At 3,776 meters high, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and a symbol of the country. It is located about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo and is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers. The volcano has been an important part of Japanese culture for centuries and has often been immortalized in works of art and poetry. Mount Fuji is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts millions of visitors every year who come to admire its majestic beauty.
You don’t need any maps to climb Mount Fuji. Japan’s basic principle: safty first! Everything is extremely well signposted and secured. This also means that you don’t need any technical climbing experience. During the short summer season, the summit is free of snow and ice. However, sturdy footwear is recommended as the ground is volcanic and therefore sharp-edged and dusty.
We decided to do a night hike on the Yoshida Trail, which starts from the 5th station. The Yoshida Route is generally open from July 1st to September 15th. You should avoid the weekends and the period between August 13th and 16th, as all Japanese people are on vacation then.
!!! The most important and really serious point is the height of 3776 meters. On the one hand, some people react at this altitude with dizziness, nausea and headaches. On the other hand, it can get very cold even in midsummer. We got to the 9th station (3450 m) too quickly and waited there for over two hours in a shelter sheltered from the wind. The cold really got into our bones! For you, this means packing warm clothing in your backpack that matches the onion look. At the summit the weather can change quickly from sunny and warm to wet, windy and cold. Before climbing, find out about the weather forecast in advance. We planned our climb according to the forecasts.
“He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man; he who climbs twice is a fool.” – a reason why almost every Japanese wants to climb Mount Fuji once in their life.
Planning for a Fuji climb without an overnight stay
Answer the following basic questions:
- Do you want a guided tour?
No: then just read on. The climb can be done by almost anyone alone!
Yes: Then you don’t need to read any further, just contact a local organizer. A guided tour costs between 50,000 and over 100,000 yen. If you are unsure maybe a good and safe alternative.
- Do you want to see the “Goraiko” sunrise from Fujiyama? (If you say “no”, everything that follows is no longer as important)
Yes: Then the next question arises.
- Do you want to plan an overnight stay on the mountain?
No: Then it’s best to start in the evening from the 5th station at 10:00 p.m. It is a 6.8km climb. This takes around 5 to 7 hours. We did the climb in 4 hours. The advantage here is that you don’t have to plan and pay for an overnight stay. A price of 10,000 yen just to spend the night on a narrow futon in a room with a lot of other hikers didn’t convince us.
Yes: There are a lot of huts along the four possible hiking trails. They should be contacted very early on. After arriving at the 5th station, you can relax and hike to the 6th or 7th station and move into your bed.
- Which path or route do you want to take? There are four different paths you can use. Yoshida Trail, Subashiri Trail, Gotemba Trail and Fujinomiya Trail. We chose the Yoshida Trail, like more than half of all hikers. This route is considered relatively easy and has good infrastructure.
- Do you want to climb Mount Fuji during the day?
Yes: Then let me tell you that you are missing an absolute Japan highlight! Especially since climbing Fuji during the day is an extremely sweaty affair. There are no shadows after leaving the 6th station! The view from the summit is correspondingly dominated by light, meaning the landscape contours are faint.
Mount Fuji | Our tour guide for a night hike in July 2023
Distance: 13.6 km for the ascent and descent.
Starting location: 5th station on the Fuji-Subaru line
Destination: 5th station on the Fuji-Subaru Line
Mt. Fuji climb without sleeping – Our Experience
|It is a 6.8km climb and is estimated to take around 5 to 7 hours of hiking time. A total of 1452 meters of altitude have to be overcome. The Yoshida hiking trail has yellow markings. We did the climb at night in 4 hours. The Yoshida Route is open from July 1st to September 15th. You can find detailed information about the individual stations in the stages.|
|The journey from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko Station takes 3 hours on JR. From Shinjuku we took a JR regional train to Otsuki. A private train runs from here, which is not included in the JR pass and costs around 2,000 yen (16 euros) for a return trip to Kawaguchiko. From there, buses (Fuji-Subaru Line) run at least once an hour to the 5th station on Mount Fuji.|
|You don’t need any special skills or conditions for the 13.6 km ascent and descent. Be careful at the altitude of 3776 m. Altitude sickness and cold can become a problem here. Be sure to wear warm clothing. Freezing point even in summer.|
|You should bring a certain amount of change with you on this tour. Use of toilets costs between 100 and 300 yen at the 7th station. A bottle of water costs 800 yen on the mountain.|
|The Yoshida Trail has the advantage that you pass a relatively large number of huts. Here you can enrich yourself with liquids and snacks.|
|You can of course find further information about specific mountain huts online. We left that out here because we weren’t planning on staying overnight. It goes without saying that camping is not an option on Mount Fuji.|
|The route is characterized by wide lava fields. The climb is often a bit rocky, stony between the 7th and 8th stations. The path is well developed. The descent takes a different route and is characterized by gravel and lava dust.|
|Be careful with sudden weather changes! There is no drinking water on longer sections! Be prepared for cold and wet conditions.|
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