Mount Fuji appeals to the imagination all over the world and as a Japanese you must have climbed it once. As a tourist you can also climb it and it is a special experience.
About Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and to reaches an altitude of 3776 meters. The mountain is actually a volcano whose crater has a diameter of 4 kilometers. Mount Fuji has been declared sacred by Japan. There is a saying about Mount Fuji that states that you are a wise person when you climb Mount Fuji, but you are a fool when you do it a second time. And the Japanese are right about that, because the climb to the top is an exhausting competition. But that is well made up for once you reach the top, because the view is overwhelming.
Climbing Mount Fuji is immensely popular. About 200,000 people climb the holy mountain every year. So you won't be the only one. In 663 a monk climbed the mountain for the first time, after which many followed. There are 4 routes that lead to the top. The Yoshida trail from the north side takes 5 to 7 hours to the summit. You don't need a guide as you can just follow the crowds up.
How to get there?
Mount Fuji and the surrounding area is easily accessible from Tokyo, the volcano is 112 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. You can take the train or the bus. The Fujikyu and Keio Bus take two hours on the ride between Shinjuku bus terminal in Tokyo and Kawaguchiko Station. Most buses also stop at the mountain if you want to climb it. If you have a JR Pass you can also take a train. This also goes via Fujisan Station to Kawaguchi-ko Staion, it takes about 2.5 hours. From Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, take the JR Chuo Line to Otsuki. There you buy a ticket for the Fujikyu Line to Kawaguchi-ko Station. This part of the trip is not covered with your JR Pass and costs ¥ 1140. The entire train journey is only covered with the Tokyo Wide Pass. At the station in Tokyo you can get a handy timetable of the trains to Otsuki and to Kawaguchiko.
When to climb
The best time to visit Mount Fuji is in the months of July and August. During these months, the temperature during the day is pleasant and the nights are not too cold. The Japanese authorities even advise against climbing Mount Fuji outside of this season, as the weather conditions will be very severe. During this season it is therefore very crowded on Mount Fuji, so it is better to put on your hiking boots and leave early in the morning. You spend the nights in so-called mountain huts. They open their doors mid-June and close mid-September. If you do decide to climb the mountain out of season, it is wise to keep an eye on the weather conditions. When there is snow and ice on the mountain, Mount Fuji is a seriously dangerous place for hiking.
Which route to choose?
There are ten starting stations where you can start your tour to the top of Mount Fuji. The traditional route, called the Yoshidaguchi Trail, leaves from the base station in the village. This route was the traditional pilgrimage route. The walk is a total of 19 kilometers and takes around twelve hours. Most walkers opt for a faster route and start at one of the following four stations that can be reached by bus or train. The Kawaguchi-ko Trail is the most popular route. This route starts from Kawaguchi-ko (2305 meters) and has the most modern facilities along the way. The least tourist route is the Subashiri Trail. This route starts at Subashiri Station (1980 meters) and takes you through a beautiful forest. The Fujinomiya Trail, which starts at Fujinomiya Station (2380 meters), is the best option for travelers arriving in Mount Fuji from Nagoya or Kyoto. The last route is the Gotemba Trail. This starts at a station that is 1440 meters high. The route takes 7.5 hours. Most hikers start their climb at the end of the afternoon and try to reach a mountain hut that same day so that they can continue their walk early the next day.
Tips to climb Mount Fuji
Of course you take the most beautiful picture of the summit during sunrise. Most tourists and Japanese therefore climb to the 7th or 8th resting place. Here you can spend the night in huts and climb to the top the next morning to fill your SD card with beautiful pictures! The sunrise is usually around 4:30 am to 5:00 am in the summer.