Mt. Fuji Climbing
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters, a free-standing mountain with an elegant shape that is one of the many reasons this mountain has been long admired.
*Climbing Mt. Fuji in Summer
The season for climbing Mt. Fuji opens on July 1 with a ceremony and ends in late August. It is best for most people to climb during this period when the mountain lodges and first-aid centers are in business, although experienced mountain climbers sometimes climb in other seasons. The routes are well maintained and no special climbing techniques are necessary. More than 200,000 people of all ages climb the mountain every year. The average temperature, however, at the summit is around 5 degrees C even in summer and there may be strong winds and heavy rain. There is also the risk of lightning and altitude sickness. Because Mt. Fuji is more than 3,000 meters high, you should be well prepared the equipment and serious about the climb.
Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku and change to the Fujikyu Railway train at Otsuki. Railfans will enjoy riding on the “Azusa” and “Kaiji” limited express trains on the JR Chuo Line, and the “Fuji-tozan densha” and “Fujisan tokkyu” on the Fujikyu Line. The “Kawaguchiko-go” rapid train runs directly from Omiya to Kawaguchiko on holidays. Get off at Fujisan Station or Kawaguchiko Station, and take a bus to the trail entrances.
There are four main climbing routes.
The “Yoshida Route” is in Yamanashi Prefecture (the Kawaguchiko side) with two trail entrances. Srtarting at the 5th Station (gogome) of the Fuji Subaru Rain Road, also called the Kawaguchiko entrance, is the most popular. The guidelines say it requires 6 hours 50 minutes to go up and 3 hours 20 minutes to come down. There are many lodges along the way so you will feel safe. Not only from the summit but also from the 7th or 8th stations, you can see the sunrise. Hike up among the lava rocks on the sand gravel trail and take a rest in one of the four lodges at the summit.
The lower entrance is 1st Station (ichigome) and takes an estimated time of 9 hours up and 4 hours 40 minutes down. This trail has retained an old-time atmosphere and recently has been attracting Mt. Fuji lovers as the best way to enjoy the Great Nature of the revered mountain. There are sightseeing spots along the trail, such as the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine at the foot and the Naka no Chaya (tea room).
Kongozue, a pilgrim’s walking stick sold at the entrances for about 1,000 yen, can be branded by each lodge you pass for around 200 yen. It is a good souvenir.