We all have a list of things we want to do before the year ends and on top of my list was to climb mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan. Although the are a lot of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, I finally had a chance to climb mount Fuji with friends this summer. I`d like to share my experience and create a guide to climbing mount fuji for aspiring climbers in the future.
Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and it is worldwide known for its beauty and perfect cone shape. It stands at 3,776 meters. It is nowhere near Mt Everest or Mt Kilimanjaro but it`s not an easy hike either. Mount Fuji is a tough hike. Sneakers and Jeans will not do good for your hike.
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Beginners guide to climbing mount Fuji
Mount Fuji was registered as a world heritage in 2013. Its beauty attracts 300,000 mountaineers every year before the pandemic. There are thousands of climbers a day and this usually causes congestion but there were very few foreign climbers this time. Paths were clear and the climb flow was smooth.
So, what else can you expect when climbing mount Fuji?
Altitude sickness is real. Don`t underestimate it. It helps so much if you stay in for the night at the 7th station so you can get used to the high altitude. You can book guesthouses for 10,000 yen ($100) and sleep for at least 6 hours. Get some rest and be ready to climb to the summit.
Mount Fuji is only open in Summer. It is only permitted to climb when the trails are open since it can be very dangerous to climb in other seasons. 2021 climbing season started on July 1st and ends on September 10. Although, the 5th station is open all seasons. It`s the starting point to climb.
There are four trails available in climbing mount Fuji. The Yoshida trail is the most popular and the easiest since there are more shops along the trail. It is best recommended for beginners.
You can check more information on Mount Fuji`s Official website.
How to get there
Buses from Shinjuku station are fewer than before because of the Pandemic. They offer direct transport from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to the 5th station of Mount Fuji where the climb starts. The trip takes 3-4 hours, depending on the traffic, and costs a reasonable one-way price of 2950 yen ($30).
Cost and expenses breakdown
Climbing Mount Fuji is no cheap. I spent a total of 40,000 yen ($400) for the entire trip. It was the best decision to stay in the middle of the mountain to get enough rest but you can save your $100 dollars from the guest house.
We needed to take a lot of coins since toilets are not for free. Water and food are twice expensive in the mountain. It is better to buy your food and drinks at a local supermarket or convenience store.
Since I don`t have proper mountaineering shoes and clothes, I had to rent a set for 10,000 yen ($100). It is best to rent an entire 6-pieces set for beginners but if you have some clothes, you can rent only shoes or a backpack.
Other expenses are entrance fees, food, and souvenirs. You can buy souvenirs such as cookies, sweets, clothes, and t-shirts at the fifth station. You can also collect stamps (300 yen) along the climb.
Climbing Mount Fuji needs a decent plan and preparation. You need to prepare your body to cope with the high altitude and long trek.
The best thing to do is try hiking low mountains before your trip. To prepare your body, you can exercise and get used to activities such as running, steps, squats, or cycling for at least a month.
What to bring on Mount Fuji hike
Before the climb, I had no idea what to expect and bring with me so I also did my research. Here is a list of the things you need to bring for your trip:
- A solid hiking backpack
- Rainwear to protect yourself from the wind. Waterproof jacket and pants
- Headlights / torch since you will be climbing at night
- Trekking shoes. Sneakers are a no no
- A down jacket. Temperature can drop to zero or sometimes negative and it`s windy. Having a downkacket is very helpful and convinient to carry.
- Underwear and heat tech undershirts. It`s very cold at night and at the summit
- Snacks such as peanuts, chocolate bars, rice balls, cookies and chips
- 1 or 2 liter of water. Bringing 2 liters can be heavy so you can bring just one and refill it later
- Trash bags. It is strickly no littering on top so everyone must bring their trash back
- Cash especially 100 yen coins. They don`t use credit cards and using the toilet costs 100 or 200 yen
- Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, and dust mask to protect yourself from the sun
- Earplugs. Guest houses can be crowded and you will be sleeping next to each other and it can be noisy at night. Some climbers snore!
- Wet wipes. There are no showers in the mountain
My experience climbing mount Fuji
It was a spectacular and valuable experience for me. I will forever cherish this memory since I have never pushed myself to do something big until I climbed it. I might not climb again since it was really tough and expensive but I highly recommend it to everyone. Climb the tallest mountain in Japan at least once.
We started the climb at around 2 o’clock and reached the 7th station at 4:30 PM. We picked the best day to climb because the weather was so clear and sunny. We could see the blue sky and it was the most beautiful thing I`ve ever seen.
We had curry and rice for dinner at 5PM and went to bed at 6PM.
Although the climb was not always glamour. When we started the hike at dawn, I started to feel nauseous and had headaches. The best thing to do is to take a break and slow down. Allow your body to adjust to the altitude.
Reaching the summit was the goal here and we finally did it at 5:30 AM for the sunrise (goraiko in Japanese) It was such a beautiful scene and to witness the sun slowly rise was out of this world.
After reaching the summit, we ate breakfast and bought some stamps. What`s amazing is that you buy a postcard stamp on top of mount fuji and send it to your loved ones. You can have a look at the crater, rest, and then go back.
Now going down is tougher than the climb for me. My knees were fragile and hurt a lot at the end. I almost wanted to give up but I couldn`t do anything but do my best and go home!
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OVER TO YOU
Climbing Mount Fuji has been on top of my list for years while I`m living in Japan and I finally crossed it out of the list. It was such a valuable and rewarding experience for me. if you want to experience the same, use this as your guide to climbing Mount Fuji, especially if it`s your first time.
I hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. If you want to work and live in Japan, you can check how I landed a job article. If you are on the fence about whether you would like to visit Japan or not, this article will convince you to.
QUESTION: Would you climb Mount Fuji? What`s the best part of climbing a mountain?
Japan has so much more to offer. Explore the country, imbibe with culture and gain unique experiences and bring home some Omiyage (souvenirs) for your friends and family.
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