Hiking Japan’s highest peak can give you an exhilarating rush of emotions. Maybe that why it has always been an iconic and popular climb for both locals and travellers alike. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a beginner hiker, climbing Mt. Fuji should be on your bucket list.
The Reason to Climb Mt. Fuji
Seeing the sunrise at Japan’s highest peak is an awe-inspiring experience. There’s just something that touches your soul when you see the orange glow of the sun, and the next moment you realize that the hike is truly worth it.
In order to see the sunrise, most people hike up to the 7th or 8th station, rest, eat, and sleep before continuing on to the summit just in time to see the sunrise. The sunrise during summer is around 4:30 am and 5:00 am.
When To Go For A Hike
Official climbing season for Mt. Fuji is usually around early July to mid-September. This is when all the mountain huts along the trails open for business. And since it’s summer break for kids, the crowds during the official climbing season can be quite massive.
To get away from the worst of the crowds I’d recommend going around early July during the weekdays before school lets out. The only downside of this is the unpredictable weather during the early summer in Japan. But it’s worth a try compared to the throngs of people you’ll see yourself fighting with in order to reach the summit and pick a good spot to marvel the beauty of the view from there. Trust me, crowds and a good spot at the peak do not go well together.
What Travel Bloggers Have To Say
This is a unique blog post by Pete R., founder of Bucketlistly. He went on to climb Mt. Fuji during the super typhoon Neoguri, which is really dangerous and not something I recommend you to do. But nonetheless, despite the danger of climbing during a typhoon, Pete reached the peak.
Luna Tan, the blogger behind Life to Reset, went on a hike with six other friends. Her blog recounts on why the hike should be experienced with a bunch of friends. She and her friends hiked on a perfect weather, which she described as “not too hot, no rain, and just the perfect amount of sunshine.” The stunning photos on her blog would make you wish you were with them on the climb.
This blog narrates the experience of hiking the mountain as a husband and wife team. Igor and his wife Dina had Mt. Fuji on their bucket list. On this blog, Igor tells us that he became fascinated with Japan after the internet boom and chatting with a guy from Japan was considered “fun and cool”. That cemented his Japan trip on his bucket list which he already made a reality.
Travel blogger Becki, the girl behind Borders of Adventure, climbed solo. What a brave woman! On her blog, she recounts how she planned to hike to the summit but instead, she was assaulted with severe altitude sickness that stop her from doing so. Her blog is a good reminder on what we should do in case we experience the same thing as her. With the steep climb of Mt. Fuji, it is inevitable for some people to experience altitude sickness. Give her blog a read and give yourself a plan B in the odd case you experience altitude sickness.
Bring money. You need money to use the washrooms along the hike. Though the washrooms are not the most sanitary ones, it is what it is.
Do you need a guide to hike the mountain? That is your choice. The pro side of hiring a guide is that you have help acquiring huts as well a translator when ordering food. Some of the menus are not translated in English. And if you don’t know Japanese cuisine well enough you might have a hard time distinguishing what it is they cater to you. But then again, I’m pretty sure there are some kind Japanese people willing to help translate for you even without a guide.
The huts are not really the best place to stay, since the sleeping areas are crammed together in order to accommodate as much people as possible. But they’re the only place you can stay for a rest before going onwards to the summit. The huts are always crowded, so it is always a good idea to make a reservation beforehand. A reservation without a meal would cost you around 5000 yen, and a reservation with meals would cost you 7000 yen.
Food prices are exorbitant! So better bring some snacks and water with you if you can. Though I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a meal just because of the expensive price. I actually recommend you to eat when you need it. Eating would help you regain some energy for the rest of your hike. And trust me, you need all the energy you can get if you’re aiming for the summit.
- Hiking sticks
Your hiking sticks can be stamped along the way, for a fee of course! In my opinion, it is the best souvenir you can get from your hike. Though sending a postcard at the highest post office in Japan is awesome as it sounds, I still prefer the hiking sticks. They’re like a trophy you can display after you conquer Mt. Fuji.
Hiking Mt. Fuji can seem deceptively easy even for a beginner. But don’t make a rookie mistake dear rover. Make sure to check out this article by japan-guide.com that list all of the things you need in order to prepare.
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Safe travels Rover!