On Top of Japan’s Crown

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July 31-August 1, 2017

Warning: This is a long post. 

I’ve decided I’m going up Mt. Fuji a year ago. Unfortunately, Mt. Fuji is only open during summer – July to September. Hence, I had to wait an entire year. But the wait is now over, and off I go!

Preparing of the Hike

  • Mountain huts – they can be reserved via call or online. I used the online reservation. Basically I paid JPY1,000 via credit card to reserve a spot.  We stayed at Taishikan at 3,100 meters. In hindsight, I think the best one is the one with Tomoe – it’s higher than Taishikan, but not that high. They sell out fast – so you need to book at least a month in advance. After paying the reservation fee of JPY1,000, you then pay the hut. I think we paid around JPY8,500. Yeah, it’s pretty steep.
  • Bus tickets can also be reserved online. It’s JPY5,400 roundtrip. One option is to reserve the way to go to 5th station, and just buy the tickets at the 5th station going back. That way, you don’t have the time crunch when going down.
  • The most feared altitude sickness – there’s no way around it. Just be sure to run / do a pre-hike. We brought oxygen cans, and while I didn’t use mine, my friend said it doesn’t really work for altitude sickness.
  • Bring about three thermal layers. That should be enough. Don’t forget gloves and hat/bonnet. Oh, and headlamp.
  • Regarding the weather, there’s not much you can do. However, don’t take the forecasts as the final word. The forecast in our hike was consistently “thunderstorm”, and we had a really good weather – cloudy and NOT raining.

Our Itinerary

  • 07:45 Left Shinjuku
  • 10:30 Arrived at 5th station
  • 11:00 Started hike
  • 14:40 Reached 8th station, rested in our accommodations
  • 16:00 Dinner was served. Breakfast was also given out – bread, a bottle of water, plus a microwaved rice ish thing that did NOT taste good.
  • 01:15 Woke up, got ready for the hike, started eating our breakfast
  • 01:30 Started ascent
  • 04:40 Reached the top of Mt. Fuji! From here on, you have the choice of going around the crater to reach the summit, and it’ll take around 50 minutes one way. My group decided not to.
  • 05:50 Started descent
  • 09:30 Reached 5th station
  • 10:30 Ate brunch, changed clothes, shopping, etc.
  • 11:00 Left 5th station for Shinjuku

Quick Comments

  • There’s a JPY1,000 donation at the entrance. It’s a donation, but it’s strongly recommended.
  • Bring plenty of JPY100 coins. In the toilets, there are no change machines. It starts at JPY100 in 5th station, and goes up to JPY200 in the seventh station, to JPY300 (I think) at the top.
  • After we hit the 3,100 meters, our group decided to do a 20 minute walk – 5 minute rest hike plan. Whenever one of us gets dizzy, we set a 30 minute rest. I think we did two 30 minutes stops – on day 1, at 2,700 meters, and on day 2, at around 3,300 meters.
  • There are a number of restaurants at the top. When resting, take your time drinking/eating what you ordered. At one point, we were kicked out because we drank everything too fast.
  • Drinks hit JPY400/500 once you go above 5th station.
  • No need to bring trekking pole. You’ll survive. What you need are trekking shoes. But it you really want a pole, you can actually buy one of the sticks in Mt. Fuji. It’s JPY1000 ish for the stick. It will be stamped at each station (each inn even), at around JPY300-JPY500 per stamp.
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The view at 5th station.
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Vegetation becomes more and more scarce as you go up. This is the view going to 7th station. See those houses? Those are the “mountain huts”. 
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Going up 8th station! The ropes are sturdy at this point. The others are NOT. So do not assume that they are all sturdy and thus can be used going up. 
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This is where we stayed! We were supposed to get here at 6pm, but we got here around 2:40pm. Oopsie.  
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So we decided to take a walk. See, that’s the Northern Wall. 

Since there’s really nothing to see, we just went off to sleep. But we couldn’t. I think I got a grand total of 2 hours of sleep. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t. 😦

We started going up, and since it’s pitch black, there are no pictures. Oh, ok. It’s not pitch black. It’s like this:

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You can see the lights of what I assume is Fujinomiya. 
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And YES! We made it to the top, with the sun just starting to peek!
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Hello sunrise! From the top of Japan! You see that body of water? We believe that’s Lake Kawaguchiko. 
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This is the view from the other perspective (post-sunrise)
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The final (?) stamp – the stamp at the top of Mt. Fuji!
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The view at the crater – see that peak on the other side? That’s the official summit. 
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Going down was magical. The pictures don’t do it justice – I honestly felt I was walking amongst the clouds. 
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Oh, and though we’re hiking during the weekday, the crowd is still there. This is the usual way with the tours – they have groups of people sticking together. 
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The descent gets pretty steep and slippery. The soil is extremely soft, and the slope goes as high as 45 degrees or more (I think). 
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But that’s all WORTH it! Yey!

 

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