Yes, that is the marker to the top of Fuji that is surrounded by so many Japanese and gaijin (foreigners) alike. Millions of people hike to get here every year, likely with half of them giving up upon reaching the crater. Unfortunately, the peak is on the other side of the crater, and you have to take another 40 minute walk to get there. I strongly suggest going clockwise so you get the chance to glimpse the shadow of the mountain.
The first one’s the real thing, here’s the-picture-to-post-in-social-media.
I’m here to share, and somewhat rant.
It started off well, with the preparations on their way. Then someone semi-cancelled the day before then fully cancelling half an hour before, then ending up with two officemates, one of which I promised to invite should I ended up going up Fuji again (which at the time I had no plans to do haha). So since these are officemates I’ll be working with for a while, cancelling on them last minute was not an option.
We got into the Yoshida trail, and surprisingly, the hometown of the guy I was with is Yamanashi! (Fuji is nestled between Yamanashi and Shizuoka). So this guy knows one of the owners of the stores, and we had a place to ourselves to prepare.
Taking a picture at the bottom jump off, we even had a guy in a dinosaur costume with us! Haha it was too adorable.
Things were going really well. Even if it was raining (so much for me being a 晴れ女/sun lady, like the opposite of 雨女, rain lady).
Then we were getting ready to leave, and since it was raining, I decided to change into my waterproof clothes. While unpacking, I see that I brought three Japanese books with me! Three! I’d say they are about 1.5-2kgs! I used the bag travelling from Nagoya to Tokyo, and forgot to take them out! Aaah, that was a バカ私 (stupid me!) moment. Thankfully, since the guy I was with knew the owner, we could leave some of our stuff! Yey! (Did I mention emotional roller coaster? And we’re just at the jump off)
Then during the hike, we were chatting a lot, even if I miss more than half of the convo coz it’s Japanese. It was fun.
Around 8th station, the guys I was with were tired. Apparently, this is the girl’s their first hike! Darn. And I learn that they started going out that month. Now, let’s explain why this is a reaaally bad thing as far as I’m concerned. I HATE being a third wheel. I didn’t mind before but I had this experience where I went out of town with a new couple and they basically were the sweet new couple. Which is nice. For them. I was better off alone. So no, there’s no way I would voluntarily subject myself to being a third wheel unless it’s an old married couple and I reaaaaaally like one of them (as in a good friend).
Going back. We reach the top (not the summit, the top), and the girl really wanted to sleep. But the thing is it was really cold and they didn’t bring an emergency blanket (even if I told them to), so I had to share mine. So instead of the well prepared me being warm, the three of us were cold. And I was shivering for at least an hour. Yes, I timed.
It was miserable.
Then the guy apparently had altitude sickness since 7th station (which was at least 5 hours before), and decided to keep quiet about it. Darn.
So they were a lot more miserable than me.
I suggested they go down, but I wish to go to the summit so they should go without me. There’s two of them, and the guy had hiked Fuji once before. So off they go (even with me not done packing my bags).
Ok, I am now left alone. Can it get any worse?
I decided to go around the crater clockwise. It was shorter to the summit, and I wanted to go to the toilet. But when I started walking, the crowd on my left was too thick I couldn’t move. Counterclockwise I go.
My headlamp dies.
I took my phone out, turned the torch on, and started my miserable walk. I’m tired, so no thinking…. no thinking. Stop being sad. I hate this hike. I really should be careful on who I make plans with. Only do difficult hikes with trusted, proven people. What did I say about no thinking?!
Oh. I have to pee. Oh crap.
Now I probably am one of the very few who had the opportunity to pee at the crater of Mt. Fuji. Do I care if people likely saw me? Nope. No thinking, remember.
The sun is almost up, thank goodness. I don’t need my headlamp anymore.
I finally reach the summit, and darn was that an ugly summit (remember the first picture?) People crowd against the marker that you can’t take a decent picture. Here you see bad mannered Japanese and foreigners alike. So really. Touristy mountains are no fun.
But I’m done, and since I’m going down, I was planning on semi running to catch up with the other two people I’m with.
I saw the first way down, and I asked one of the strangers if it was the way down. Yes, he said.
I started going down, and from the onset I knew it wasn’t the route I used last year. Every turn I ask people – is this the way to 5th station? They say yes, and point me to the next marker.
One guy decided to run along with me, saying he’s also going to the 5th station. I was semi running down, and this guy was fully running. Whoa. Faster down I go.
Halfway through I saw a sign saying this is the Fujinomiya trail. Oh, thought so. But I figured the trails connect to one another at the 5th station, so no worries.
2.5 hours later we’re done. It’s a record for me. We went really fast, passing people and only resting once – for 3-5 minutes. I’m so proud. Thank You Lord.
But wait, that is NOT the fifth station I know. No, I need to get my books! People are waiting for me! Ok, I’ll just have to walk to the other 5th station.
I ask the guy at the store – Yoshida trail 5th station is on the other side of the mountain! O.O
After a while the guy I was with offered to drive me to the station where I can take the bus up to Yoshida 5th station.
I’m hitchhiking now?
I ask that we take a picture together, and I sent the picture to my sister. I’m not completely stupid. Haha. Just a bit, as this blog is showing.
So we took the bus to the parking lot where he is parked, then got into the car, off to drive an hour to the other station. 10 minutes into it I felt like throwing up. But he wants to talk (in japanese of course) so we talked. With me very close to throwing up.
Oh, and we saw people doing the Fuji marathon! Aaand I still wanna throw up.
We were able to park, and I asked the guy for a meal so I can treat him as thank you (I didn’t think it was appropriate to pay him money).
Thankfully, my officemates decided to meet me in that station with my books so I didn’t have to go up again. Yey!
So my trip was a sad (cancelled) happy (dino!) sad (books?!) happy (i can leave them here!) sad (third wheel) happy (hiking well!) miserable (top) semi happy (summit) really happy (running down and meeting people) sad (i’m on the other side?!) feeling bad (i wanna throw up) happy (books!)
And at the bus someone left his wallet and when i tried to take it, a Chinese guy rushed to take it before I did and said he’ll return it and made a point to check the seat number. I left to get my bags at the luggage compartment, and the Chinese was gone, not returning the wallet. It was stolen right in front of my eyes. I realize I have gotten too comfortable in Japan, and this is a scary reminder that I shouldn’t be.
So that was my less than 24 hour trip. I left at around 2pm to catch the 2.45pm bus, and I was home around 1pm the next day. And I slept the rest of the day. 🙂