Hike – Mt Fuji 富士山 a practical guide

8 03 2011

Mt Fuji

Quick Overview

Mt Fuji 富士山 is iconic.  As the tallest mountain in Japan (at 3776m) it gets approximately 300,000 climbers every year.  It’s topped with snow for most of the year, so the hiking season is very short – just under 2 months.  There are 4 different trails you can take to the summit, with the Yoshida Trail 吉田ルート being the most popular from the 5th station.  It’s a difficult hike in that it’s at high altitude, has changeable weather and it’s long, but it’s also possible for the not-so-fit to do the climb if they take their time and are careful.  It’s not the most beautiful hike, it’s long and hard, but watching the sunrise from the summit is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Difficulty:  Hard
Season: July 1st to August 27th

Gear

  • good hiking boots
  • thick socks
  • spats (optional)
  • dress in layers – I suggest long pants, shirt or long sleeve shirt, jacket able to handle subzero temperatures.
  • rain gear – although a poncho will suffice, if the weather turns really bad you will want a proper rain suit.
  • gloves
  • beanie/hat
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • neck warmer/bandana (also useful to cover your mouth on decent when it gets really dusty)
  • flashlight or head lamp (but if you are climbing in the peak season you might not need one because everyone else will have them)
  • hiking stick (this can be bought on the mountain, and makes a great souvenir with stamps from all the different stations)
  • food to last at least a day if you don’t want to pay for overpriced noodles at mountain huts
  • water (at least 2 liters)
  • oxygen (optional)
  • first aid kit with at least plasters and pain killers
  • day pack
  • money – it’s about 8000 yen to stay in a mountain hut, and then some for any food you buy, toilets (keep some 100 yen coins handy for this!) and stamps for your walking stick.  To give you an idea, I spent about 2000 yen on just stamps, and toilets are about 200 yen per use.
  • camera!

It’s also possible to leave things in a locker at the 5th station, so I wore shorts on the bus, then changed into my hiking gear and left my summer clothes in the locker.  If you bring a face cloth and toiletries it’s possible to have a bit of a wash up in the toilets there

Waiting for sunrise

Method

There are 2 common ways to tackle Mt Fuji 富士山, non-stop or with a rest.

  • Going non-stop is not easy, due to the length of the hike and lack of sleep you will find yourself really worn out, and might have to rush to make buses on time.   You’ll need to start out at about 7 or 8 in the evening from the 5th station to make the summit by sunrise.  Sunrise is generally between 4:30 and 5:00AM in July and August.  Then starting back down around 8:00AM (or earlier), after a quick rest and breakfast at the summit, to reach the 5th station around midday or after to catch the bus back to Tokyo 東京.
  • The other easier (in my opinion) option is to start out around midday and stay at a mountain hut near the 8th station.  You’ll reach the mountain hut around 5PM, just as its starting to get dark, so you won’t need a light during the first leg.  Staying at a mountain hut costs approximately 8,000 yen, and you can just rest, or have dinner and breakfast as well.  After having a rest for about 5 hours, you start the final ascent to the summit around 2:00AM for the sunrise.  Then, as with the non-stop hike, you can start back down around 8:00AM, after a rest and some food at the summit, to catch a bus back to Tokyo 東京 around midday or later.  This method is much easier on your body than the first, although you will probably still be a bit tired and sore for a few days.

A note on crowds – from the 8th station the trail gets crowed.  Both times I have climbed Mt Fuji 富士山 I didn’t make it to the summit in time for the sunrise (but was close enough).  Mostly because of the crowds.  It can take hours to climb a section that should only take 30 minutes due to the volume of people.  Make sure you allow extra time in your calculations to allow for this.

Trails

Note – The map above only shows an approximation of the ascending trails.  All times given below are ideal, and will probably change due to weather, crowds, and your own fitness level.

There isn’t much variation between each of the trails in terms of terrain.  The Yoshida 吉田 and Fujinomiya 富士宮 trails start in a forested area before becoming rocky/ash/pumice stones like the majority of the Gotemba 御殿場 and Subashiri 須走 trails.  It is highly recommended that you don’t climb outside of the trails due to danger of avalanches, and even using the trails you might find the descent to be slippery.

