Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Japan: Climbing Mount Fuji




July 27, 2023

Visit Japan: Climbing Mount Fuji

During the Covid shutdown, I really got into hiking and I added climbing Mount Fuji to my bucket list. Last year I asked a few friends to join me and started my research. The hiking season is from July to September and there are four trails to the summit; the most popular being the Yoshida trail.  Most hikers plan for a two-day journey which includes a rest stop at a mountain hut and continuing the hike to reach the summit of 3,776 meters above sea level in time for sunrise.

I was sure that the four of us could hike it on our own and set an alarm to make the mountain hut reservation. Ideally, we wanted a mountain hut that was closest to the summit so our hike time in the middle of the night would be minimal. Alas, getting a mountain hut reservation was harder than getting Taylor Swift tickets and we were left with plan B. Plan B was to pay for a hiking guide that included a stay at a mountain hut plus transportation to and from Tokyo. In hindsight, it was the best decision we made.

We ended up selecting Fuji Mountain Guides based on their great reviews and detailed itinerary. We started the day of the hike at a meeting point in Tokyo where we rode a private bus to a service station before heading to the Subashiri Trail 5th station. At the 5th station, we collected our rental gear and acclimated for about an hour.  I already had most of the gear that was needed but rented the rain jacket and pants, backpack, and gaiters.

I liked that our group of 30 plus hikers weren't made to hike together and we could go at our own pace.  A guide was in the front leading, a few spread out in the middle, and a guide at the back so no one was left behind.  At each mountain hut, there was a guide waiting for us to give us directions on how to get to the next mountain hut and gave us an approximate duration of how long it would take. We found it to be pretty accurate and it gave me the motivation I needed to get to the next stop.

Subashiri trail begins in a forest area.

Th volcanic gravel makes it a tough climb.

Getting my first stamp on my stick.

In the clouds.

My sleeping quarters. There were bunks above us and across from us. 

After hiking for hours in cold and super windy conditions, we finally made it to the mountain hut where we would have dinner and rest before the 2:10am wake up call to finish the hike to the summit.  Honestly, I was just so excited to take off my shoes.  There are no showers at the mountain hut so you need to clean up best you can with wipes. There's also no trash cans along the trail so be prepared to pack out all your trash.

What's great about the trail is the number of mountain huts along the way. We stopped at 6 and they all have pay to use toilets as well as sell food and drinks. You won't believe how wonderful it is to have a hot chocolate in the middle of your hike. We each brought about 2 liters of water which was heavy. You could bring less water and buy at the mountain huts as you need it.  You are also able to return empty bottles to the mountain hut provided they are the ones you bought it from. Of course, purchasing water at the mountain hut is pricier.  For example, at one of the higher mountain huts, a small bottle of water was 500 yen.

Hiking at 3am requires head lamps.

The views made the hike worth it.

So thrilled for clear conditions to see the sunrise. Bucket list checked!

The hike to the summit took about two hours as they kept our group together. At the summit we were free to enjoy and explore until it was time to return to the mountain hut to pack up our things and begin the descent. The worst part of the hike for me was the downhill 3-km portion of volcanic gravel which took almost two hours to get through and not without a few tumbles.  I was overjoyed to be done with that. It was a great feeling to emerge from the forest and be greeted by survey takers asking if we had made it to the top. Yes! Yes, we did!

We enjoyed hot udon for lunch as we waited for the rest of the group to finish. The first bus was already full and preparing to leave. Climbing Mount Fuji was not an easy experience, but an amazing one that I am so grateful to have accomplished with the help of great friends.  Our key to success was being prepared.  You need the right gear, to have enough food and water, and in our case we took medication to prevent altitude sickness as well as supplements to help with muscle repair. It was an all around once in a lifetime experience for me!


No comments:

Post a Comment

The posts published on Hawaii Mom Blog are personal experiences and opinions only. Press releases and other information from business are shared if believed they may be of interest to Hawaii Mom Blog readers. Press releases/information from businesses do not reflect personal opinions. Unless otherwise specified, products are provided by the sponsor free of charge, and no monetary compensation is received. Hawaii Mom Blog assumes no liability for any malfunction, injury, or other loss or damage, whether direct, consequential, or incidental, arising out of services, companies, or products that have been featured, reviewed, given away, advertised, or written about on Hawaii Mom Blog. Click here for the Terms of Use.