Hiking Japan's Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji - a practical guide
Every Japanese citizen should climb Mount Fuji at least once in their lifetime. For other nationalities it’s highly recommended. Climbing Japan’s highest (3776m) and most prominent mountain is a life changing achievement. This iconic peak is a beauty seen from a distance, but those who climb it on a clear day will be rewarded with equally stunning panoramic views.
How to get there from Tokyo?
Mount Fuji is located within a short distance of capital Tokyo. Those who wish to climb the mountain have the option of taking the bus or the train. The Highway bus is the cheapest option and is the easiest option during the high season. It takes you directly from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th Station ( Fuji Subaru Line one), the starting point of the most popular Yoshida trail. The train is slightly more expensive and takes you from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki where you can transfer the Fujikyuko Railway to Kawaguchiko.
What is the climbing season?
Unless you are an experienced climber, it is advisable to climb Mount Fuji during the climbing season. This takes place from early July to mid September as this is when the trails are free of snow and the mountain facilities are open. The Yoshida trail opens on the 1st of July, while the Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya trails open on the 10th. All trails close at September 10th.
Mount Fuji is divided at ten stations with the first one being at the base and the tenth one being the summit. All of the trails aren’t that technical difficult so a guide is not necessary. Most climbers start their journey at one of the four 5th stations to be found on the sides of the mountain.
The Yoshida trail is the most popular trail to the summit. This is because it’s one of the easiest to reach 5th station from central Tokyo. There are several huts around the 7th and 8th station and a different trail for descending. To reach the summit, hikers need to gain about 1400 meters of altitude, which takes about 5-7 hours to complete. Since there is a long descent and most hikers want to reach the summit at sunrise, the climb is often done in two days.
The Subashiri trail starts from the Subashiri 5th station which is less developed than the one where the Yoshida trail starts. However it meets the Yoshida trail around the 8th station. The climb is slightly longer (5-8 hours) and to reach the summit, one must gain about 1700 meters.
The Gotemba trail starts at the lowest 5th station, which means you need to gain 2300 meters of altitude. Most hikers take about 7-10 hours to reach the summit. Around the 7th and 8th station there are four mountain huts where you can spend the night.
This is the shortest trail to the summit. It starts at an altitude of 2400 meters and takes about 4-7 hours to complete. There are six mountain huts along the trail, making a two day climb an option.