Yoshida Trail 吉田ルート

Yoshida Trail Map 2010

Yoshida Trail Map 2010

The most popular trail due to the ease of access, and the fact that you can see the sunrise from the trail even if you haven’t reached the summit.  Plenty of huts and toilets, also very well signed in English, plus a map in English can be picked up at the Mt Fuji Safety Guidance Centre 富士山安全指導センター which is about an hour along the trail from the trail head.  Sometimes confused with the Subashiri trail 須走ルート on descent, so make sure you follow the signs for the trail carefully.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/
en/kawaguchiko.html

Distance: Up – 7.5km, Down – 7.6km
Duration: Up – 5 hours 30 minutes, Down – 3 hours
Starting point: Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目 (2305m)

To and From

From the New Shinjuku South Exit 新宿新南口 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 or Keio Highway Bus 京王高速バス direct from the Keio Highway Bus Terminal 京王高速バスターミナル to the Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目.  The bus takes about 2 hours and 25 minutes, and costs 2,600 yen one way.  Make sure to reserve your seat.  Fujikyu 富士急 Highway Bus can be contacted on 0555-72-5111 and Keio Highway Bus 京王高速バス can be contacted on 03-5376-2222, or reservations can be made on the Highway Bus website https://www.highwaybus.com (only in Japanese).  Bus time tables can be viewed here in English.

It is also possible to ride the trains to Kawaguchiko station 河口湖駅 (please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way), and then catch a Fujikyu 富士急Bus to the Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目.  This bus takes 55 minutes and costs 1,500 yen one way, and 2,000 yen return. Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Kawaguchiko Station 河口湖駅 to Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/28.html

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
5 Sato Goya 佐藤小屋 090-2522-2634
6 Satomidaira Seikan-so 里見平星観層 0555-24-6090
7 Hana Goya 花小屋 0555-24-6523
7 Hinode-kan 日の出館 0555-24–6522
7 Tomoe-kan トモエ館 0555-24-6521
7 Kamaiwa-kan 鎌岩館 0555-24-6520
7 Fuji Ichi-kan 富士一館 080-1036-6691
Original 7 Torii-so 鳥居層 0555-24-6518
7 Toyo-kan 東洋館 0555-24-6517
8 Taishi-kan 太子館 0555-24-6516
8 Horai-kan 蓬莱館 0555-24-6515
8 Hakuun-so 白雲荘 0555-24-6514
8 Ganso-muro 元祖室 0555-24-6513
Original 8 Fujisan Hotel 富士山ホテル 0555-24-6512
Original 8 Tomoe-kan トモエ館 0555-24-6511
8.5 Goraikou-kan 御来光館 0555-24-6510

Subashiri Trail 須走ルート

Also a popular trail and also well orientated to view the sunrise from the trail, the Subashiri trail 須走ルート joins with the Yoshida trail 吉田ルート around the 8th station.  Again, plenty of huts and toilets.  Also sometimes confused with the Yoshida trail 吉田ルート on descent, so make sure you follow the signs for the trail carefully.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/other.html#subashiri

Distance: Up – 7.8km, Down – 6.2km
Duration: Up – 5 hours 30 minutes, Down – 3 hours
Starting point: Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目 (2000m)

To and From

From the JR Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Subashiri 5th station 須走五号目.  The bus takes 1 hour and costs 1,500 yen one way or 2,000 yen return.  Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 to Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/29.html

Alternativly, from the Odakyu 小田急 Shin Matsuda Station 新松田駅 you can also catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Subashiri 5th station 須走五号目.  This bus takes an hour and a half and costs 2,000 yen one way or 3,000 yen return. Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Shin Matsuda Station 新松田駅 to Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/30.html

Please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way to the train station.

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
5 Kikuya 菊谷 0550-84-5028
5 Higashi Fuji Sanso 東富士山荘 0550-84-5057
New 6 Osada Sanso 長田山荘 090-8324-6746
6 Seto-kan 瀬戸間 090-3302-4466
7 Taiyo-kan 大場館 0550-75-4347
Original 7 Miharashi-kan 見晴館 0550-84-3519
8 Shimo Edo-ya 下江戸屋 0550-84-3518
Original 8 Kami Edo-ya 上江戸屋 0550-84-3517
8.5 Goraiko-kan 御来光館 0555-24-6510

Mountain Huts on the Yoshida Trail

Gotemba Trail 御殿場ルート

The lowest starting point of all the trails and consequently the longest trail to the summit.  There are only a few mountain huts on this trail, but it is also possible to see the sunrise while on the trail.  Well signed.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/other.html#gotenba

Distance: Up – 11km, Down – 8.5km
Duration: Up – 7 hours 30 minutes, Down – 3 hours
Starting point: Gotemba New 5th Station 御殿場新五号目 (1440m)

To and From

From the JR Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Gotemba New 5th station 御殿場新五号目.  The bus takes 40 minutes and costs 1,080 yen one way or 1,500 yen return. Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Gotemba Station 御殿場駅 to Gotemba New 5th Station 御殿場新五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/31.html

Please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way to the train station.

