In terms of tourism, Japan is a country that continues to grow from year to year. It must be said that with its Zen gardens , its castles dating from feudal times, its Shinto shrines and its many other tourist sites such as Mount Fuji , it offers a very wide range of tourist activities to do during your vacation. However, although some, such as visiting a medieval castle, do not require any special preparation, this is not the case for climbing Mount Fuji. This is why we have decided to share with you a short road guide which will allow you to learn a little about this volcano and the preparations necessary for its ascent.
About Mount Fuji
Culminating at 3776 meters above sea level, Mount Fuji is more than just a volcano for the Japanese people. Sitting with pride for hundreds of years, he has had ample time to immerse himself in Japanese culture and fully integrate into a number of artistic fields. For example, it has inspired many haiku masters who have used it as a major source of inspiration.
Mist and rain
the veiled Fuji
despite everything, I walk, happy
We also find Mount Fuji a lot in Japanese prints from the Edo period. Particularly in those of Hokusai who is the author of the series “36 views of Mount Fuji” which includes the famous painting The Great Wave of Kanagawa . Finally, more than a simple montage, Mount Fuji is a sacred place for the Japanese people which must be careful not to damage while respecting the place (no waste on the ground, etc.).
What you need to know before you go
Firstly, if like many you are staying in Tokyo, the easiest way to get to Mount Fuji will be to take the bus from Shinjuku station which will take you in 2.5 hours directly to station 5 of Mount Fuji. From there you will then have four trails that you can take.
- the Yoshida trail
- the Fujinomiya trail
- the Subashiri trail
- the Gotemba trail
The Yoshida trail is certainly the most used and the easiest to get to the top of Mount Fuji because it is the one that benefits from the most infrastructure and overall the path to take is not too steep. You will therefore be able to climb the Japanese volcano with your family. Be careful though, a minimum level of physical condition is still required and the lack of oxygen once you reach the top could be problematic for older people or those with respiratory problems.
Climbing Mount Fuji itself does not cost money if you do not go through a travel agency, however it is common to pay for a sort of wooden medallion once you arrive there (1000¥ = 8.50 €) in order to contribute to the maintenance of the stations, it will also be a good souvenir. You will find a total of ten stations spread out at different altitudes and you will be able to stay in a lodge located 1h30 from the summit of the mountain if you wish to cut your ascent in two and be able to admire the sunrise from the top of the volcano. Generally if you take the Yoshida trail it will take you between five to six hours to go up and three hours to come down. Finally, Mount Fuji is only open to hikers between July 1 and August 31.
The equipment to provide
As Mount Fuji is a very touristy site, you will find a lot of people there and still a lot of infrastructure installed. Therefore you do not risk much by venturing there. However, if you do not take the time to plan the necessary materials and equipment you could well ruin your climb personally. Here is a list of things you will need to take with you:
- Warm clothing : Even though the weather can seem hot at the base of the mountain, especially in summer, it would be a mistake to dress in the same way as if you were planning to go for a walk in the forest. Once located at the summit of Mount Fuji the temperatures are between 5°C to 8°C, therefore it is crucial to anticipate and take at least a warm fleece, a hat and gloves to protect your fingers and ears which are both very sensitive to cold. Finally, it is also ideal to bring waterproof clothing because storms and downpours are common at the top of the volcano.
- A good travel backpack : It goes without saying that a travel backpack is essential if you want to climb Mount Fuji. However, it is especially important to choose one that you feel comfortable with because you will have to wear it for several hours with a more or less heavy load inside. So remember to check that the straps do not hurt your shoulders, for example.
- Hiking shoes : The most common pitfall with hiking shoes is buying a new pair to prepare to climb Mt. This is certainly one of the worst mistakes to make because your foot will not yet have made its mark in the shoes and it is certain that you will have blisters on your heels. If you don't already have one, a good pair of sneakers with tight laces will do the trick.
- Water : The higher you are, the more expensive water will be because it is difficult to transport. Therefore, even if you don't see yourself leaving with the 2L of water needed per person in your bag, try to take at least 1L so as not to have to spend too much.
- Change in cash : On the mountain water is expensive but also toilets, so don't forget to take a few thousand yen with you to be sure to be safe from toilet problems. In addition, there is a small market at the top where you will find lots of souvenirs to buy and it would be a shame to realize once you get there that you don't have the money to buy what you want.
- A headlamp : If you plan to do the ascent in two stages to be able to admire the sunrise from the top of the mountain, you will need to leave the lodge around two or three o'clock in the morning. Consequently it will be dark and the top of the mountain is not the least steep path, it will be much more prudent to take a headlamp or flashlight to finish the ascent of the Japanese volcano without risk.
- A camera : Although not vital to a successful ascent, the camera will be welcome if you want to keep some memories of your trip once you return from vacation.
- A swimsuit : Possibly for the bravest who would like to swim in one of the five lakes bordering Mount Fuji, a swimsuit can also be brought if you have room in your bag.