Article by: Muhammad Alif
For those people out there who are still haven’t climbed Fuji and wishing to do so, well this guide is made for you to read and comprehend. I am not an experienced hiker myself but yeah, for the experience I had during my 2 days ascending and descending Fuji, it won’t hurt to share some tips and tricks for the pleasure of your upcoming trip! (Disclaimer: The guide will be solely based on my experience climbing it, thus, you might find it incomplete though I will try my best to make it as useful as possible)
Therefore, shall we begin?
Introduction to Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji or also known as Fuji-san by the Japanese, is the tallest mountain and also an active volcano in Japan reaching the height of 3776.24m, where the temperature at the peak can go as low as 2⁰C (based on my experience) during the summer. The seasonal climb would be during the summer as the off-season climb would be the time other than summer. Lol. Well, during summer, the ice on the mountain melts away, so you can climb a bit easier. Or maybe much easier, depending on your body’s fitness.
Preparations to climb Mt. Fuji
So what should you bring to climb this tallest mountain in Japan? Well, here are some things that you can equip yourselves to help you out during your journey.
Getting to Fuji
There are technically lots of ways to get yourself to the foot of Mt. Fuji, and this is where the guide is going to be a little bit incomplete. For those who are from Tokyo, or wanting to visit Fuji from the Kantou region, well, read this!
Do you have a car?
Yes? Then drive it straight up the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station and park your vehicles there!
Yes but there is a traffic restriction* Well then get yourself to the Kawaguchiko Station and park somewhere nearby and ride the bus up to the 5th Station!
*according to the website www.fujisan-climb.jp, there is a period of restriction where personal vehicles are not allowed to go up till the 5th Station. Probably to avoid road congestion.
For those not owning any personal vehicles such as myself, feel free to take a train ride to the Kawaguchiko Station, and then you can ride the bus up to the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station. As for me, I didn’t arrive in time and too late for the last bus trip (8pm), so I went with a cab instead. The price was, yeah, a cab, in a country called Japan, man, it is absolutely not cheap! It was around 12k yen. Thankfully, I shared it with another 3 passengers, one is my friend, and the other 2 were some tourists arriving late just like me wanting to climb Fuji as well. Such luck!
*make sure to check the bus schedule properly!
After reaching the 5th Station, pay a visit to the information centre to get a map and some briefing from the rangers there. Not sure if it is compulsory but, better safe than sorry! After all, we are the tourists! 🙂
There are 4 different trails available in order to reach the summit and the shortest trail would be the Fujinomiya Trail, will take you at least 5 hours to reach the top, while the longest trail, the Gotemba Trail will take you at least 7 hours. And for those who are from the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station will not use any of those mentioned trails and will instead use the Yoshida Trail that will at least take you 6 hours to reach the summit. Lol. But worry not as the Yoshida Trail is probably the easiest trail out of the 4 trails available (and also the most crowded!).
I took the Yoshida Trail and made it to the 9th Station which is the last station before the top and eventually made it to the top itself. You can rest at every station to help catch your breath before going onto the next climb. The last ascend, which is the climb after the 9th Station in order to reach the summit would probably be the hardest climb of all the climbs during the Fuji hike as the number of climbers increases dramatically because the climbers from another trail (Subashiri Trail) will merge together with those from the Yoshida Trail and the road will be surprisingly congested (probably during the peak of the climbing season). The last climb is also known as the summit attack. Well, you attack the summit. Eh hehe.
*the 9th Station is also known as the old 8th Station.
The 4 trails available to get to the top of Fuji.
Reaching the summit is one thing, and holding off against the strong wind and chilling temperature is another thing. If you have extra cash to spend on, you might want to try the restaurant situated on top of Fuji, not sure what the name of the restaurant was, but you can enjoy yourself some hot meals, and hot chocolate drinks! But remember! Only if you have some extra cash! Because the price is outrageous! Well of course! They probably climb Fuji every single day to restock supplies lol.
Descending on Yoshida Trail will take at least 4 hours, or 3 hours and a half if you are fast. This is where the road won’t be easy for those who wear sneakers or other improper foot wears. The road is slippery as it is made of gravel rocks, and every time you slide, you hurt your feet. You will be reminded a lot of times, to only follow the Yoshida Trail during the descend and not to turn into other trail, (supposedly Subashiri Trail) as it will lead you to Shizuoka, an absolutely different region, and the Kawaguchiko Station is not there and you will end up extremely far away from your starting point.
Train – 4000 yen (direct from home, back and forth)
Taxi – 12000 yen (to the 5th Station, shared by 4 person)
Bus – 1300 yen (from the 5th Station to Kawaguchiko Station)
I guess that is all what you need to know in order to climb Mt. Fuji. You might find a much better guide on the internet or somewhere else, but this one right here is written based on my own experience of climbing it. To be honest, the climb was very tiring, and the descend was very excruciating, but overall, being able to conquer Fuji is something worth hurting my feet for. Indeed. Have fun climbing!