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
New 5 Oishi Chaya 大石茶屋 0550-84-5076
7 Hinode-kan 日の出館 0550-89-2867
7.5 Waraji-kan わらじ館 0550-84-5070
7.5 Sunabashiri-kan 砂走館 0550-89-0703
7.5 Akaiwa Hachigo-kan 赤岩八号館 0550-84-5061

Fujinomiya Trail 富士宮ルート

The highest starting point of all the trails and consequently the shortest trail to the summit.  Popular because it can be accessed from the Tokaido Shinkansen 東海道新幹線 Shin-Fuji 新富士駅 and Mishima Station 三島駅.  However, the sunrise cannot be seen as well from this trail as the others.  Also has a number of huts and toilets.

A detailed map of the trail can be viewed here http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/fujinomiya.html

Distance: Up – 5 km, Down – 5km
Duration: Up – 5 hours, Down – 2 hours 30 minutes
Starting point: Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目 (2400m)

To and From

From the JR Todaido line 東海道線 or Shinkansen line 新幹線 Shin Fuji Station 新富士駅 or the Shinkansen line 新幹線 Mishima Station 三島駅 you can catch a Fujikyu 富士急 bus to the Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目.  The bus takes either 2 hours and 15 minutes (Shin Fuji 新富士) or 2 hours and 5 minutes (Mishima 三島) and costs 2,310 yen one way or 3,000 yen return (Shin Fuji 新富士) or 2,390 yen one way or 3,000 yen return (Mishima 三島).

Fujikyu’s 富士急 Bus Information from Shin Fuji Station 新富士駅 to Fujinomiya 5th station 富士宮五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/33.html and from Mishima Station 三島駅 to Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目 http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/32.html

Please use either Hyperdia or Jourdan’s Route Finder to find your way to the train station.

Mountain Huts (in ascending order)

Station Name Phone number
New 5 Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目 0544-22-2230
6 Unkai-so 雲海荘 0544-22-2231
6 Hoei Sanso 宝永山荘 0544-22-2232
New 7 Goraiko Sanso 御来光館 0544-22-2233
7 Yamaguchi Sanso 山口山荘 0544-22-2234
8 Ikeda-kan 池田館 0544-22-2235
9 Mannenyuki Sanso 万年雪山荘 0544-22-2236
9.5 Munatsuki Sanso 胸突山荘 0544-22-2237

At the summit

Links

Fujikyu 富士急 Bus Information for Climbing Mt Fuji page (English) http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/fujitozan/en/index.html

Japan Guide’s Climbing Mt Fuji page (English) http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6901.html

Fuji Yoshida City’s Climb Mt Fuji page (English) http://www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/climb.html

Highway Bus Reservations (Japanese) https://www.highwaybus.com

My photos from climbing Mt Fuji in 2010 http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157624822571916/with/4933902022/

Useful Kanji

Fujikyu 富士急
Fujinomiya 富士宮
Fujinomiya Trail 富士宮ルート
Fujinomiya 5th Station 富士宮五号目
Gotemba 御殿場
Gotemba New 5th Station 御殿場新五号目
Gotemba Station 御殿場駅
Gotemba Trail 御殿場ルート
Kawaguchiko station 河口湖駅
Kawaguchiko 5th Station 河口湖五号目
Keio Highway Bus 京王高速バス
Keio Highway Bus Terminal 京王高速バスターミナル
Mishima 三島
Mishima Station 三島駅
Mt Fuji 富士山
Mt Fuji Safety Guidance Centre 富士山安全指導センター
New Shinjuku South Exit 新宿新南口
Odakyu 小田急
Shin Fuji 新富士
Shin-Fuji Station 新富士駅
Shinkansen line 新幹線
Shin Matsuda Station 新松田駅
Subashiri 須走
Subashiri trail 須走ルート
Subashiri 5th Station 須走五号目
Todaido line 東海道線
Tokaido Shinkansen 東海道新幹線
Tokyo 東京
Yoshida 吉田
Yoshida Trail 吉田ルート


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