October 12, 2018

Guide to Climbing Mount Fuji

I successfully climbed Mount Fuji on 29 August 2018. Yeay!!!

If you wanna add climbing the highest mountain in Japan to your bucket list, here's some guides for you.

When to climb?
The official climbing season for Mount Fuji is from early July to mid September (specific dates depend on the year and trail). Other than this period, it is not advisable to climb as there are no mountain facilities, and there is no one to assist you in case anything happened. The mountain huts are also not operating.

The trails
There are 4 main trails leading up to the summit of Mount Fuji; the Yoshida, Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya trail. These trails are on different sides of the mountain and marked with colors; yellow for Yoshida, red for Subashiri, green for Gotemba and Blue for Fujinomiya.

all the four trails

close up on Yoshida trail

Each trail starts with the 1st Station at the foot of the mountain, and the 10th Station being the summit. Most climbers start their climb halfway up the mountain, from the 5th Station. Depending on the trail you choose, the climb could take between 5-10 hours. Note that some trails have different routes for climbing up and down.

For details on access to the trails, refer here.

There is another trail on the summit, Ohachimeguri Trail. Circle this trail to get to the actual peak of Mount Fuji, the Kengamine Peak (3,776m).

ohachimeguri trail

How much is the climbing fee?
There is no entrance fee to climb Mount Fuji. But you are encouraged to donate 1000 yen for the conservation fund (you will get an appreciation souvenir in return).

Other than that, the things you need to pay are: round-trip transportation to and from the 5th Station, overnight accommodation at one of the mountain huts, and optional fees such as the restrooms, buying snacks, getting the stamps etc.

Do I need a guide to climb?
Nahhhhh... you're good even if you're alone. There are many climbers on the trail and the trail itself is clearly marked.

What is the difficulty level of the climb?
The climb is pretty easy through the gravel path (but it can be very slippery during descend). Only at some points the terrain is rather steep and rocky.

Mountain hut reservation
I used Fuji Mountain Guides to book my accommodation. Using this platform, you can choose among the 3 mountain huts on Yoshida Trail and 1 mountain hut on Subashiri Trail. Easy to use but you have to pay 1000 yen reservation fees. But I think it's OK la cos it allowed me to change booking dates for free.

You can also make a direct booking at Goraikoukan. I only found out about this hut after I made my reservation with Fuji Mountain Guides. Not sure whether you have to pay any booking fee or need to pay in full upon booking. Goraikoukan is the highest mountain hut on Yoshida Trail at 3450m so it might fill up fast.

An overnight stay on the mountain hut cost from 5000 ~ 11000 yen per night based on the plan you choose - lodging only, lodging with dinner only or lodging with dinner and breakfast. Quite expensive but there's no other choice as you cannot open your own tent on the trail.

Climbing equipment
Even though you're climbing in the summer season, temperature at the summit can be below zero, and the strong winds make it even colder. Pack a rain gear, sweater, fleece or down jacket, a beanie and gloves.

Also don't forget your headlamp since you will most probably ascend to the summit in the dark.

Do bring a plastic bag and carry all your garbage down as there are no trash bins on the mountain.

Refreshments and meals
Everything on the mountain is expensive. The higher the elevation, the higher the price. Drinks that cost 120 yen at convenience stores, can cost 400 yen up there. Bring enough water (I brought 2 litres) and snacks before leaving for the adventure.

All climbers are required to pay a small fee of 200 yen to use the restrooms. But sorryyy I didn't pay it when I used the restroom at the 7th Station during my descend cos I didn't have small change. I donated to the conservation fund so win-win la ye.

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