Mount Fuji or Fujiyama is Japan’s highest mountain and its icon. In the year 2013 it was recognized at a World Heritage Site at the UNESCO conference making it Japan’s 17th World Heritage Site.
Despite it’s being highest at 3776 meters, its peak can be climbed up easily even by beginners. So if you are travelling around Japan between July and August, include climbing up Mount Fuji and cross it off your bucket-list.
The climbing season usually starts in July and ends in August, making it the shortest climbing period in the world. Avoid the period between August 13th and 17th, which is the long holiday week in Japan and it will really get crowded up there. Here’s a link for the weather forecast to help you plan your climbing dates.
Getting up there
Forget the idea of bringing your car to Yamanashi Prefecture’s Yoshida, Fujinomiya and Subashiri Trail due to car restrictions plus the roads are really jammed with tourist. Check bus and shuttle schedules instead at this website. Be warned that these routes are not covered by Japan Rail Pass.
If you want to travel hassle free and cheaply from Tokyo, you can purchase the Tokyo to Mount Fuji roundtrip ticket at half the price from East Japan Railway Company. The half-priced ticket is available for purchase only during climbing seasons thru mid-September.
Which trail to take
There are a total of 4 routes for climbing up Mount Fuji. Yoshida, the most popular trail and the most crowded takes about 10 hours to ascend and descend. Fujinomiya is the shortest climb at around 8 hours while the most challenging is the Gotemba trail where it will take you 16 hours for the climb.
Things to pack
Attire wise, keep warm by wearing lots of layers so you can adjust if you get warmer or colder. The temperature could play between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius. Wear your most comfortable trekking shoes as it is mostly gravel and sand on the way up. Once you reach the height of around 3000 meters, it becomes mostly rocks.
Here’s a packing list that should help you, but remember to pack light.
- About 2 liters of water, it is expensive to buy up there!
- Light snacks
- Trash Bags
- Money, everything is only cash terms
- Accessories: Visors, Hat, Head lamp, Walking pole and buy stamps on each station for a perfect souvenir.
Don’t forget your camera and selfie sticks!
If altitude sickness hits you
As the air gets thinner when you climb higher, you should take care not to over-exert yourself for there is the risk of suffering from symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS). Take it slowly, stop and rest if you must. Listen to your body. If you feel you cannot complete the climb, go back and descend quickly.
Cash terms only
Bring some cash with you during your climb. There are some stores that sell snacks and refreshments but they only accept cash. There are also toilets that you need to pay when you use it, around Y200 ($2).
Things to do up there
The coolest thing to do when you get up there is purchase a postcard from the souvenir store and send it thru the post office. Yup they have a postoffice up there at the summit for you to send your postcards!
If you want to spend the night, there are a few hostels there that also serve dinner (no, not curry) for around Y7000.00 ($68). There are only few toilets around and it can be crowded, so if you feel you need to go then go.
For a listing of mountain huts that you can check-in to spend the night, visit this site. Most mountain hut websites are in Japanese though.
Be a responsible tourist
As a responsible tourist, you must only leave footprints wherever you go. Always bring a trash bag to bin all your pet bottles, tissue papers, 6-pack rings, sandwich wrappers and the like. When climbing up Mount Fuji, you are responsible for all your trash until you descend the mountain.
The climb itself is not a contest. Hike slowly at your comfortable pace so your body can adjust to the thin air. Take your time and enjoy the climb! For a complete guide you can visit this Japanese site that also offers a live feed of the famous icon.
O snail Climb Mount Fuji But slowly, slowly! - Kobayashi Issa Click To Tweet
Do you have more tips to share for climbing Mount Fuji? Share them below in the comments sections.
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