The Japanese call it “Fuji-san,” as if it were a dear old friend. It’s not only the tallest mountain in Japan—an almost perfect cone 3,776m (12,388 ft.) high, its majestic peak usually swathed in clouds—it symbolizes the very spirit of their country. Today, about 600,000 people climb Fuji-san every year, mostly on July and August weekends. It’s not like climbing Everest, a challenge for the expert mountaineer; you’ll see everyone from grandmothers to children wending their way up those level slopes. It’s the quintessential Japanese experience.
You don’t need climbing experience to ascend Mount Fuji, just stamina and a good pair of walking shoes. Six well-established trails lead to the summit and another six goes back down. Each is divided into 10 stages,with the actual climb beginning around the fifth stage. From Tokyo, which is only about 100km (62 miles) from Fuji, Kawaguchiko Trail is the least steep and easiest to get to.
- From the starting point, it’s about a 6-hour climb to the summit, with another 3 hours to make the descent. At the top, a 1-hour hiking trail circles crater. The highlight of the classic Fuji climb is to watch the sunrise from the peak, which in summer means being there by 4:30am.
Climbing Mount Fuji is very popular not only among Japanese but also foreign tourists, who seem to make up more than a third of all hikers. The peak season for climbing Mount Fuji is during the school vacations which last from around July 20 to the end of August. The peak of the peak reached during the Obon Weak in mid August , when climbers literally have to stand in queues at some passages.
In order to enjoy a safe hike to the summit of Mount Fuji , it is crucial to bring the proper equipment. Some of the most important are listed below:
- Proper Shoes .
The rocky , steep terrain in some sections and the potential of sudden, strong wind quests are reasons to bring proper hiking shoes which protect your ankles.
- Proper Clothes
Bring proper protection against low temperatures and strong winds. It can be below zero at the summit ,and strong winds often make it even colder. Bring rain gear, as weather conditions can change very quickly on the mountain. Gloves are recommended both against the coldness and for hiking to sleep , rocky passages.
If you hike at night , a flashlight is highly recommended in any season and essential outside of the peak season , when the trail is not illuminated by other hikers . Most people chose head lamps , as they leave both of your hands free.
Particularly on the trails where there are few mountain huts , it is important to bring enough water and food. Mountain offer various meals and drinks. Note, however, that prices increase with altitude . Also , be prepared to carry home the garbage as there are no garbage bins on Mount Fuji.