If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you must be aware that recently I and my husband climbed Mt. Fuji. So, I thought to share our experience and some tips for climbing Mt. Fuji with you guys.
It was a real challenge as it was our first time climbing a mountain. The highest mountain in Japan standing at 3,776 m height. Woah, I still cannot believe we did this.
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There are four major trails for climbing Mt. Fuji:
- Yoshida trail - most popular and well maintained. We took this trail for our hike.
- Subashiri trail
- Gotemba trail
- Fujinomiya trail
There are plenty of mountain huts on all the trails. You can always make a quick or long stop at one of these as per your capacity. You can also get refreshments like tea, soup, coffee, water, etc. at these huts. First-aid services are available at 7th and 8th stations just in case you need them. Apparently, if you do not feel very strong or confident to continue your hike, you can rent a horse. They have this facility between 5th and 7th station at around 30,000¥ (I'd rather climb :p).
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Although I carried my DSLR with me, it was too difficult to take it out every time to click pictures. Hence, it is a mixture of pictures from my iPhone (when it was difficult) and from my camera (when we made a stop somewhere).
10 beginner tips for climbing Mt. Fuji:
- If you are not much into exercising and other physical activities I suggest do some brisk walking or jogging for a few days before the climb. It will really help in reducing the soreness afterwards (but you will still have some).
- Avoid bullet climbing where you ascend the trail non-stop to reach the summit. Start around noon so that you reach halfway or more by evening. Take some rest and then start again at dawn to witness the sunrise at the summit.
- It's a good thing to keep a stock of water and food supplies but don't go overboard. Keep about 1.5 l of water (or mixed liquids) and about 4-5 snack/energy bars per person and save on weight on your shoulders. You can always get more water and snacks at the mountain huts as you go up.
- Always go for climbing shoes instead of running shoes or sneakers. The trail at Mt. Fuji is covered in gravel and basalt rocks from the volcano, especially in the descending trail. If you're not in proper shoes, it might be a task.
- Carry a large loose change (we carried almost 50 100¥ coins) as you'll need it every time you use the restroom starting from the 5th station. It's 100¥ at the 5th station and it rises to 200¥/300¥ as you go up higher. At places, there will be a guard to collect the tip and at places, there will be a tip box at the entrance to the restroom. It will be difficult to get a change there.
- Keep a power bank if you can. Apparently, try keeping your phone at flight mode or use it cautiously or else you will run out of power when you need it. You will definitely need your phone to be active on social media because it's Japan and you have wi-fi on Mt. Fuji! WHAT?
- At the 5th station, the climate is normal but it keeps on changing while on the mountain. Keep easy-to-layer clothes (e.g. a long sleeve tee, a pullover, a warm coat, warm inners while nearing the summit, etc.) to put on and off as and when the climates changes to the colder side and vice versa while climbing. Be sure to keep rain wear instead of umbrellas and ponchos; umbrellas and ponchos can't normally withstand the strong winds. It almost always rains once or often on Mt. Fuji.
- Don't forget these: warm coat/fleece, hat/cap, gloves, clothes in layers, sunscreen (a MUST), rain wear, rain proof bag or rain cover for bag, sunglasses, face mask (at times it becomes dusty so it's better to have something to protect your face and mouth), band-aids/first-aid, head lamp (for climbing at night), small/face towel, personal care items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.), and a garbage bag to bring back your trash as there are no trash bins on Mt. Fuji.
- Keep a camera to capture the beauty. I know phones come with pretty good quality cameras these days but let's be honest, to climb up that high for the first time and not take gorgeous pictures is too difficult for me.
- Lastly, it's always helpful to carry poles while climbing Mt. Fuji, I especially found it really helpful while descending as it was more difficult than ascending. I imagined myself falling off Mt. Fuji if I didn't have those poles 😀
You can climb Mt. Fuji on your own or take a tour. I suggest taking a tour with a guide if it is your first time. If you take a guided tour, you can also opt for a rental tour plan in which the tour operator provides you with basics like climbing boots, bag, rain wear, poles, etc; we went with a guided tour by Willer Express and took a rental package tour. They also have English-speaking staff which is an added benefit.
Overall, climbing Mt. Fuji is a difficult affair for a first timer but it is so much worth doing. You will find people of all ages including kids and old people climbing the mountain. It really gave so much satisfaction and peace to me that I felt much content. After this, we headed to an onsen to relax at Lake Kawaguchi. 😀
Have you climbed Mt. Fuji or any other mountain? Share your experiences with me if you have, in the comment section. If not, I really hope you found this post helpful and plan on climbing Mt. Fuji soon. 🙂