A Guide To Climbing Mt Fuji- 3776m

A Guide To Climbing Mt Fuji

I climbed Mt Fuji back in July 2014. It has been one of those bucket list items for quite some time and I was so excited to finally be ticking it off.

At 3,776 m (12,388 feet) Mt Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is the most perfect volcano cone in existance. Visible from Tokyo 100km away on a clear day it is one of the main icons of Japan. Here is my guide to climbing the most sacred mountain in Japan.

Climbing mt fuji

When to climb

The official climbing season is from early July to mid September. The rest of the year Mt Fuji is covered in snow and climbing is prohibited, and trails and huts are closed.

Climbing Mt Fuji is very popular among the Japanese but also tourists, who make up around 1/3 of climbers. Peak time to climb is during school vacations from around July 20 to the end of August. It is best to avoid Obon week in mid August due to large numbers of climbers.

climbing mt fuji

Trails

There are 4 main trails to choose from in different prefectures around the mountain, Yoshida, Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya. Each trail has a a 5th station, where cars can no longer ascend the mountain. The largest 5th station is the Fuji Subaru otherwise known as Kawaguchi-ko as the road is open most of the year, weather dependent and easily accessed from Tokyo. There are also separate ascending and descending trails which can be a bit confusing.

climbing mt fuji

Yoshida Trail (Yamanshi Pref.)- Yellow trail
Open : July 1- September 10
5th station: Fuji Suburu Station 2,300 m
Ascent: 5-7 hours
Descent: 3-5 hours
This is the most popular base as it is the easiest to access from Tokyo and the Fuji Fave Lake region. There are lots of mountain huts around the 7th and 8th stations. This is your last chance to stock up on some supplies such as walking sticks, snacks, water at reasonable prices.

Subashiri Trail (Shizuoka Pref.)- Red trail
Open: July 10- September 10
5th Station: 2000 m
Ascent: 5-8 hours
Descent: 3-5 hours
The Subashiri trail meets with the Yoshida Trail at the 8th station.

Gotemba Trail (Shizuoka Pref.)- Green trail
Open: July 10- September 10
5th station: 1,400 m
Ascent: 7- 10 hours
Descent: 3 -6 hours
There are around 4 mountain huts around the 7th and 8th stations

Fujinomiya Trail (Shizuoka Pref.) Blue trail 
Open: July 10- September 10
5th station: 2,400 m
Ascent: 4-7 hours
Descent: 2-4 hours
Fujinomiya 5th station is easily accessible from stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen and has around half a dozen mountain huts along the trail.

climbing mt fuji

How to get there

Fuji Subaru 5th Station (Yoshida Trail)

The Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station is the only 5th Station with daily bus service during most of the year

From Shinjuku Station, Tokyo 
Direct highway bus departs daily from Shinjuku station during Golden Week, July, August and most of September. During the off season the bus only departs on weekends from late April to early November. The trip takes around 140 minutes and costs ¥2,700, you will need to make a reservation. Timetable and route map 

From Kawaguchiko Station
There are around 11-16 round trips per day during the climbing season and 5 during the off season. The trip takes around 50 minutes and costs ¥1,540 one way or ¥2,100 for a round trip. You would leave from Kawaguchiko Station if you are spending extra time in the Fuji area.

Where to stay

climbing mt fuji

The mountain huts on Mt Fuji are pretty basic dormitories with Japanese tatami mats and sleeping bags, 10 in a row and 10 above, bunk bed style. I stayed at the Fujisan Hotel at the 8th station with dinner which was Japanese curry rice included for the cost of ¥7,200 per person in 2014.

Fujisan Hotel
Tripadvisor

Booking a mountain hut
Booking a mountain hut can be quite difficult with the language barrier. Fuji Mountain Guides have a reservation service which costs ¥1000 per person (definitely worth it) for either Fujisan Hotel (Yoshida/ Subashiri trail 3,400m) or Taishikan (Yoshida trail 3,100m). Reservations can be taken from April 1 each year. You can book here.

What to take

  • Day pack with waterproof cover
  • Head lamp & spare batteries
  • Hiking pole/s
  • 2-3 Water bottles
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Snacks
  •  ¥100 coins for the toilets ( ¥200- ¥300 per use)
  • Money to get your Mt Fuji hiking pole branded at each station
  • Toiletries
  • Rubbish bag

Clothes

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Beanie
  • Gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • T- Shirt
  • Light long sleeve top
  • Fleece jacket
  • Thermal underwear & leggings
  • Outer light layers- T-shirt (quick drying fabric)
  • Light weight insulating layer- Long sleeve wool top
  • Medium weight insulating layer
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight pants
  • Waterproof pants
  • Hiking boots with ankle support
  • Good socks
  • Gaiters (optional)

If you don’t want to carry all of this around Japan with you, you can rent gear from Kobe Outdoor.

Difficulty

Mt Fuji is known for rapidly changing extreme weather and steep inclines; it is not just a simple hike to do in your sneakers and a t-shirt. Be prepared for thunderstorms, rain, freezing wind and maybe snow even if it looks like nice weather from the base. At 3,776m the oxygen on the summit has two-thirds the density of normal oxygen at sea level which can cause altitude sickness. During my climb I saw several people suffering from altitude sickness. Some were making their way back down, others had portable oxygen tanks and some were wrapped up and lying on the ground. You never know if you are going to get altitude sickness but to help avoid it or minimize the affeccts make sure to set a slow, steady pace to help you acclimatize.

The journey up

climbing mt fuji
The start of the trail from the Fuji Subaru 5th station in the Yoshida trail
climbing mt fuji
The line of mountain huts along the trail
climbing mt fuji
The side of the mountain
climbing mt fuji
Looking down on the zig zag trail
climbing mt fuji
Up above the clouds
climbing mt fuji
Climbing up the volcanic rock
Climbing mt fuji
Approaching the 7th station
climbing mt fuji
Mountain huts at the 7th station
Climbing mt fuji
Equipped with my hiking boots, pole and camelback

Reaching the summit for sunrise

climbing mt fuji
Got my head lamp and ready to depart at 2am
climbing mt fuji
The view once some of the cloud disappeared
climbing mt fuji
Warming up with a can of hot chocolate
climbing mt fuji
Feeling a bit chilly
climbing mt fuji
Still some snow at the summit

The journey down

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Even though the clouds and the rain prevented me from seeing the sun rise, I really enjoyed climbing Mt Fuji and would do over again if I went back to Japan in the summer.

Have you climbed Mt Fuji? I’d love to hear who you went.

 

 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this guide is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Healthy Fit Traveller and will endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct. All opinions are my own. If you are wanting to hike Mt Fuji, do you research, consult with your doctor and do some training beforehand.

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