Crossing Travel
TRAVEL TIPS Thursday, 29 September 2016

Helpful experience to conquer Fuji Mountain, Japan

Mt. Fuji stands 3,776 meters, or 12,388, feet tall. It is an active volcano that last erupted in 1707 A.D.; and it is considered to be overdue for another eruption.

Helpful experience to conquer Fuji Mountain, Japan

Climbing Mount Fuji (3776 meters), Japan's highest and most prominent mountain, can make for lifelong memories. The mountain itself may look more attractive from afar than from close up, but the views on clear days and the experience of climbing through the early morning hours among hundreds of equally minded hikers from across the world are very rewarding.

What should you bring? What should you wear?

Proper hiking shoes 

Some peoples hike with sneakers or even clogs. Don't do that. Wear proper hiking shoes which protect your ankles.

Various layers of clothing 

The temperature on the summit is close to the freezing point while it’s hot and humid at the foot of the mountain. Make sure you dress accordingly and wear many layers so you can adjust to any situation easily.

Rain gear 

Weather conditions can change suddenly. You should have proper rain wear with you. Don’t bring an umbrella. Winds are strong on the mountain, so umbrellas are useless.

Gloves 

To protect your hands from the cold on the summit. You’ll also need them for ascending steep, rocky courses and for descending, when grabbing the ropes so you won’t fall.

Headgear 

In case the sun is burning down or it’s getting extremely cold, you want something on your head (hat, cap).

Sunglasses and sunscreen 

On sunny day, you better have those with you.

Flashlight 

Most people will ascend in the dark to see the sunrise. You’ll need a flashlight – or even better a headlamp or you won’t see a thing. It’s really pitch dark.

Backpack 

Take a lightweight backpack that’s comfortable and just big enough to carry all the things you want to take with you. It’s probably best to have many different pockets, so you won’t have to search long for something (especially in the dark).

Water 

You should bring at least 2 l per person, more is better if you can carry that much. You can buy water at mountain huts, but it’s insanely expensive.

Snacks

It’s a good idea to take bars, biscuits and the likes with you. Japanese convenient stores have lots of stuff like that. Buy that in advance as it’s ridiculously pricy once you’ve reached 5th station and above. Anything that is not heavy, but will give you back some energy is great. Mountain huts offer food, but with the altitude the prices get higher.

Camera

Of course you want to take a camera with you. Gotta take a photo of that sunrise if you can, right?I didn’t dare to take my DSLR with me (which explains the low quality of the photos in this article …), because I was too worried about the typhoon and what it would do to my camera.

Medicine 

You don’t HAVE to bring medicine, but you might want to take pain killers, band-aids and whatever you think you might need with you as long as it’s nothing heavy. If you already know that you’ll suffer from altitude sickness, take an O2 bottle. These can also be bought on the mountain huts but are super expensive there.

Change of clothes 

As the weather can change quickly, you might get soaked. You probably want to bring a change of underwear and socks at least.

When to climb?

Helpful experience to conquer Fuji Mountain, Japan

Early July to mid September is the official climbing season when the trails and mountain facilities are open. During this period the mountain is usually free of snow, the weather is relatively mild, access by public transportation is easy, and the mountain huts are operating. Anyone without much hiking experience is advised to tackle the mountain during the official climbing season. The specific dates depend on the year and trail. In 2016 they are set as follows:

  • Yoshida Trail: July 1 to September 10, 2016
  • Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya Trails: July 10 to September 10, 2016

How much money do you need?

Helpful experience to conquer Fuji Mountain, Japan

Since Mt. Fuji was turned into a UNESCO World Heritage Site it has become even more popular to climb Japan’s highest mountain. Thus, they’ve introduced an admission fee during the climbing season of 1000 yen per person. The money will be used to preserve and protect the environment on Mt. Fuji despite the high number of climbers every year.

Helpful experience to conquer Fuji Mountain, Japan

Toilets also cost money (50-200 yen). If you run out of food or water, you can purchase some at each station, but expect to pay a lot more than usually. Your stay at a mountain hut also costs money (~ 5000 yen) and they only take cash.

Depending on your itinerary you also might need money for your return from the 5th station, so make sure you have enough money to do so.

The trails 

Fuji Mountain is divided into ten stations with the first station at the foot of the mountain and the tenth station being the summit. Paved roads go as far as the fifth station halfway up the mountain. There are four 5th stations on different sides of the mountain, from where most people start their ascent:

Helpful experience to conquer Fuji Mountain, Japan

- Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (Yamanashi Prefecture) Yoshida Trail Altitude: about 2300 meters Ascent: 5-7 hours Descent: 3-5 hours This is the most popular base for the climb to the summit, and the most easily accessible 5th Station from the Fuji Five Lake region and central Tokyo. Lots of mountain huts line the trail around the 7th and 8th stations, and there are separate trails for the ascent and descent. The sunrise takes place on this side of the mountain. 

- Subashiri 5th Station (Shizuoka Prefecture) Subashiri Trail Altitude: about 2000 meters Ascent: 5-8 hours Descent: 3-5 hours This 5th Station is located only at 2000 meters above sea level and is the base of the Subashiri Trail. The Subashiri Trail meets the Yoshida Trail around the 8th station. 

- Gotemba 5th Station (Shizuoka Prefecture) Gotemba Trail Altitude: about 1400 meters Ascent: 7-10 hours Descent: 3-6 hours This is by far the lowest 5th Station, and the ascent to the summit is accordingly much longer than from the other 5th stations. The Gotemba Trail leads from the Gotemba 5th Station to the summit. There are about four huts around the 7th and 8th station. 

- Fujinomiya 5th Station (Shizuoka Prefecture) Fujinomiya Trail Altitude: about 2400 meters Ascent: 4-7 hours Descent: 2-4 hours The closest 5th Station to the summit, the Fujinomiya 5th Station is the base for the southern approach via the Fujinomiya Trail. It is easily accessible from stations along the Tokaido Shinkansen. There are about half a dozen mountain huts along this trail.

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