|Photo from here.|
Mt. Fuji is not the most difficult mountain to climb, and probably any reasonably healthy person can make it to the summit provided they take their time and prepare well. It is still a serious climb though, and shouldn't be taken too lightly- hikers should be prepared for very cold winds at the peak, even during summer, as well as steep, rocky paths and the possibility of altitude sickness.
Getting to Fuji-san during the peak climbing season of August is pretty simple. We caught a bus from Shinjuku in Tokyo up to the 5th Station, the most popular starting point for hikers. Remember to buy bus tickets the day before, because it's a popular destination. We used the Keio bus company, whose office is located near the West Exit of Shinjuku station. The tickets were 2500 yen.
|Leaving Shinjuku for Mt. Fuji, via the cool dragon bus|
|All genki and ready to climb!|
|My walking stick, now complete with stamps from stations 6-9.|
|Climbers taking a break at one of the stations|
|Finally reached the summit, just in time for sunrise!|
As I said, the summit is very cold, so we didn't spend much more than a half an hour there. We got our final stamps on our walking sticks at the last station, checked out the crater inside Fuji-san, took lots of photos and finally began our descent.
Going down the mountain really sucks. You would think that climbing up in the dark would be the hard part, but actually it was slipping our way down the loose gravel path that was most challenging. The constant strain on our knees wasn't pleasant, and we were too busy watching our feet to really take in the scenery. We made pretty good time though, and made it back to the 5th Station at about 9 am.
We were exhausted and filthy, but still had a long bus ride back to our hotel in Shinjuku before we could clean up and rest. Some people stay at the hotels at the 5th Station, which I imagine are probably pretty spendy- but it might be worth it for the shower and bed after the long night of non-stop hiking.
|Not looking so genki now...|
It was a difficult climb, but Fuji-san was well-worth the effort. I am so glad that I took the time to accomplish this, and see the mountain that is so well-loved in Japan. It's an experience that I know I'll never forget.
|We did it!! :D|
What to bring if you plan to climb Mt. Fuji:
Layers: wear a t-shirt, with another warm layer to put on top
a warm coat, water-proof or a shell (light weight water proof windbreaker to wear over a warm layer)
good shoes with traction
spats/crocs (these are shoe covers which attach around your calf); they will help keep gravel out of your shoes on the way down
a head lamp or flashlight, but the head lamp is best (you'll need your hands on the steep parts)
a walking stick
lots of water!
power bars, some kind of snack
your camera, with some extra batteries
first aid kit