trail.
C. Subashiri trail:
The nearest train station is Shinmatsuda station, you can get there by Odakyu line from Shinjuku. From Shinmatsuda, there are local bus available during the high season.
The altitude of the 5th station (the beginning of the trail) is low so it would require you a bit more experience in hiking.
D. Gotenba trail:
There are buses available from JR Gotenba station, but the train is not really frequent and it is the least accessible trail for tourists who don't have a car. There are less hikers on this route so it won't be busy and the service at huts would be better compared to other 3, but the altitude of the 5th station is only 1440meters, and it's not recommended for beginners at all.
It has Oosunabashiri (sand slopes) and it's so much fun to go down. It was doable for beginners as well, and even easier compared to other routes in terms of getting down. There is only a few huts where you can stop for food or toilet, so be prepared if you choose to take this route.
3. What to bring?
You need to be fully equipped for the hike to Mt. Fuji.
I would like to rate the items as follows;
A: Necessary B: Better to have C: Not needed
-Hiking shoes: High cut shoes are the best.
-Decent rainwear: It has to be separate rain suits. Gore-tex fabrics is the best, and cheap poncho doesn't work well and I don't recommend it. If you don't have one, consider to get one or rent one.
-Warm jacket: The average temperature at the summit in August is just 6C. And if the strong wind is blowing, you would feel even colder. Down jackets for hiking or fleece jackets are needed even in summer, and needless to say, you would need even more if you are hiking after the end of August.
-Backpack: 30-35L would be enough if you are hiking in summer. Backpack cover is also necessary.
-Headlight: Mandatory for any hiking
-Gloves: Protection from cutting your hands with rocks on trails.
-Lots of 100yen coins and cash: Toilets are charged. And you can't use credit cards anywhere on trails.
-Water and snacks: You can buy them at huts but it's expensive.
-clothing made of chemical fibers: Avoid fabrics made of cotton.
-Trekking poles or stocks: You can get sticks at local shops too.
-Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat
-Oxygen: My friend brought one but it didn't make any difference. You don't have to bring one, and just try to drink enough water, walk slowly, have enough sleep and take a deep breath to avoid altitude sickness.
4.Where to sleep
There are lots of huts available.
You need prior booking if you want to stay one. And as I wrote, it is necessary if you are hiking after the end of August.
In the hut, it would be full of people and it could be noisy. Bring your eyemask and earplugs to secure enough sleep. You don't need to carry sleeping bags.
It can be doable for "anyone" to climb Mt. Fuji, but never ever forget that its altitude is 3776meters, and some people are dismissed every year. You need to be fully equipped for the hike and well prepared. I was caught in a heavy rain during the hike and it was really cold and exhausting. I had a reservation at the hut and I was wearing warm jacket and decent rain suits so I was OK but if I hadn't had either of them, I think I might have been dead, or even in the best case, I would have had to give up for the hike.
And during the off season (after the closure of all the huts), don't ever try to climb. There are no toilets and shelters even you needed help. Only pro alpinists can try during this time.
Lastly, it's the really great mountain and view from the top was incredible. If you are in Japan in summer, it would be the greatest memory for you. But again, it's a challenging mountain and be sure to get fully prepared!
Part of the I hike on mountains, because they are there, travel blog
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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